BE STILL!

A command and not an option, if you want to successfully navigate your life.

Recently something happened to me that disrupted my life in a way that made me angry.  I had plans, exciting plans and they had to come to a screeching halt because there was no way around the disruptor.  I was very unhappy, and angry with God as well, because He had allowed this to happen to me.  Afterall, I was on a mission for Him, and He should have circumvented this unwanted intrusion. “Hands over eyes emoji”.

As I reflect now, I am reminded that shortly before this STOP sign, there were other signs along the way.  It was the same signal, but it manifested in different ways.  The signal read, ‘Be Still’. It started when a brother of mines, Edward Amponsah, miles away, released a song entitled, ‘Be Still’.  Then I was watching the home-going celebration of a past student of mines, and one of the readings was taken from Psalm 46.  That’s when I began to suspect that something was going on that I needed to pay attention to.  But I still didn’t put much weight on the message

Later, I picked up my phone and realized that I had gotten a notification of a Live YouTube broadcast by Russell Walden, a man of God whose ministry I respect.  I decided to listen – (you can begin listening from 4:19 mins if you wish). His main scripture was taken from Psalm 119:114 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word”.  As he shared his thoughts, he began to say that sometimes God is trying to hide us for a season, but we are sending up flares to let everyone know where we are.  That it’s okay to not always be in the limelight.  That’s all I needed to hear to convince me that God was talking to me.  I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

 All of this was happening within the space of a couple of days.  Well to add icing to the cake, with a cake-topper marked ‘Be Still’, God made sure that I didn’t go to the church that Sunday Morning.  I stayed home and tuned in to my Boston church family’s Facebook page (Shekinah Glory International Ministries – from 19:00 mins).  Prophetess Hannah began singing… that’s right, ‘Be Still’ which segued into ‘Oceans’, two songs which I recorded, and you can listen to by clicking the links.   At that point I began to sing with the team and the rest is history.  Suffice it to say, I proceeded to hide, rest and Be Still. 

Be Still.  I believe that translates to mean different things for different people.  The variables attached to this command would be times and seasons.  According to where you are and what you are doing, you will know what you need to do to Be Still.   

For me it meant to unplug from social media and be quiet; minimize the amount of time I spent communicating with others on WhatsApp; and not letting anything from the outside penetrate my soul.  I needed to rest.  I needed to cease from striving for myself and others.  It meant that I wouldn’t be able to immediately share my thoughts and feelings with family and friends.  But that was okay.  I understood the assignment.

Sometimes we feel that if we stop the whole world will collapse around us.  But soon enough we find out that what we have to offer is only important when it’s released in the season that God has ordained for us to share it in.  Otherwise, we need to be quiet.

So, what does ‘Be Still’ look like for you?

  • Maybe you need to hold your speech for a while
  • Maybe you need to withdraw your company – cut back on your social interactions
  • Maybe you need to deactivate your social media pages for a while
  • Maybe you need to take a vacation away from the familiar and/or soul-searing situations
  • Maybe it’s time to listen to the angry timber in your voice that makes your family and friends scurry for cover
  • Maybe it’s time to pay attention to the nagging tension in your neck, the frequent occurrences of throbbing headaches, and the incessant screaming of the pain in your lower back
  • Maybe it’s time to listen to the still, small voice of the One who loves you beyond words and wants the best for you.

Finish this sentence.  ‘Be Still’ for me means that I…

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Enjoying a moment of rest
Meads Bay, Anguilla

As I pen my thoughts, I am in the season of ‘Be Still’ but it does not mean that I stop thinking or writing.  It means that I quiet my mind (soul) and all the external noises, so that I am better able to hear what my Father wants to say to me in this season; so that I can be more efficient and effective in the next.

It means that I will realize new growth and fresh perspective to fully embrace the new season when it comes.  It means that in being still I will focus on getting to know the one that has called, chosen, and commissioned me for such a time as this.

Consequently, to keep this in context, I’ll like to quote the entire clause. It says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). So, in my case, I’m not just being still for being still sake. In my Being Still, my time will be spent in communion with my El Shaddai, developing my relationship with Him as we become one, sitting at His feet, meditating on His every Word, and receiving instructions for the way forward.

As I read the verse again, I realize that it is a command.  Since God is the one who gave it, there is obviously nothing wrong with Being Still, but there is everything wrong with not knowing when it’s time to Be Still.  Six of one, half a dozen of the other.  You have a choice to make.  Be Still or you will be made to Be Still.  I chose the former.  Which will you choose?

Sunset at Meads Bay, Anguilla

PARTNERS

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

Today I am grateful. Grateful that I have mobility. Grateful that my six senses are working. Grateful that I live in a beautiful corner of God’s creation called Anguilla. An uneasiness that I felt after returning from a trip in January was the impetus that brought me back. But now I know why and for that I am doubly grateful to God Almighty for his omniscience. He knew that I would not have done well trying to weather this Covid19 storm by myself.

Before I left Anguilla almost two years ago I would enjoy walking for exercise, but for the most part I did it by myself because I enjoyed the solitude – taking in the fresh sea breeze, and sights and sounds of the beautiful vegetation and animal-life that I would experience on my way. By the way, I am what you may call a tree-hugger. Nature and the outdoors make me come alive.

