Recently I have been considering Psalm 131 and the ideal of having a quiet and calm soul in God’s presence. This has been on my mind as I observe within myself how fragmented and distracted my thoughts are generally, and in particular with regard to encountering God.
Underlying this is a desire is to find some way to quickly focus my heart upon God and worshiping Him and have it stay there for more than two minutes. Such an idea smacks of pop psychology and being a quick fix of superficial nature. However, I do think there are some things I can do to calm my soul:
- I find that physical activity which requires no thought or interaction with others is helpful – walking the dogs, washing dishes, mowing lawns, stacking firewood. Being active seems to get my thoughts moving and allows the freedom to just let them flow where they will, which in turn helps me to unwind.
- Thinking beyond today, this week, this month. It can be difficult when worries and stresses are crowding in, yet is refreshing because it puts busy, urgent concerns into a fuller perspective.
To lift these ideas beyond simply being mind games the subject of my thinking needs to be considered. Positive thinking alone is placing hope in human nature and is sinful. Psalm 131:3 exhorts us to hope in the Lord.
If you are a Christian you probably will have had experiences in which you were so gripped by the truth of who Jesus is that you would happily have left anything and everything to answer his call of “follow me” (Matthew 4:18-22). Just as we first come to be Christians by trusting in Jesus for everything, so we can restore our fellowship with God by trusting anew in him for all our hope.
The calm and quiet soul is hoping in Jesus Christ for everything – today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and in the next world. To be like a weaned child in God’s arms I need to know deep in my soul that being in His arms is truly the only thing that matters (Philippians 3:12-14).