Be Still

Step 1: Quit job to become professional author.

Step 2: Be still.

Step 3: Profit.

Today is the first weekday since quitting my job. Thursday ended my employment with Amazon.com, where I worked as an overpaid, pampered software engineer. No more expensive catered lunches for me, no sir! Here I sit in the quiet of my room with the ocean breeze blowing softly through my window to aid me on a hot day. The windows don’t open in my old office building, and despite the perfect control of the air conditioning, I prefer the ocean breeze

My life has been in chaos for the three years of my employment at earth’s largest store. Rarely total chaos, more of a controlled chaos. It’s not as though I worked particularly long hours, but when you work in a job that isn’t what God made you for, you become easily exhausted. When you find what He has made you for, then work doesn’t seem like work.

“Be still and know that I am God.” A famous command from the 46th Psalm that precedes “I will be exalted among the nations. My name will be exalted in all the earth.” I believe this means that in order for His name to be exalted in all the nations, in the works of our hands, in our lives, in our families, or to our neighbors, we must first be still. “Tarry in Jerusalem and wait for the gift my Father promised” would be another example is of this. He who cannot tarry is not fit for work in the Kingdom.

Today, I’m trying to be still. I’m taking a trip to Thailand and Japan in two weeks, so the time hasn’t come to publish my next novel. The time has come to be still. During the last month of my previous employment, the stress of transition (mixed with spiritual attack) caused me to wake up for an hour or two every night. If you’re curious, this is why I haven’t posted much in the last month. The day I quit, the insomnia stopped, but I still need full recovery from that month.

And yet, it’s hard. Harder than I thought it would be. I’m noticing all the little things I never had much time for, things like oil changes and optometrist’s appointments. The velocity of the last few years of my life has left me moving, moving, moving. If I have time, I usually needed to use it to do some errand like shopping. This truck barreling down the hill still hasn’t quite come to rest. Even at the grocery store, I felt strange to be a working-age man shopping at 2 PM on a weekday. Why is “be still” so hard?

I mean, think about it. God says to us: “Relax! Enjoy a good book. Have some fun. Get some sleep. Stop worrying.” And for some reason, we get all uptight, turn Him down on the offer, and decide that we’d rather exhaust ourselves and be miserable. Why in the world is it so hard to rest?

It’s hard because of the rewards of hard work. God loves hard work, for starters. He made us to work. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Because as much as He designed us for hard work, He designed us for hard rest. I’m talking about how our society functions. When you work, your coworkers give you a pat on the back and say, “Good job! You finished on time.” You get pay, prestige, and power. When you Sabbath, God gives you invisible rewards. So, it makes sense that in a culture so accustomed to only caring about the visible world, we can’t hold still.

“Be still and know that I am God.” A man who does not know how to be still has no place doing God’s work. In three years of computer programming, have I lost my ability be still? Have I gained l33t computer skillz at the cost of resting skills? Because if so, I must take His yoke upon myself so that I can again become fit for work in the Kingdom.

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