“Be still and know I am God.” We’ve likely heard that verse, but in our culture of to-do lists and commitments, family obligations, and chasing our dreams, it can be hard to know how and when to “be still.” Where do we start? What does it look like to “be still,” and what can God do in our lives when we choose to listen to His quiet whispers in this loud world that can make us feel like we have to do it all?
(in)courage exists as an online community committed to making safe spaces for women to connect over topics just like this one. Every Wednesday this month we’ll be sharing some of our stories about discovering the blessings of being still. We hope you’ll read along and then join us in a weekly Community Challenge geared toward discovering who God is calling us to love and some practical steps we can do together.
Do you really believe God loves you — not just tolerates you? When I ask this question to women who are exhausted from trying hard to be “good enough,” the reaction is usually tears springing to their eyes. I understand this response because it was my story for many years too.
Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that God simply “puts up with us” because He has to. We’re the naughty children who drive Him crazy, but He has to be our parent anyway. I believe at the root of every human quest for perfection is a misunderstanding of God’s love for us. Our hearts are made for love, and if we don’t think we can freely receive it, then we’ll try to earn it.
And as long as we’re trying to earn love, we can’t be still inside because we are afraid. Understanding God’s love for us is the only thing that can truly bring peace and rest to our hearts. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).
God doesn’t just love you; He is love. It’s the essence of His character. God can’t be unloving. It’s simply not possible. And His love is far different than what we’ve experienced from other people.
God’s love has no limits. You can’t wear Him out or be too much for Him to handle. He doesn’t grow tired. He doesn’t have bad days. His response to you doesn’t depend on his mood or energy level. There’s never an end to His love for you.
God’s love has no expectations. In every human relationship, we encounter expectations. But God doesn’t have any for us. He already knows our hearts; therefore, we can’t surprise or disappoint Him.
God’s love has no requirements. We’re used to relationships in which we’re made to feel, “If you do X, then I will love you.” God’s love is unconditional. God loved all of us while we were still sinners, and nothing can separate us from His love now.
God’s love is not dependent on us. Human love is often determined by our actions. But God loves us because that’s who he is. It’s part of His character. He will always love us, no matter what we do.
God’s love has our ultimate good in mind. Because He doesn’t need our love, God can do what is best for us even if it’s not what we want. Other people may make choices that aren’t really beneficial to us just so we won’t get upset with them. But God is independent of us and doesn’t need our approval.
God’s love can’t be earned. It can only be received. We can win the affections of others through our actions. But God’s love is only and always a gift of grace. We can never be good enough to gain His love and never bad enough to lose it.
God is offering His love to you — fully, freely, and forever. It’s time to stop trying so hard, let your heart be still and simply receive it.
Holley Gerth, author of the new book You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect
This week let’s all take time to ask God to show us the lies our hearts have believed about His love. A tool that can help you discover those lies is Holley’s free one-minute “Is Pressure to Be Perfect Secretly Hurting You?” Quiz.