Early in high school basketball, I got the nickname full-throttle because I was quick and always in full-throttle mode. One of the problems that came with being that way was that layups were hard. I’d steal the ball from the opposing point guard and dribble-sprint with the ball to their end for a layup. No one would be near me because I was so quick – I’d confidently put the ball up off the backboard, but, that too was full throttle and the ball would bounce so hard off the backboard it almost made it back to the free throw line.
I learned to control my speed and layup finesse and had a successful basketball career, but the full throttle mindset is something I still have today. Everything I do I’m all in and full steam ahead. This full-throttle way of living is great, most of the time. With all the things I have to complete in a day being full force, structured, prepared and driven makes it all happen – but sometimes it’s like I’m playing basketball again where every layup – or everything I do ricochets off the backboard.
I’m at a loss right now, how to find the balance of full throttle and being still. You might think it’s easy, “just relax and let loose, let the dishes wait till later”, you might say. For me and my fullout personality – you’re either a couch zombie or a get ‘er done person. The happy medium, to me, just doesn’t make sense…
Be Still and Know that I Am God – Psalm 46:10
God asks us to be still, to stop! Stop working, stop planning, stop moving, stop thinking and to just be still. Haven’t you ever felt the same about your children? I’ve said, and more often thought, “ok, how about we just be quiet and not move for 5 minutes”. When it’s put like that, I get it, and it starts to actually feel like a relief when I think of stopping for a minute. Knowing me and my personality, I’ll have to plan the time to stop and be still and make it intentional just like I make cooking, cleaning, exercising, writing and riding intentional, but if God, as our father, is asking us to just stop and be quiet for 5 minutes, shouldn’t we?!
God wants to be the top priority in our lives that all of our focus is on Him and not our to-do list. That’s where the second part of the verse comes in – “Know that I Am God”. Know means that we should be aware and acknowledge His presence in all things and that He is the creator of all things. He is asking us to trust Him and submit to his plan. While we are stopped and still, we need to focus our minds on God and God alone. This is where I have the most trouble, often being still, for me, leads to the overview of everything that still needs to get done or the creation of a whole new list of to-dos. In this knowing phase of being still, is where we need to quiet our minds so that God can show us who He is and that His plan is greater. It’s where we allow ourselves to let go of control, pressure, and stress and be present in knowing that His plan is greater than our plans will ever be – I mean seriously – He created everything, He is in control – not us.
Just like I learned to control my full-throttle layups, I too, have to learn to control my full-throttle life. Being a doer and having a type A personality is a great gift, it allows me to fully execute and follow through on all the things I commit too and successfully. But, instead of using this gift to execute God’s plan, I’m using it to be a control freak executing my own plan. I can’t hear God’s plan if I’m not still and focused on Him, I can only hear mine. Being focused on me and my plan keeps me running full-throttle from one task to the next, no breaks, no peace…I always end up in tears, tired, completely burnt out, and feeling very alone. He doesn’t want this for me and He doesn’t want it for you either!
He is with us, always, and his plan doesn’t have us feeling burnt out or lonely because when we execute His plan. We know that He is God – that He is in all things – and that He will complete the good work He has begun. He will complete it, not you, God – as long as we allow Him in to do so.
I chose to write this blog, not because I had this all figured out, but because I don’t! I get it though, I don’t have to be a couch zombie, I can still be a doer and execute things I commit to, but, I need to ensure that I’m synced up with God’s plan and not too focused on mine. I can avoid the feelings of burn out and loneliness because I’ll be executing the right things in my life, the things God wants to use me for.
We can’t know His plan for us unless we know Him and we can’t know Him unless we’re still, quiet and focused on Him. So, what do you say – let’s all add more quiet to our days and use our full-throttle gift to execute God’s plan, not our own?