Be still and know that I am God

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By Jenna Ebener

I have faced some challenging circumstances lately that have led me to contemplate the concepts of control and trust. Up until now, when I thought about control, I thought about external circumstances beyond my control. In the past, I learned the hard way that numerous situations are beyond our control.

For example, I cannot control what happens outside of school to our students or what decisions the district makes. COVID-19 showed me how fear can take over. After much heartache, I realized there is only so much I can do on my own and it will never be sufficient. I was able to find peace only after I presented my limitations to God and acknowledged that he is in control.

I learned to do as much as I could, acknowledge my feelings of helplessness and rely on God to take care of the rest. I seek to find the positive rather than the negative. For example, instead of thinking I can never do enough to help comfort the parents of a child who has died, I try to be grateful for all of the amazing resources I was able to provide the family. While this shift in mindset still has to be intentional, I have progressed leaps and bounds from where I was five years ago when faced with situations beyond my control. So, naturally, God has presented me with a new challenge around control — a challenge from within.

Over a month ago, I experienced a concussion at work when I was helping a student. As the headache lingered, I realized something was wrong. Over the past few weeks, my symptoms have fluctuated, but the most concerning ones have been cognitive. Multi-tasking has become increasingly challenging for me to the point that I now realize how often I took multi-tasking for granted.

At times, I could not even cook, talk to someone on the phone and fold laundry at the same time or listen to Christian music while journaling without getting a piercing headache. I could no longer check my emails and hang out with friends for more than a half hour. During physical therapy, at one point I could not even name a color while looking from one post-it note to another while keeping pace to a metronome. It got to the point where God made it extremely clear that I needed to slow down. Again, God wanted me to let go of control.

For me, this form of letting go of control has been the most challenging so far. This time, I am the one with control and I also have to let go of that control. I have the control to decide to multitask or not. I can decide how much I work or what I focus on at home. I can decide to slow down and enjoy a phone call on the couch or to move around while talking on the phone. I cannot simply acknowledge that the situation is beyond my control. I have to acknowledge that others are telling me what I need to do and I need to listen to them. I need to do not more, but less.

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I need to let go of my anxiety that things will not get done and trust that God, like he always has, will continue to take care of me.

By being forced to slow down, God is helping me to separate a little from our non-stop culture and instead work on giving my undivided attention to one task at a time. He is helping me to appreciate deep breaths and to see him more fully in each moment. He is showing me this is not a challenge but an opportunity. He is again teaching me skills not just meant to improve my health but to unite me even more fully with him. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

(Jenna Ebener, a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with a combination of medical, cognitive and behavior disabilities. She relies on God every day to aid her on this wonderful, yet intense journey.)


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