Cease striving [let go, relax] and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10 NASB emphasis added
One of the items on my list of things to accomplish one day is to learn how to swim. It’s funny because as much as I love the beach and water, it’s just something that I’ve never learned to do.
I remember attending a pool party one summer at an acquaintance’s house. While lounging around in the water , I struck up a conversation with a young lady who happened to be a swim instructor. I shared with her how I’ve always wanted to learn how to swim but never got around to it. Since we had some time in the pool to ourselves while we were waiting for the others to finish preparing the food, she said she would help me try to learn to float.
While she was holding me up as I laid back in the water, the first thing she noticed was how tense I was. I needed to relax. And if I didn’t, this wasn’t going to go far. However, the more I thought about trying to relax, the harder it became. I was in my own way. And the fear of not being in “control” frightened me. I knew she was there to hold me up and support me, but I was still tense. I was having a hard time letting go. After a few minutes of getting comfortable I finally felt a bit at ease. I had to stop trying to hold myself up and let my body do what it is naturally able to in the water. But the minute she moved her hands from under me, I immediately tensed up and well…I’m sure you know what happened next.
Holding on was hurting me rather than helping. My inability to relax and trust something different outside of my comfort zone was keeping me from the very thing I wanted to experience.
Reflecting on that moment I know there have been other times in my life when I have clinched so tight to my own efforts that it actually became detrimental. I was on edge about circumstances that troubled me and kept trying to fix them, moving from thing to thing instead of recognizing that there wasn’t anything I needed to do- except relax and let go.
When we fully let go of trying to hold our ownselves up, we have the opportunity to experience and rest in God’s love for us, trusting in the promise that He will uphold us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10)- even when it seems like His hands aren’t there.
It’s interesting to me that this verse is found in a passage where there was apparently some trouble going on (read verses 1-9). Yet, the instruction in verse 10 is the exact opposite of what many of us would do. At least for me. Mountains quaking, waters roaring- talk about being in a tense situation.
Yet the response is not to hold onto it, focus on it or try to figure something out. Rather they are instructed to:
And know that He is God.
The word “know” in verse 10 literally means to acknowledge, become acquainted with/aware, or to clearly understand. If we are not careful, the act of holding on to so many things can not only cause unnecessary stress in our lives, but it can also distract us from the importance of shifting our attention to the Lord. We can miss the chance to pause and recognize who God is and know Him in a deeper way.
Our striving can only get us so far if God is instructing us to be still and acknowledge that He is God. Not us, not our efforts, not our plans.
I invite you take moments of intentional pause to be still this week. Allow yourself to float in the current of God’s grace and love for you. Focus on who He is, His power, and His word. For it is truly the only thing worth holding onto.