So I am back and the one thing that I am grateful for is partnership. While I was away I enjoyed what the new environment had to offer but the one thing I missed, was having close family and friends to enjoy my experiences with. Especially coming down to, what I know now to be my final months away, I began to feel lonely and as if the days were just running into each other. Everyone I would have loved to do life with were miles away. I realized that talking on the phone was not enough and that physical presense is ‘muy importante’ in the development and maintenance of relationships/partnerships.

As lonely as I would feel sometimes, for me any partner would not do. I do not subscribe to the adage, ‘any port in a storm’ because it is one thing to have a partner and another to have a partner that supports, pulls and pushes you.  What’s even better is when that support is physical and present.  Look at what God did in the garden of Eden. Although he had given man everything that he needed, including a relationship with God himself, he looked at him one day and said, “…It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18). And you know the rest. He created Eve as a partner/helper for Adam…someone with whom he could be fruitful, while they multiplied and replenished the earth together.

I am one of those persons that like my space. I’m quite fine spending time by myself. I am creative so quiet spaces is a premium for me, yet at the end of the day I like to know that I have someone that I can do life with. Someone to walk and talk with, so to speak. Today it was taking a long walk and talking about anything and nothing; silently walking mulling over our own thoughts, resting, laughing – all the while exercising together. Tomorrow it may be supporting a dream or cause. But whatever it is, it’s more fulfilling and memory-making doing it together…as partners, don’t you think?

Now to complete the opening scripture reference:

“For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10-12)

 

IT’S TIME TO HUDDLE!

“When yuh see yuh neighbour house on fire wet yours”.  “Who have cocoa in the sun should look fuh de rain”.  These are sayings that my mom would repeat if we as children would come home with a story about someone else.  She was not one to encourage discussions (gossip) about other people, nor would she talk about others in the presence of her children.  

Now as an adult I understand what she was saying.  We all have our issues.  If it’s not one thing, it’s the next.  No life is perfect.  Every person struggles with something.  Every family wrangle with their own issues.  Therefore, the more time we spend looking at or talking about other people’s business, is the less time we have resolving our own issues.  If we spend our time looking at someone else’s pot, most likely our own pot will boil over or burn. 

This year I celebrated my birthday, Christmas and the dawning of a new decade and new year in beautiful Anguilla. I did so with family and friends – and it felt good. It felt right. I remember washing dishes on the last day of 2019 thinking about the changes that had taken place in my heart and life over the last eighteen months. And how at that moment I was happy that I had taken the time away to make the necessary adjustments to get to the place where I was comfortable in my own skin.

Water Taxi to Little Bay, Anguilla

It took time.  It required me to mind my own business.  It required me to do my own personal work which brings me to the title of this blog.  I believe that this year God is calling us to ‘huddle’.  Huddle is a term used in American football where the players all come off the field, form somewhat of a circle and literally put their heads together.  They do that to

  1. Motivate one another
  2. Take a break from the game to recover 
  3. Strategize for the next play
  4. Regroup personally and collectively
  5. Establish unity in purpose

I think that we can benefit much from this practice both personally and relationally.  Too many persons are talking of ‘burn out’.  Too many families are disintegrating because our focus is off.  Instead of trying to impress our loved ones, we are ‘running down’ life to impress the public who really don’t care.  Instead of ‘bringing the game home’, we take it to the streets.  Instead of internalizing our efforts, we externalize, all the while investing our time and energies in things and people that do not add value to our lives.

I’ve come to realize that anything worth having is worth fighting for and at the end of the day the family we are a part of is not a mistake.  Our family is all we have, and that same family is what agitates us to become who we need to be.  Iron sharpens iron.  The rocks closest to the surf are the smoothest because of the constant bashing of the waves on them and against each other. We collect them because they are beautiful, not realising what they went through to become as attractive as they are.

For this new year, why not take the time to determine what’s really important to you.  Many of us don’t give our partners the credit for holding us down.  We don’t realize that if they were not ‘having our backs’, making sacrifices and supporting us, we couldn’t do or be who we are in public.  Why not give yourself and your relationships the necessary attention by calling for a ‘huddle’?  Why not take the time to mind what is important to you, if in fact it is important to you?  

In essence, call your players off the field and huddle for a bit.  The outcome of the game depends on your commitment to coming up with winning plays.  The success of the game depends on your desire to win.   And may I suggest that a commitment to success would quite frankly and without apology sound something like this.

  • Adults:  Mind yourself.  Mind your significant other if you have one.  Mind your own marriage.  Mind your own business.  Mind your own purpose (reason for breathing) and most of all, mind your relationship with God.
  • Youth and children:  Mind yourself.  Mind your parents or guardians – in most cases they want what’s best for you.  Mind your education.  Mind your talents and giftings.  Mind your future.  Most of all, mind your relationship with God.

In 2020, bring it home.  A winner at home is a winner in the marketplace and you can take that to the bank.  

It’s-time-to-huddllle!