by Kristen Hartman

February 7, 2018

Trees and Lake


I breathe out the word. A long, slow exhale. I feel my shoulders drop—when did they creep up to my ears?—and my spine elongate.

It’s a powerful word.

In the midst of the frenzy, in the midst of the mundane, be still.

Without realizing it I had lumped be still and all its cousins—do not worry about tomorrow, rejoice always, take my yoke—into the category of Some Day. An aspiration for Some Day when everything aligns and all facets of life hum along in perfect harmony for fifteen consecutive minutes.

But the truths of the Bible weren’t recorded in times of tranquility and ease. The words weren’t given to people who had it all together. They were as shocking and improbable to the original audience as they are to me. The first hearers didn’t have the ability to put them on a future to-attempt list; they had to respond that moment. No response—postponing the decision—was itself a choice, a rejection of the opportunity. The same is true for me.

Imperatives are possible. That’s the beautiful part I’ve been missing.

Be still is not an intellectual riddle or a code to be broken or a fanciful dream. I can be still. It’s a truth I am equipped to embody. Not perfectly. Not through my own strength or ability. But as I go about my day, the word whispers through me: still. A check to see what reality I’m living in as I drive, reply to emails, cuddle my nephew, put sheets on the bed, sit in meetings . . . It’s a reminder to find stillness in the only One who can provide it.

So I repeat the word throughout the day. A silent call to rest in Jesus.

As I hear it, my soul settles. The internal pressure lessens. The deep breath illustrates how shallowly I’ve been breathing, how shallowly I’ve been living.

This moment I will be still.

Kristen Hartman is a regular contributor to the Women’s Ministries blog and also maintains a blog of her own where this post was first published. You can read more of her writing at

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