I haven't slept well lately. Have you ever woke up thinking? Or you lay awake in the middle night, your mind races - it can't seem to slow down. You long to just sleep, but you can't turn off your heart and mind. I just simply have had a lot on my mind and heart lately. I am bent towards anxiety, so I have to remain on guard. God has been faithful to give tools that help me come against this and overcome the battle. His Word and prayer is increasingly becoming the most important tool in my arsenal. This wasn't always the case. It has taken a lot of growth, discipline, and soul and spirit pruning.
There is a quieting of my soul I seek during these anxious times. Sometimes it's days, weeks or even months.
What does it mean to quiet my soul? And what promises do I have from God that He will quiet my soul?
We can see this specific concept - this phrase of resting, waiting quietly in so many different places in His Word.
Quieting is surrendering, a state of living in Him and being with Him.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5
It's silencing the frenzy of our mind and the anxiousness of our soul. It's a place that where we depend and rest. Some translations say my "expectation" comes from Him. This references my salvation, my hope. It's a declaration of faith and belief that I can expect God to provide all I need. (provision, wisdom, rest, direction, strength, etc.) I am not in this alone - even in the small day to day.
Sometimes we are really good at surrendering the big things, because we know we can't handle them. Yet, the small daily frustrations and disappointments - we hold tightly to - thinking that if we change or do this/that then we can settle. We can find peace and rest. While that may be the case, God may call us to take steps of action that helps bring resolve or rest - we first and foremost - must bring it to God in surrender. And we must seek him first always. Time spent in quietness and trust and in His presence will provide more than all of our strategy and planning.
Quieting is a call to contentment and humility.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2
When a child is still nursing for it's sustenance, the child is can often enter a frenzy, impatient and stressed state. The child demands to be fed and satisfied immediately. As the mother begins weaning, this state can get worse as it is beginning to learn to find sustenance from other types of food. Once a child is fully weaned - they begin to find contentment and begin to rest and adjust to the new. You often find the child when still nursing immediately gets antsy or anxious when around it's mom. The baby thinks it needs to eat. Yet, when the child is weaned it can rest more contently with it's mother now that it is being satisfied by stronger foods. Likewise are we with our Father. Either anxious and antsy - demanding our needs be met. Or we are restful and content - more mature - knowing that we don't need the lesser things of this world - that God will supply the more mature milk (food). Matthew Henry explains it like this...
Our hearts are desirous of worldly things, cry for them, and are fond of them, but by the grace of God, a soul that is made holy is weaned from these things. The child is cross and fretful while in the weaning, but in a day or two it cares no longer for milk and it can bear stronger food. Thus does a converted soul quiet itself under the loss of what it loved, and disappointments in what it hoped for, and is easy whatever happens.
A weaned child, a child weaned from this world is content with the Father and trusts His sovereign plan and purposes, His daily grace and provision. I have calmed and composed myself. I rest contently, confidently trusting - not in my own ability to provide - but in God's faithful and trustworthy character.
Quieting occurs in a repentant heart.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
The quieting in this passage refers to what God would do for Israel when their sin would cease and God would bring restoration.
When sin is acknowledge and is removed - when the strongholds are broken - we can rest fully in His love. He rejoices over us, He finds pleasure in our obedience. And as a result, we have joy and peace. Our sin (inner or external) create hardship for us. Once removed, the struggle ceases and we rest in Him. This speaks of God's undying, ever gracious love. It declares of His mighty power to save - to bring restoration.
Quieting is a call to hope.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:26
Why are you cast down my soul, why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God. Psalm 42 & 43
The passage of Lamentations also, in some translations, says to "hope and wait quietly".
The quieting of our soul calls us to trust. It calls us to hope in God who is faithful to bring peace, salvation, wisdom - whatever we need! He always provides!
This quieting of our souls - the stilling of an anxious heart is a process. In summary, to begin allow God to begin to quiet our souls, we can:
- Take inventory. Why is our soul disturbed? Why are we anxious and disquieted? Is there sin, are there disappointments, hurt of some kind, or sorrow? What is happening inside to cause this inner frenzy? Or what, in my behavior, am I doing to encourage a fretful and anxious state? Seek him, seek his face - and begin to surrender.
- We deal with it. Submit, surrender, release. Receive His grace, His love, and His forgiveness. This only occurs when we enter His sanctuary. We pray. We worship. We again surrender.
- Move forward - like a child weaned from it's mother, grow and graduate to more solid sustenance. Find contentment - not in this world - but in Him alone. We feast on His Word and His presence. We are guided not by our understanding, but by prayer and God granted wisdom.
- We rest and we trust. We receive His wisdom. We are filled with His love. And we hold fast to hope.
Is your heart and soul anxious within you? What can you do today to find rest and quiet in Him?