Friday, August 27, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Quicksand


Be Still
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV)

Quicksand.

Imagine every visual example of quicksand you can think of. Unaware of your surroundings, you step into a situation that consumes you faster than you’re able to understand how you got in that situation to begin with. It is the surprise of the faulty foundation that catches you off guard. You are unable to physically move forward without the aid of logical thinking.

Your body flails, and you fight for life in an attempt to find your footing. But the more you struggle to get out, the deeper and faster you seem to sink. The physical quicksand can be a scary thought, but the mental and emotional quicksand many of us find ourselves in seems to feel just as bad as what we imagine the physical quicksand feels like.

We find ourselves in a struggle. We attempt to fight the thoughts and emotions that come with our situation. We struggle so much that we find ourselves deeper in the thoughts and emotions we were trying hard to avoid. We go from fighting them to being engulfed by them. Sometimes we get so stuck in the thoughts that consume us that we forget to remember the basics. We forget that the best way to fight is to simply be still. Our stillness gives us the opportunity to think more clearly and to simply wait on help. But whatever happens, it requires us to make the first move and take the first action of BEING still.

Being still is very different from doing nothing. Doing nothing seems to increase the thoughts and emotions that surround us. To be still requires intentionality and strategic thinking. To be still, we must focus on being still. We must collect ourselves. We must require everything that's in us—every fiber of our being—to be in alignment. We must tell our mind and body to get on the same page of being still.

And suddenly...it happens. We're still. Our body is still, our thoughts are still, even the situation seems still. But let’s be clear: being still doesn't change the situation. You’re still stuck. The difference now is that you have had enough time to observe the situation. After some thinking you realize you can't help yourself. There is no way to pull yourself up, and there is definitely no way to pull yourself out. You recognize you are incapable of fixing the situation or manipulating your circumstances to adhere to your deepest wills and desires. What's done is done, and you need help to get out of the situation.

But where is the faith?

We know Matthew 7:7-8 instructs us to go after what we want and that it is our responsibility to put in the action if we really want to receive the benefit. The Bible says in Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Easy right? But let’s remember that James 2:26 reminds us that faith without works is dead. In the same way that we ask for the door to be opened, we have to actually desire for the door to open. Us simply formulating our lips to utter the words doesn't necessarily equate as us asking for whatever we're asking for.

This is faith. You have to really want your circumstances to change before they do. Those thoughts and emotions you may struggle with will not disappear until you are truly ready for them to go. Realign your thinking. Focus on what's more important. If for no other reason than simply allowing them the freedom to just 'be', you have to focus on the positive. You have to intentionally—with everything in you—tell your troubles where to go. You don't care where they go, they just can't stay with you, in your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual space.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank you! Thank you for allowing us the authority of our minds and hearts. Thank you for entrusting us with the responsibility to be good stewards of our thoughts and emotions. We recognize that we can’t always control things that happen around us, but we thank you for allowing us to manage the things we can control – ourselves. Father, we ask that you help us in our times of need. When we can’t find a way out, we look directly to you. But we ask that you remind us that our faith is our responsibility. You require that when we bring our requests to you that we must also have the faith that is double the size of the request. Lord, we desire to elevate our minds and hearts. Thank you for continuously giving us opportunities to grow closer to you. And when we are in our darkest hours, we ask that you remind us to be still, focus, and tell our troubles where to go. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis:
Erin’s devotional today reminds me of this song “Be Still” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Listen to it here.

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Author Bio:
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts.  

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world. 

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry.

When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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