November 16, 2021
Take a Breath of Stillness
Be still, and know that I am God! (Psalm 46:10 NLT).
Friend to Friend
The setting sun danced upon the hilltops across the valley as a warm summer night breeze tickled the back of my neck. I inhaled the familiar smell of the pasture while noticing the crunching sound of the grazing horses.
Gazing into the distance, God reminded me of His invitation to be still, and ongoing promise to be healed, though this was not what I imagined when that was prayed over me two years earlier at a retreat. I wasn’t in a therapy office processing the trials and challenges life brings all of us. Instead, I was in a wide-open pasture with a horse named Teddy, putting into practice the principles and techniques learned through becoming a certified trauma-informed equine-assisted coach. And, through Teddy’s response to me, I was reminded once again a “fake it until you make it” approach doesn’t work with horses . . . or in life, for that matter.
Even though I wanted to pretend like I was fine after a particularly rough day, Teddy knew I wasn’t. No, he couldn’t read my mind, but he could detect my heart rate, as God created horses to be able to do so to protect themselves from danger. While we may appear to be calm, cool, and collected on the outside, a horse can notice our dysregulated internal state and in response may freeze, flee, or in an extreme case, fight back to survive. It is the same brain response we have when we’re afraid!
I could tell by the way Teddy lifted his head high and froze in place that the state of my heart needed attention. So instead of pushing forward, I choose to do exactly what I teach my clients: I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and turned my attention to God as I began reciting Psalm 46:10:
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
Be still and.
I felt Teddy approaching before I opened my eyes. We greeted each other with a touch of my hand to his velvety soft nose. He let out a sigh and leaned in as I felt his breath match mine. And there we stood with God in the stillness of the evening as I let go of my expectations for our time together and found joy in simply being present.
It isn’t easy to slow down and pay attention to what is happening inside our heart and mind. But God didn’t make us to live in perpetual motion pretending like everything is just fine. He made us for an honest and wholly present connection with Him and with each other, and in my case, also a horse.
God wants to be with us before He works through us.
Whether you find yourself standing in a pasture or, more likely, up to your elbows in dishes, overwhelmed with laundry, crammed into the carpool line, or juggling papers at your desk, the invitation from God is before you. Will you say yes to slowing down for a breath or two so that you can be still and be present with Him?
He is there, inviting you into a deep and satisfying connection as you take another breath, and remind your soul that He is still on the throne eager for you to cease the endless striving and sit with Him awhile.
Dear Lord, thank You for inviting us to be still and know that You are God. Thank You that in Your presence we find the gift of healing and hope, growth and transformation. Help us be mindful of what You want to do in us before we expect for You to work through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How is God inviting you to connect with Him today?
What is He prompting you to hit pause on to be still in His presence for even a breath or two?
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© 2021 by Elisa Pulliam. All rights reserved.