Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or awesome for me. But I have stilled and quieted myself… -Psalm 131:1-2 NIV
When God wants our attention, he’ll be sure to get it.
He wanted mine the other day. I knew it, too. All morning I had this pressing on my heart, and as I came back to work from lunch, car idling in the parking lot as I watched the flag across the street flutter in the wind, I knew we would have a discussion. Just not now. I had too much to do. “Later tonight, Lord,” I acquiesced. “We’ll talk later.”
The rest of the afternoon quickly passed, early evening also, as I decided to take a detour from the office to stop at home to say hi to my parents and little brother. I stayed later than intended, warming myself in the comfort of the home where I grew up. By the time I ran a few errands and filtered back to my apartment, it was 9 in the evening. I had hoped I could somehow avoid that pressing conversation by keeping myself away so late, but as soon as I hung up my coat, switched on the living-room lights, and entered my bedroom, I felt him watching, waiting with words unspoken, like he always does.
I was cowering and I knew it. I had a nagging feeling I knew the topic of conversation and didn’t want to go there. So, I stalled, picking up my room, checking my email, hopping in the shower. Still, my heart heaved within and my mind dug up one thought over and over, and each time I buried it deep inside, refusing to let it surface. “I’m not ready to talk about that yet, Lord,” I pleaded as I padded once more around my room, shifting my sheets, and examining the ceiling fan. Minutes later, I still paced, heart beating wildly within. This time, though, I knew that my fight was over. I didn’t want this weight. It was a difficult issue regarding a close relationship, and I like to stuff things down and squelch the discomfort, especially when it comes to the matters of my heart.
Silence hovered around the room, but inside my mind raced, running like a horse around and around a track. I couldn’t think of a starting point and felt lost, so I did what comes most naturally. I grabbed my black leather journal and penned my request to God.
OK Lord, the Spirit has been pressing on my heart all day. I have been avoiding it because I know what you want to talk to me about, and I’m not ready to go there. You know this already, but maybe I am ready. You’re waiting for me. Let’s have an honest chat.
Why do we avoid going to God when he’s the one who knows our hearts best? When he’s the one who carefully crafted us in the secret space and holds us close to his chest in comfort? We flail and fight and distance ourselves when we need to do the exact opposite. God longs for us to be still, surrender, and come close. Sometimes he makes it excruciatingly obvious, and other times He waits until we’ve expelled all our energy and we wear ourselves out, so we have nothing left but to fall into him.
When our heart posture aligns with his, beautiful moments of relationship arise. But we must first be open and willing to hear from him.
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore (Psalm 131 NIV).
Three short verses pack quite a punch and quickly readjust our heart in humility. God is patient and trustworthy, faithful from beginning to end. In him we have our hope and can choose to believe our tender places are safe with him. I, for one, am comforted in the promise that his perfect love always casts away our fear (1 John 4:18).
As I repeated these lines to myself, my spirit calmed and rested in he who knew its every beat. We talked, and my chest lightened as I unloaded to my great Advocate. I believe this can be our rhythm: to still and quiet ourselves before our dear and patient God. He knows how we ache; how the storms rage within. When we realign our hearts and tune our ears to hear what he whispers, he will raise us to new heights, pour peace into our weary and ragged souls, and keep our attention in the best ways.