Book Club Notes: Learning to Be Still
We all long to be more rested, have more clarity, and feel more confident.
How does being still relate to this though? Where does silence come in?
Let’s hear from community members, Jackii, May, Katherine, Jenny, Choon Yuen and Jessica as they plowed through the book, Be Still And Know: treasures from silence to transform your life.
Q1. What made you decide to read the book?
Jessica: I enjoy reading and the idea of a book club and to be able to read together with others and share our thoughts sounded fun!
Jenny: The book title has appealed to me since it comes from one of my favourite verses, plus the bonus of knowing the author personally, this book could not be missed. Also, being still has always been my Achilles heel, so I always wanted to learn more about the tricks to doing and being so.
Katherine: I read about the book on FB. It felt like something I needed to read, so I went to borrow the book from our national library.
Jackii: Jessica introduced the book to me one day out of the blue! The title attracted me as I was seeking peace from the Lord, so it seemed like the book would be able to help me with that. To be honest, I gave up after reading half way on my own as I had difficulties understanding the concepts. Thus when the book club came about, I excitedly resumed reading the book as I know that I can learn from others’ sharing on the book.
May: I bought the book at the book launch in 2018. But I did not manage to read through until I joined the first TRL book club - it really helps motivate me to read through together and hear others share how the book is helping them.
Choon: The book club! It propelled me to go out and borrow the book from NLB as I am on a no buying books season.
Q2. What did you discover about silence and stillness?
Jessica: They are both important to the wellbeing of our lives (To give us moments of rest, space to think and time to observe and evaluate), but they are different. You can be silent (physically not speaking) but far from being still (since the mind can still be noisy!) Yet you can’t arrive at stillness without going through the entrance of silence.
Katherine : Silence and stillness can be cultivated by anyone if you are persevering, patient and you desire it. The fruits of silence and stillness is a calmer disposition, less haste, greater clarity in decision making and better relationships with others.
Jackii: Silence can help me to be still and it is not a waste of time being in silence.
May: My attendance the past years at Quiet Hour has taught me how to practice solitude, to quieten my soul, grow in self awareness and grow to know God and learn to enjoy time with God. I am inspired after reading the book to journey onwards to silence to go beyond where I am, so as to be still and know God.
Choon: It is easier for me to be silent. I love to be a listener often. But the silence in this book is connected also with stillness. So I can be silent - as in not make noise - but I struggle to be still as my inner space is so noisy and active.
Q3. The book has 3 sections: Be Still, And Know, I AM God. Which of these sections did you find most helpful?
Jessica: I really like section 3 ("I AM God") which reminded me of the wider vision of what Being Still & Practicing Silence is meant to take us towards - the destination of individuals coming TO KNOW what their lives should build towards, and that they are empowered and building towards that future with I AM, GOD, their peace companion.
Jackii: I like section 2 ("And Know") as it enlightens me how being still will help with my spiritual walk in so many aspects.
Jenny: I am drawn most to the segment on Being Still and the perspectives shared by the author which are enlightening and refreshing especially on such an abstract concept and underrated virtue!
May: For me, the first section, Be Still, the author’s personal encounters has helped me to understand the need to prepare myself to enter into silence, to be present to myself, and be present God.
Choon: The session that impacted me dealt with “And Know" - but I was able to join only for 2 sessions.
Katherine: The section “Be Still”. Going into silence is going into an uncharted territory for me and the section was very helpful in uncovering the inner landscapes of silence, such as what it looks like or may look like and how silence helps me to be attentive and focus on God.
Q4. Share something from the reading that you felt is changing the way you see life.
Jessica: In a world where PRODUCTivity is supreme (and I am a productivity trainer at work!), and being vocal, proACTIVE is celebrated, “Wasting” time to BE STILL seems to do ourselves a disservice. But being rested is productive. Being still is being proactive to return to our “rightful attachment. God is our source and destiny. Everything else is grace and gift - for a season, and for a reason.” (page 130). And that’s what I hope I’ll continue to treasure & that others will come to discover.
Jackii: Page 29 “why God can be silent and how we can respond" left a deep impression on me. It opened my eyes to see that God is supreme and He may not respond to my prayers immediately for my own good. I will always remember this when I have my struggles.
Katherine: It is more important to be than to do. To be silent before God entails a posture of humility and waiting for God. God may not always speak when I want Him to but He is there, listening and giving us space, honouring our pain and drawing us inward to Him (p.31)
Jenny: I echo Katherine's sentiments above. I have come to appreciate the fact that being still is not a passive stance or a sedentary mode of existence but it demands a conscious act of the will to DETACH and DEBUNK all earthly attachments and obligations and stand unmerited to receive God's grace.
May: Same sentiment with Katherine and Jenny. Being still is a discipline, a humbling and relinquishing process.
Q5. How was being part of a book club helpful?
Jessica: Hearing different insights and experiences that the book spoke to, helped me appreciate the application of the content in a wider context.
Jackii: The book club helped me to understand the book better from different perspectives and how others interpret and apply the ideas and truths within.
Katherine: To hear different perspectives and understand certain concepts of the book better.
Jenny: Book club exchanges add value to my own reading and offer a focused fellowship that enriches my walk.
May: The book club helps to enrich my learning experience and spur me to walk on this journey to continue to trust God to work through my life.
Choon: To hear from the others’ perspectives and have an avenue to share my thoughts and questions.
Q6. Do you have a favourite line or lesson from the book you think all TRL members should know about?
Jessica: (Page 115) “God alone, who does not threaten, overshadow, usurp or undermine us, is a true peace-companion.”
Jackii: (Page 72) “When we humbly admit our need to be healed from living in fear of pain, of truth and of others; we can begin to listen to ourselves, to others and to God.”
Knowledge → Awareness → Application → Transformation → Fellowship/Discipleship
Katherine: “The most profound experience of God is not an experience or interpretation but a relinquishment.” (p.93)
Jenny: Paradoxes and oxymorons draw me the most so it is with page 92's "In order to know, we have to accept our ignorance."
May: God beckons us to stay, to linger, to keep at it. (page 49)
So there you have it. We hope our sharing gives you a glimpse of how we are unlearning, growing and doing life together in the TRL community, by the simple act of reading and sharing.