Be Still My Soul   4 comments

The truth is that my soul asks for very little.  It mostly just needs to be heard and affirmed.  It is sad that I have spent my life denying it this small benefit, that my automatic response is still to shame it into compliance.  My Lenten fast from haste has inclined me to be gentle with my soul, and with the support of my wife, it seems to be making a real difference.  I think I may make this my year’s resolution, “be gentle to your soul, listen to it and affirm it.”

This afternoon with many tasks pressing for attention, my soul said, “I need a little care.”  So I left the tasks aside and followed my heart.  After an hour with a soft puppy, a soft pillow, soft music, and gliding birds on our wide-screen, my spirit relaxed and set me free to be “productive” without choosing against my own needs.  Forcing my soul to comply to the demands of duty tears at its very fabric.  My soul is far more important than the leaky faucet, dirty living room, or ragged lawn.


My heart is even more important (dare I say it?) than satisfying others with birthday gifts, a lift to the airport, or help painting.  If I wound my soul by caring for someone else, I not only harm myself, but prevent God from using alternative means to meet that need (or get in God’s way of teaching them an even greater truth).  My giving to others must come from genuine resources that I have to offer.  If it is squeezed from me by obligation, fear, shame, or the like, it will hurt both me and the one I am intending to help.  Giving sacrificially is a part of genuine love, even to the point of giving my life for another.  But God forbids me to sacrifice my soul.

This year I really need to give up my role as Savior of the world… or even of this particular situation or person.  I need to learn to trust God with others’ needs and respect myself even if others blame me, reject me, or try to otherwise manipulate me to meet their expectations.   That is a very tough thing to do without strong human backing, especially since my emotions are quick to agree with their evaluations.  Thankfully, I always have Kimberly’s support (not on every occasion, but always in the set of her heart towards me… I think she is more supportive of me than I am of myself).

If I feel pressured by the expectations of others, I will try not to protect myself by minimizing their need (shaming or blaming them in return).  Their need is legitimate and significant whether or not I can meet it.  Caring about their need does not mean I must care for their need.  What a heavy yoke I have been dragging around most of my life.  In spite of how I imagined it, Jesus did not say, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you more to do,” but he said to the weary, “I will give you rest.”


Posted March 16, 2012 by janathangrace in thoughts

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4 responses to “Be Still My Soul

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  1. excellent thoughts! As a divorcee, I have found that there is much need to listen to this heart need, for nurturing and rest, restorative time with Jesus, and to drink quietly of His love and care. Sometimes this means just sitting. and sometimes this means, for me, a walk, listening to soothing music, doing a puzzle or reading some simply distracting things….letting myself be with myself, quietly. After years of battered emotions, I need soothing and calm. I need peace and an atmosphere of acceptance….a refuge and fortress both at once.

  2. Lydia, Yes! Don’t we all need that! May we all find that refuge in some small corner of this troubled world.

  3. Thank you for writing this. It seems to me that in our culture which exalts productivity over all, it is easy for us as Christians to serve out of guilt or obligation rather than out of the outflow of God’s love and the fullness of the Spirit in our lives. In my experience, that love and fullness comes when we live with a good balance of work and rest and spirit/soul care which for me means lots of time with Jesus- reading, praying, worshipping, running, petting my dog and cats, and time spent with those significant people whom He has given me.

  4. Good to hear from you Rachel. And thanks for the comment. You say it very well “the outflow of God’s love and the fullness of the Spirit.”

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