Slow Down and Stop – Sit down and Shut Up!

Have you noticed how busy and involved our world is? There is always something to do, somewhere to go, somebody to talk to. We are seldom still, often never alone for a minute of any given day, activity abounds and yet we never accomplish everything that needs to be done. Describe your world? It does mine!

Most of us are very busy and productive people. We have been taught that this is a good thing – and it is. Work is not the result of the curse for Adam had a task and meaningful ‘work’ involvement before he sinned and brought the human race into spiritual darkness, separated from God and His love. In my generation the “protestant work ethic” was a very strong value in most families and a good motivator to keep us working, active, busy and earning a good living.

And, we were created by God as social creatures needing one another and needing to be connected to something greater than ourselves – community. We were created to blossom and become all that we were created to be (and do) through our relationship with God and one another. So, social activities, recreation and ‘fellowship’ are good things and absolutely needed to be whole and healthy.

But, there is the need for balance in our lives. A need to withdraw once-in-a-while … to be still, to be less busy, less active, less socially involved … and just be quiet and removed from constant motion, regular activities, normal routines and the hustle and bustle of regular life. This is why we invented holidays and why God created the Sabbath.

The problem is that most of us aren’t very comfortable being alone. And, most of us don’t like just to sit and relax and be still. We definitely don’t like quiet so we keep that television, radio or CD cranking out noise most of the time that we are awake and, for some, even as they sleep. We work around the house on our day off. More people shop for groceries Sunday morning than attend worship services (at least in the city where I live). People get up and go out early in the morning doing yard work, washing the car, changing the oil in the truck, golfing, boating, water skiing, or seeing friends at the local coffee shop. No rest for the wicked I supose. We just don’t like to be still, to be alone, or to be quiet.

Why is it that we seem to need constant motion, involvement with others, activity and noise? I think it is because we don’t want to have to look inside our hearts and minds as then we would see how hollow, meaningless, empty, and pointless most of what we do and say really is. We would see how little we live by the core values that we say we hold to and believe in. We would find out how lacking in purpose and meaningful direction our lives really are and how little we are really accomplishing that will actually matter 50 years from now. We would discover that we really don’t know the “real me” and that we don’t like what we do know about ourselves.

It seems that without the need for posturing and posing, motion and momentum, activity and achievement, involvement and interest – we have to face up to who we really are. And that can be, and usually is, painful and disappointing.

But if we truly desire to live a life that has meaning we need to learn how to slow down and stop – sit down and shut up! If we want to know how to love and receive love then we must learn to slow down and stop all the activity and busyness, sit down and shut up! If we truly want to live life to the maximum and feel good about who we are we must commit ourselves to regular time alone where we slow down and stop everything – sit down and shut up! and listen to God.

A prophet of Israel stated this truth 750 years before Jesus was born. (Isaiah 30:15) This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

Seems like we are not trying to solve a new problem.

God created the Sabbath to be a day of rest. We argue over whether it is Saturday or Sunday, a whole 24 hour day or part of a day. The real issue is – do you even take a sabbath? Never mind how long it is or where it is situated in the week – do you have a sabbath rest? A time to connect with your Creator and with yourself. A time to “be still and know that He is God” (and you are not). A time to find out that the world will not come to an end if you take some time away from trying to control everything and everyone; that people will survive Mr. or Mrs. Fix-it taking some time away from your fixing it!

Are you in touch with your true self on the inside? Do you know who you really are when no one is looking? If you do, have you noticed that there might be a need to make some adjustments? Do you have peace on the inside? Contentment? When you take the time to look deep in your soul – do you like what you see? God created the Sabbath so that we can do just that – take a “time out” to examine the true meaning of life and the real values upon which to build that life. The Sabbath is time to get back in touch with your Lord Jesus Christ so that you can get your life (and activities) back into focus – an eternal focus. The Sabbath is a time to refill the gas tank so that we are no longer running on empty or sucking fumes to keep going in life.

So, take that Sabbath time. Do it! Don’t invite people over. Don’t listen to a new CD. Don’t go out for supper and a movie. Don’t do yard work or grocery shop. The car looks fine dirty! Don’t play cards or video games. Don’t read a novel. Don’t bath the dog. Don’t finish that construction project you started three years ago that now seems so urgent. Just SLOW DOWN AND STOP – SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. Listen for the voice of God and look into your own heart and soul. Come to a place of quiet and stillness so that you can find real rest for your weary body and mind and your exhausted soul and spirit. Reconnect with the Life Giver and rediscover true life.

Oh come on, try it – just once or twice. Who knows, you may like it.

2 replies
  1. Bill Shiers
    Bill Shiers says:

    Ralph I believe that this quietness is a learned skill not an acquired one or not a natural happenstance. I have been truely blessed in that I have learned and do exercise this skill almost daily. I say almost because there are days where I do miss.
    I have simply picked a time of day, with me it is very early in the morning, and I simply sit in my little office off the main office of my business and there I sit until all of the busyness of my mind dissapates. Over time God has shown up here with me in mighty ways, in ways that I could not have anticipated, to encourage, to teach and sometimes to console or convict me.
    I have described this as a learning simply because under your tutelage, and your constant teaching on this topic it finally sunk in.
    And today Ralph I formally thank God, and you, for His work through you.
    Blessings
    Bill Shiers

    Reply
  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Bill,

    I am so glad that you have learned and practice the blessing of stillness, silence, and solitude so that your spirit can be touched and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

    I learned long ago that God does not compete. He waits for us to make Him number one and then He speaks. As long as we have competing “gods” for first place then He sits quietly and we seldom hear from Him. But, carve out the time to be still and in His presence and He is there and speaking every time.

    Thanks for sharing. Greatly appreciated.

    Reply

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