Most of us have heard this Bible verse, yet, how often do we practice it? How many times have you seen it bubble up in a small group at church, on the wall of a neighbor’s home, or highlighted in a Bible that has been gifted to you from a friend? Do we focus on the meaning and what He is really telling us? Are we making the space in our lives to “be still” and focus on His voice and His direction?
Everyone’s small moments will be different, and they can even vary day by day, depending on your schedule, your children’s schedule, or your summer vacation plans. We often rush through our days and forget to slow down and remember to “be still” and acknowledge God in our lives and His effort to talk to us. It’s important to remember He is working behind the scenes in everything we do and spending a few minutes per day to listen and allow him into our quiet spaces is critical. Even if you can carve out five minutes a day to practice stillness, it’s worth it.
Here are some simple ways to find the small moments of the day to be still.
First Thing in the Morning
For those of you who wake up before the sun rises, this may be a good time to practice stillness. At 5 a.m., there’s a good chance that you won’t be distracted by a phone call or the chirping sound of new emails in your inbox. Take a few minutes to stay in bed or leave a yoga mat beside your bedside at night, and simply lay it out after you wake up and take a few minutes to ground yourself, pray, and listen for God. You may laugh here, but if the first few moments of your day are in the shower, who hasn’t come up with some of their most creative ideas there? Sometimes, it’s one of the only places we can spend uninterrupted time. Take a few minutes once you’re done to soak in the calmness of the day, before it all begins. Breathe. Pray. Ask God to open your heart to all that He has in store and see if you’re able to hear His guidance for the day.
Your Drive to the Office
If your morning routine is anything like mine, there may not be a lot of time to practice stillness between breakfast, packing lunches, shuffling kids off to school or daycare, and getting yourself prepared for an 8 a.m. meeting. It often feels like mornings can be the most hectic time of the day and rushing off to work doesn’t help matters. However, many of us do spend some time in the car, bus, or train during our commute to work. This may be a good time to turn off the radio, roll down the windows, soak in the fresh air, and be at peace with God. If your commute is with others, such as by public transportation, grab a set of headphones and listen to classical or meditation music on your way into the office. Have you ever turned off the radio or phone during your drive into work? Try it tomorrow and see if your day starts off on the right foot.
Kids' Naptime or School
If you have young kids, the drive into the office may not exist, and a peaceful lunch break might be downright laughable. You may be at home, running them to a class or playdate, or you may just have errands to do that won’t allow for a peaceful commute into an office. Your time in the car may be dodging the French fry thrown at your head or a screaming child who avoided his/her car seat today with a meltdown. If that’s the case, your best bet for a few minutes of calmness may be naptime. If you have older children, the best time may be while they are at school. Perhaps you can park a little farther away at school drop-off, so once the little one(s) are safely in class, you take a longer route back to your car, slow down and really see your surroundings and appreciate the peacefulness of your walk.
During Breaks Throughout the Day
If you’re one of the lucky ones with time at lunch to focus and reconnect, take a couple lunches per week and walk outside if it’s nice. If your office is downtown, many times there may be a waterway or park nearby. These are good places to find a nook that has a bench or quiet space to separate yourself from the busy day and re-center yourself. Soak in the tranquility of the breeze in your hair or the gentleness of the wind in the trees. If you’re in an office that doesn’t allow for a walk outside, perhaps you can find a spare office that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, turn off the lights, and close your eyes during your lunch break or coffee break. The end of the workday maybe also be a good time to take a few extra moments. We all know the end of the day can creep up on you before you know it, but on less busy days, sometimes we’ve wrapped up a project or shut down a few minutes early for computer updates, and we’re on the clock until 5 p.m. This might also be a good time to close your eyes, be still with God, and thank Him for another productive day.
Before DinnerIn many Christian families, dinnertime is a family event, and everyone comes together to eat and talk about their day. This is a great time to say a prayer before a meal and if possible, spend an extra moment to encourage your family to “be still.” Perhaps you can read aloud a Bible verse and then ask everyone to think about it during the moment of silence. This incorporates routine and allows everyone to take a time-out, especially if it’s the first time that day everyone has sat down to breathe that day. Another way is to go around the table and ask each member of your family what they are most thankful for, then take a moment to appreciate these gifts for a quiet minute. This also makes it a family event and allows your spouse and children to incorporate these practices into their days as well. Listen for Him. Feel the stillness of the space around you, surrounded by your loved ones.
Before BedThis might be when a lot of us practice stillness the most. It’s usually the best place to find the quiet, after the kids have been tucked into bed, the TV is off, bath times are done, and the house is silent. Perhaps this is when you have a little “me-time” to yourself, like reading a good book or listening to some light music. If you can, take a few minutes after those parts of your day are done and incorporate some wind down time as part of your nightly routine. Many people find that lighting a diffuser with some oils, lighting a few candles, or just putting on comfortable clothes and getting cozy on the sofa helps them relax and find their perfect space for God. Spend a few minutes here to “be still.” Talk to Him, thank Him for the gift of another day, and listen for His words and try to feel His presence.
The goal of these moments is to listen for God. Start off with incorporating just one of these small moments into your life. Then, once that becomes easy and more routine, move onto two or three. You may find over time, these “be still” moments happen naturally, without even thinking about them! While our days are often busy and chaotic, allow the space into your life for Him to direct your way, and know that He is with you.