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Stillness is not the same as nothingness

I’ve just had one of those rich, but rare, ah-ha moments. That split second when you suddenly realize what you thought everyone most generally believed, turned out to be the very opposite.

A little background

For decades I’ve taken extended times alone with the Lord. Each one, whether it was four hours or ten days long, changed me in some way. I always returned with a new perspective – about myself, about God, about a dream or about a complicated or painful situation in my life.

sunset over blue ocean

Years ago I began inviting other ladies to join me on these weekend adventures, always trying to create for them the same atmosphere that I experienced. I shared what I had learned, then created space for each one to hear God speak.

I call these getaways “Dare to Be Still.” It’s a dare to believe life can go on without us for a couple days. And it’s a dare to believe that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. (James 4:8)

Then recently, a wise woman whose life and faith I admire told me that many who heard about these retreats may interpret STILLNESS to mean NOTHINGNESS. And I realized I needed to give a fuller explanation of what happens at these unique weekends.

We "still" ourselves to know

You may be one who pictures stillness as sitting alone in a room trying to think about nothing at all -- or simply trying not to think.

Perhaps you thought I would be encouraging you to empty your mind, to stop all thoughts and in some magical way that would draw you close to God.

Basically, you may have thought I believed stillness = nothingness. And who wants something scary or impossible like that? Certainly not me!

I think I’m beginning to see why some have been hesitant to attend a retreat where “Still” is in the title.

Our foundational truth for these retreats is Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” I believe we still ourselves to know, not to close our eyes and ears to truth, but to open our minds and embrace it.

misty forest

Through the Apostle Paul, God addresses our anxious moments by telling us – of all things – to THINK. In Philippians 4, He explains: Do not be anxious about anything, but first to pray. And then second to think.

Think about what? Think about how to empty our minds? No. Think about how to FILL them.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,

whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –


At a Dare to Be Still retreat I teach lots of ways to meditate on Scripture so that we may “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 2) It’s a great activity to do, especially when we are not hurried.

dramatic clouds

Photo: Džoko Stach from Pixabay

A writer in Zondervan’s Expositor’s Bible Commentary explains that the exhortation to ‘be still’ calls on us to stop doing one thing in favor of something else. The psalmist encourages the godly to ‘know’ that the Lord is God. We are called to change how we think, not to stop thinking.

To know is an action of our minds. It includes study, meditation, prayer, and then by God’s Spirit to wisely choose truth that sets us free.

If you are hungry to be closer to God, to see a change in your life, to trust there is always room to go deeper in your faith than what you have experienced so far, I invite you to come away to a quiet place of learning.

quiet misty scenery

Photo: StockSnap from Pixabay

While attending church, reading your Bible and loving others are important aspects of your walk with the Lord; there is more. You can also add coming away, as Jesus invited His disciples to do.

Here are some things you can discover at a Dare to Be Still retreat:

  • How to recognize God’s Whisper in your life

  • How to uncover the hidden lies

  • How to eliminate distractions: mental and physical

  • The one thing that can mute your hearing of God’s voice

  • How to initiate authentic change in your life

  • How to bask in God’s endless love for you

  • How to linger in the joyful, peaceful presence of Jesus

How is all this possible in one short weekend? I know. We offer a lot, but the choices are up to you.

At retreats we prepare a place for you to hear God speak, including:

  • A private room

  • No interruptions

  • Access to a library of books and ideas

  • Hours to use as you choose: to read, walk, draw, rest, study, worship, dialogue with Jesus and more…

Is it time for you to step out? Is it time for you to be still and know? To know that right in the middle of your busy, noisy, confusing, exciting life – you can know God is with you.

I hope sharing my perspective about being still brings a sense of excitement and expectation. I’m always surprised and never disappointed when I make the effort to come away with Jesus. The more I embrace His love for me… the more I fall in love with Him!

“If you want God to do something new,

you cannot keep doing the same old thing.”


Pull up a chair and sit still

woman raising her arms at sunset

Photo: Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

What is keeping you from accepting the Lord’s invitation to “Come Away?” Is there a way you could rearrange your life for this one amazing weekend?

If the time is not right for you, do you have a friend you could share this opportunity with -- perhaps even give her a little financial help or free up some of her responsibilities?

It’s time

We have just one Dare to Be Still retreat in 2020, and we can guarantee your private room if you register by March 15. Please consider coming away, and why not bring a friend along, too?! Register here for our May 2 – 3 retreat.

Thanks for sitting still with me today.

Email me your thoughts or pop in to say "hi."  

I'd love to hear from you!

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