Sit Down and Shut Up

I've written about my love of checklists in the past. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I have something I need to do, and then get it done. Plus, let's face it, when someone asks you, "So what did you do today?" it feels good to rattle off your list.

by bob

Oct 5, 2012

I’ve written about my love of checklists in the past. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I have something I need to do, and then get it done. Plus, let’s face it, when someone asks you, “So what did you do today?” it feels good to rattle off your list.

On the contrary, if you ask someone, what did you do today, and they reply, “nothing,” that seems a bit odd, but when they give you the same response when you ask, “and what are hoping to accomplish the rest of the week?” then words like lazy & slacker will probably start creeping into your brain. They would for me.

I say that to say there seems to be a theme we’ve noticed as we’ve arrived in Ireland. It is summed up best by that short phrase in Psalm 46, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

It comes up in devotions. It comes up in sermons. It comes up in random things we read. Over, and over, and over. Be still. (Or as it needs to be phrased at times to get through my thick skull…sit down, and shut up.)

It hit me recently that this passage is not a checklist.

  1. Be still
  2. Know (believe) that he is God.

Rather, in being still you will know that he is God.

Give up on the thoroughly unbiblical idea that “God helps those who help themselves,” and allow him to demonstrate that he is God.

I won’t speak for the rest of my family…but I struggle with this. Sure I’m Gen X, but I’m no slacker.

However, as I look over our time here, I notice this theme playing itself out in many ways.

Our housing search.
I lost track of how many places we visited…how many phone calls and car trips we had to make only to be frustrated over and over. And then, just when we needed it, something opened up, with almost no effort.

Our car search.
Just reread the last sentence and it’ll sum up this process as well.

Now we are beginning a job search. So where is that line? I mean, you don’t want to stress, and fret, and be a frenzy of activity if God is saying “Be still.” But it doesn’t seem like you can just sit on your couch and expect a knock at the door. When is it trusting God, and when is it being lazy?

I mean the temporary house we found for 2 weeks in August came with zero effort on our part…and it came just as we had given up and were planning to move up to Liz’s family farm over an hour away from Dublin.

Does it seem beyond the realm of possibility that God could provide the jobs/support/income we need if we did nothing? I don’t think it is. Am I comfortable with that scenario? No. Part of me is convinced that for all of this to work out, I need to be very active.

When is it trusting God, and when is it being lazy?

I’m wrestling with where that line is.

What about Bob?


I grew up in Western New York and have started and led missional church planting efforts for a little over 30 years. As you might gather, I have opinions about the church, and I share some of them here.

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  1. ptaylor2112

    Thank you, may I have another! Great post. It reminded me of how we finally potty-trained our first child. We tried everything: rewards, cajoling, gifts, hovering, a dwindling supply of diapers. NOTHING worked. (I still remember saying “Henry, you need to ____.” “I did that last week!” he’d reply.) Nothing worked, until Ann and I sat down, got still, and prayed to God that we couldn’t do this on our own.

  2. Debbie

    I struggle with that line ALL the time.

  3. Mary Ellen

    My recent experience has been that God lets me do everything I think I am supposed to do, then swoops in and lifts my spiritual life to a new plane when He provides. We only think it is the ‘last minute’, because that is the point at which we become ‘desperate, frustrated, hopeless’, whatever term you want to use, It probably wasn’t the last minute…just His timing, and we all know His timing is perfect!


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