Last September was a crazy time for us. Jeremiah and I were starting a brand new chapter in our lives by uprooting the only life we really knew in Pennsylvania, and moving to Charlotte, NC. There were so many moving parts that we needed to stay on top of: apartment hunting, moving costs, job searching, making new friends, driving logistics with three vehicles and only two drivers, state-change paperwork, the list goes on. We were frantic trying to stay on top of all the to-do’s that seemed to multiply each time we checked one off. It’s hard to remain grounded under those kinds of circumstances, so we were constantly reminding ourselves to “be still.” We knew this move was the right next step for our lives, so we had to trust the path God was leading us down.
It was basically our mantra for those transitionary weeks. Oh no, the truck isn’t going to be available, now we’ll have to pay twice as much for the other company and we can’t afford that. Be still. The RN licensing paperwork isn’t finalized yet; what if he can’t start working his new job right away? Be still. I’ve never lived anywhere else; I like adventure but how am I really going to cope with living hundreds of miles from everything I’ve ever known?
Be still. Be still. Be still.
Like a song on repeat through our minds, we had to just let it keep playing to give us even an ounce of peace.
Thankfully, as time progressed, the to-do list finally shrank, the fears calmed, and the transition was smooth. We fell into a rhythm in our new life. We moved into our apartment; we got plugged into the community; we made friends. We were so excited about all of the possibilities that came with this new adventure.
And then, we got comfortable.
It’s so easy to take bold steps into a new life and then fall asleep because you wasted all of your energy in the planning rather than the doing. Story of my life.
Complacency took over. I was taking for granted the time I was given to accomplish my goals. I was pushing forward, but minimally at best. Fortunately, I did take advantage of this time to catch up on reading some of the library-sized amount of books I own but have yet to open. When I got to Christine Caine’s “Unstoppable,” I was struck by this line: “God’s unstoppable relay is filled with willing runners who have chosen to not stand still…” After months of “be still” echoing through my brain, the connection was instantaneous.
Be still, but don’t stand still.
Yes, we live in a fast-paced, frenzied world where we constantly need to remind ourselves to quiet down and take a few minutes alone with God. Those moments are necessary to recharge ourselves and grow our faith. However, that is only step one. What good is it to grow in your faith, if you don’t share it with others? We are called, above all else, to love one another. I don’t know about you, but to me that means giving people the antidote to the poison of the world. Who does more good, the doctor who learned the cure for cancer through lengthy study, or the doctor who took that information and actually brought the cure to the sick?
I’m not saying we need to sell all of our possessions and become missionaries in Africa. I’m not saying we need to pound down the doors of our friends’ homes with a bible in hand. What I am saying, is that we need to start loving people, really loving them. Yet, we live in a world where the word “love” has become overused to the point of meaninglessness.
So what do we do?
Just that, we need to do.
The most genuine form of communication is nonverbal. “Talk is cheap.” “Actions speak louder than words.” “Lip-service.” We need to take back the meaning of love and live it. How we live our lives, how we treat others, how we react to the rollercoaster of life, that is our testimony. The greatest way to show Jesus’s impact on us, is to impact others in the same way.
Love them. It’s that simple.
We will never be able to change someone’s heart. We can’t talk them into agreement. We won’t get them to quit habits we don’t like or approve. We just don’t have the ability or authority to create that level of change; that’s God’s realm. (And quite frankly, thinking we can make that kind of change in our own strength sort of eliminates the need for someone more powerful than ourselves, don’t you think?) We are simply called to show the truth of what Jesus is all about; love. Loving like Jesus did is the way to opening those doors tucked so deeply into our hearts.
Show the change in your heart, and in His timing, they’ll seek that change too.
Just love, and let God.
And loving others doesn’t take just one form; it can look wildly different given our circumstances. Love can be forgiving a friend after a fight, giving food to a homeless person, donating to charity, stopping yourself from saying a harsh word, fostering children, rescuing trafficking victims, smiling at a stranger, giving up your seat on the bus, visiting a shut-in, reading to children, seeking to understand rather than condemn, building houses, fighting injustice, giving encouragement, letting someone else have the last word, calling an estranged relative, the list is literally endless.
We need to start following through with the second step by putting our faith into action.
Loving people, really loving them, is hard. We open ourselves up to hurt, rejection, potentially even violence, or persecution. But don’t let your fear of the world make your influence on it ineffective. Be calm in your spirit knowing you have God’s power and strength in you; let yourself be unsettled by the things in this world and use His power to do something to change it.
We can only make real change if we are quiet enough to listen to His voice and then chase after a solution with His determination.
The time is now. Be still, but don’t stand still. Go.
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What does ‘not standing still’ look in your life? I can’t wait to hear what you’re doing to really love those around you!