Be still.

Three of my cars have been a stick. Four, if you count the family car I drove in high school.

Learning to drive a stick in my teens was not fun. In the movies, people always lurch along, STOP-GO STOP-GO STOP-GO but my problem was hills. I could not find that sweet spot in releasing the clutch where the car doesn’t move, regardless of the road’s incline and my mom was determined that I needed to be able to do just that. At one point I remember turning to her with tears in my eyes vowing, “I’m moving to Kansas where it’s flat!”

She’d patiently coach me as I inched up off the clutch but then I’d slowly roll back downhill. She’d encourage me as I tried again and again but then either stalled or slid backwards. She’d calmly say, “Just be still,” and I knew she meant the car but she was also trying to get me to chill out.

Like most things, once I got the hang of the clutch it was second nature and I didn’t have to think about it. But I often remember that admonition to be still and how different it is from my wanting to take the easier, more definitive way. Let’s either GO in Drive or STOP in Park. Why do I have to idle in this place called Neutral?

What do I possibly get from being still?

And then God patiently whispers, Me.”

“You get Me when you choose to be still.”

bestill

Sometimes I still take the easier, more mindless option and aimlessly Drive. Just start out, no real plan in mind, without taking the time to ask where He would have me go. And I have to constantly fight against the inertia to just stay in Park. Hole up and not venture out on any path, for fear it’s the wrong one or the embarrassing one or the one that reveals to others the secret truths in my heart.

But when I lessen my tight clutch on things. Things like

  • Needing to know what’s next
  • Trying to control outcomes
  • Wanting to take the easiest paths
  • Caring what others think

The unimportant stuff falls away and I am able to shift my focus to what matters.

Not exactly a walk in the park (I couldn’t resist) but I’m making progress.

park

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Posted in FMF

7 thoughts on “Be still.

  1. WOW! This was just the lesson I needed to hear today. I need to be still. I need to let God take care of me and point me in the direction he wants me to go. By the way, I live in Kansas and it’s not all flat here. We have plenty of hills. Have a great weekend

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  2. Great post, Patricia. The trick to manual transmissions and hills is using the e-brake. I learned this with my motorcycle. However, on a motorcycle, it’s not an e-brake, it’s the rear brake. On a motorcycle, there are two brakes, one in front and one in the rear. One foot pedal and one hand brake. When I come to a stop on a hill I initially use my handbrake. Once stopped, I switch to the foot pedal and then released the handbrake. When I go forward from a stop, I give it gas releasing the clutch with my left hand, once I have sufficient power in the throttle I slowly release the rear brake. I go forward without rolling backward. It’s only a reverse kind of thing in a car with the pedals, etc. I hope you finally were able to master hills with a manual transmission.

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  3. This post reminded me of myself when I was a teen and learning how to drive clutch. It took me awhile, but then I eventually got the hang out of it. Learning to be still right along with ya!

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  4. What do I possibly get from being still?

    And then God patiently whispers, “Me.”

    “You get Me when you choose to be still.”

    I love this part. My first car was a stick. I remember the hills and trying to find the sweet spot. I love your analogy. Certainly, “still” is a sweet spot. And, to take the illustration a little further, it takes practice to get there. The mind and the body want to go, go, go. Even if the body is still, the mind can still be racing ahead. Stillness takes practice and feels awkward. The more we practice stillness, the more we are easily returned.

    In theory, I want the prize of a deep relationship with God. In reality, I miss opportunities to be still and take the stop or go instead.

    Great encouragement.

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  5. Patricia, sorry it took me a few days to get over here. It’s been . . . one of those weekends. Sigh.

    I see we had a similar take on this word this week. 🙂 So fun. I need to release my grip on some of those things too. Thank you for the reminder that staying in Park is sometimes the best thing to do. 🙂

    P.S. I’ve had trouble getting this comment to post. 😦 I hope it comes up okay.

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