Click above to listen to the title track Still Waters from my second album as you read. If you enjoy, consider purchasing the song, album download, or CD from iTunes, Amazon, or stantonlanier.com (where sheet music is also available).
Have you had any “still waters” moments lately?
When I composed this song in 2002, we had two young children and my financial planning career was in full swing. I was beginning to wonder if I was supposed to make a dramatic career shift from “money to music” (it was 2004 before I would leave a fifteen-year business career to become a pianist-composer and ministry founder). I had this longing for stillness in the midst of life’s fullness and busyness on all fronts. All the music I composed for Still Waters was created “around the edges of life” (late nights and early mornings). Every song was like a diary entry in my quest to find the “still waters” God promises we can know and experience.
This quest has taught me to seek progress rather than perfection. Life’s activities and distractions are abundant not some of the time, but all of the time. Regardless of your season in life, below are five steps I have found helpful in finding still waters, and receiving the benefits of stillness.
1. Stop. For some, unplug might be the better word. Put your phone down. Step away from the computer. Turn the television off. Begin to practice three short “stop” moments: after waking in the morning, sometime during the day, and in the evening before going to sleep.
2. Be Still. This can look different, depending on how you are wired. You might physically be still reading in a chair, or praying as you sip coffee or tea on your patio. You might mentally be still resting your mind during a walk, jog, or swim. You might enjoy stillness alone or together.
3. Listen. Allow for moments of pause, to listen in silence. Try exercising without any video, music, audiobooks, or podcasts. Listen to your breathing, the birds singing, the breeze blowing. Composing and listening to instrumental music has helped me listen differently too.
4. Meditate on Scripture. Use a short verse to repeat in your head and absorb into your heart. For example, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything give thanks” (Philippians 4:6). Ask God to speak into your life during these first four steps.
5. Live by Faith. Enriched through “still waters” moments, I find myself more able to trust, believe and hope in God’s promises to lead, restore, guide, comfort and prepare me in the midst of life’s activities and distractions. Living by faith integrates stillness and action, being and doing.
Which of the above could benefit you most today?
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”