Three Ways to Be Still

September 11, 2012 | 10 comments

It appears (from the comments on my last post) that it’s not just me who desires to sit at God’s feet. It’s not just me who struggles to find time to “be still” in the midst of full schedules & endless demands. So I’d like to dedicate this post to brainstorming ways to “be still”. Here are a few of my ideas and I’d love for you to share yours in the comments.

First Thing

In college I took a personal finance course (random I know, but there is a good point here). Our professor, who retired by the age of 35, told us one way to save & gain financial freedom is to: “PAY YOURSELF FIRST” (after tithing of course…).

What he meant was before you pay bills, mortgage, buy groceries, you should set aside money from your pay check and save it in the bank. He drew the picture of a line of people at your door needing/wanting your money. There will always be places and ways to spend money. If you don’t pay yourself first you will spend all your money before you save a dime.

I picture the same is true with time with God. There are a line of people, needs,  & demands waiting for me each day. It’s not like after I’ve fed my children, done all the laundry, checked email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, watched all my shows on the DVR…I’m going to say, “Now that all that’s done I feel like sitting down with my Bible and praying.” Not going to happen.

Extrapolating from his “pay yourself first” motto, I would use the motto, “BE STILL FIRST.”

I don’t want to be legalistic or strict… but if you want to know God & you have a life full of distractions…perhaps in order to be still you have to sit at His feet before life starts barging in.

I don’t think God needs an hour-long, 10 page, in-depth Bible study to connect with your heart. I do think some time is better than no time. Try getting up 5 minutes earlier than you usually do. Just 5 minutes.

In those 5 minutes begin with this prayer:

“Lord your servant is listening”

Then open your Bible and read one verse. Read it 5x. Ask God to show you through His spirit what He wants you to hear for today. Perhaps that little sip of living water will drive you to wake up again the next morning 5 minutes earlier…

John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'”

Midst of the Mayhem

I have four children. I know being still is the farthest thing from my reality once they all wake up. But it’s when they are awake I need to know God is my ever present help. It’s in the daily activities when I react in anger, get overwhelmed and anxious.

You may have heard me share about Susanna Wesley who threw her apron over her head in times of prayer. I think it’s a fabulous idea.

A friend shared with me a modern-day version of praying in the midst of the mayhem. She found there were two “trigger” times in her day: 7-10 am & 4-7 pm.

During those three-hour chunks of time she set alarms on her phone to go off every twenty minutes. When she sets the alarm she also types in the label portion (which normally reads “alarm”)…the words, “Rest in God”. Love. it.

Every twenty minutes a little chime went off reminding her to rest in God & pray. Apparently her children quickly picked up on these chimes and the effect they had on their mom. What a great model for her kids?

Personal Retreat

Not only should I start each day being still in His presence before demands come in or attempt to be still in the midst of the mayhem…ideally, once a week, I’d like to spend a large chunk of time in prayer and the Word.

Another friend of mine stays home and homeschools her three children. Since she doesn’t get a “break” during the week, she has set up a little personal retreat for herself every Friday night.

She has dinner ready and on the table. When her husband walks in the door after work on Friday, she walks out. Then she heads to La Madeline or Cafe Express (or some other fun little restaurant) by herself. Sometimes she may stare at her water glass for the first 20 minutes. But eventually she spends time planning, reflecting and being still with her Creator God.

What ways have you found to “be still” in the midst of busy lives & schedules? I would love to learn from one another in this space. Click here to comment. 

Linking up over at:


  1. Leslie

    I’m also thinking of a “soak time” where you put one worship song on and stop everything that you are doing- really stop- lay down on the couch or sit in your chair, close your eyes and listen. Soak in the words and the music, then start your day again. What a great example for your kids, too. I think they would be mesmerized by the music because music calms our souls.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Yes! One of my favorite “be still” ideas! So thankful you shared it here in the comments. Thanks Leslie!

  2. maddalena70

    Heather, I really like this post… in the very busy live I live at the moment it is not simple to ”be and stay still”…
    You give me two great advices…. and the one of your friend is very clever 🙂
    I will try to follow both of them… and, in order to not be alone and stay focused, I will follow the ”Fall Bible study” with the other wonderfull women at ”donotdepart”.


    • Heather MacFadyen

      so glad you will be joining the donotdepart bible study!!!

  3. Lydia Parks

    I have found that making that quiet time is a choice. Life’s demands will ALWAYS use up every moment of every day. Therefore, you have to sit at Jesus’ feet, rest and look to Him, or you will get overwhelmed by life. Just as you eat each day, you have to feed your soul each day. Each person has a different relationship with God, but a relationship only grows when there is interaction. I am the single mom of 4 boys, who do not have visitation with their Dad. My boys are 14, 12, 11 and 9. I’ve been a single parent for 8 years, so I know what it’s like to be busy and exhausted! We need Jesus! His grace is sufficient for all our weaknesses, and He is glorified in our weakness!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Love that analogy of eating food to feeding your soul…So often in the Bible God uses food in his illustration…definitely agree there is a reason. Need to be filled daily…and throughout the day. A few times a year we have big celebrations with lots of food…similar to need for personal retreats. Lord strengthen Lydia today. May she see the fruits of her labor and glorify you in her service to her brood of boys. Amen.

  4. Jacki R

    Love that picture! Mine would also have a dog in the line up! I have found for me that I need time during the middle of the day to recharge. My oldest doesn’t nap, but I need quiet time to mentally unload, and be energized again by God. So I have created the sacred “quiet” time daily in our house where everyone is in their room for a while, and I challenge myself to sit and be still myself the first 20 minutes before I set off to conquer the “to do” list.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Such a great idea Jacki! Making sure we have our own quiet time before rushing through the “to do” list. Doesn’t have to be long…but we need rest. Thanks for sharing friend.

  5. Deborah

    I love this post! Every morning I pray before I get out of bed and then I turn on my ipad to see what the verse of the day is on You Verse. I can’t wait to see what it is every morning. Then if I’ve slept too late to do my bible study I still have a verse to think about as I start my day. I reread it everynight right before I go to bed.

  6. kaceybess

    Yeah, I was happy to see you we’re before me on the Allume linkup. I’ve really enjoyed following your blog. So much wisdom you’re sharing. By the way, loved your kite analogy this week! I’m figuring out a way to sneak it into one of my posts.


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