It was one of those nights. After sleeping a few hours I found myself staring at the ceiling wide awake. I began my mid-night practices of listening and receiving from God, singing songs with meaningful lyrics in the quietness of my heart, and clasping my hands together envisioning them enveloped by Jesus.
As I lay in this quiet space I heard the gentle clicking noise of Joy, our almost 13 year-old dog, walking on the wood floor. I listened as she meandered from room to room, eventually navigating the stairs to the upper rooms. She seemed unsettled. I arose, found her curled up on the couch in the TV room, and then returned to my sleepless space with God. Shortly thereafter, I overheard Joy coming down the padded stairs, head to her dish for a drink of water, and eventually settle down in her dog bed near the door of our bedroom. Apparently, both Joy and I struggled to settle on this quiet night.
Settle – Adopt a more steady or secure style of life, begin to feel comfortable or established, become or make calmer or quieter, sit, or come to rest in a comfortable position, move or adjust (something) so that it rests securely.
Often when I open a soul care session with prayer, I ask the Lord to settle the soul of both my soul and the soul of the one with whom I am meeting. I notice that when we slow down and pause in the midst of living very full lives, silence offers sanctuary to the soul. God meets us and settles our very being in His presence. Comfort, security, and peace descend as we settle our souls with the Creator of our souls.
When have you experienced an unsettled soul?
Unsettled souls arise from a multitude of reasons.
- Perhaps a wayward child or the health of aging parents raises concern?
- Maybe the demands from work seem overwhelming and unattainable to accomplish?
- Might health issues for loved ones as well as those around the world cause dissonance within us?
- Could it be that longing for friendship and community gnaw inside your heart as needs feel unmet?
- Perchance experiences with God seem dry, empty, and maybe even silent inducing a disquieted soul?
- Or, possibly, transitions and change create upheaval in life with a lack of harmony?
Reflect on what causes your soul to not feel settled.
God attends to our cries. He hears our pleas. He may not remove the pain, struggle, or toil, and yet, His very character demands that He remain present with us in both the settled and unsettled moments of life. He is near. I love how the Psalmist speaks of God: “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near” (Psalm 75:1) The author of Hebrews recounts the ever-present nature of God by echoing Joshua 1:5 and declaring the promise of God’s presence with us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
How does the nearness of God impact your unsettled soul?
This month I have enjoyed reading and meditating upon the Psalm for each day of the month. I notice God’s presence through the truths of Scripture. I learn more about the character of God as I become aware of the ways He cared for others. From Psalm 27 I glean much about God: I embrace that God provides safety and hears the exclamations of humankind. The Lord receives us, teaches us His ways, and leads us upon a straight path. And, God is our shield and He provides strength, courage, and peace. What a great God we love and serve, and these are just a few truths that arose from one Psalm.
I love the imagery of Psalm 131. The Psalmist declares that he has been calmed and quieted like a weaned child with its mother. He is content with a settled soul. How did the writer of this Psalm settle his soul? He “did not concern [himself] with great matters or things too wonderful for [him] to understand” (verse 1). This soul experienced the soul-settling of God by releasing control and placing hope and trust in the Lord alone. As we trust and hope in God, our soul knows the settled peace of God.
Temporary settling solutions like numbing out to TV, radio, social media, shopping, gaming, or consuming inordinate amounts of food or alcohol fail to satisfy, calm, or quiet the soul. Instead, God alone truly settles the soul.
I participate in a few practices that help me engage with God as He settles my heart and mind upon Him. Silence is key. Set the timer for a few minutes of being still in God’s presence, or if it’s the middle of the night, just embrace the serenity. Slow and still before Him. A simple prayer like; “I sit in silence with you, O Lord” may lead you into the quiet space with God. After the silence, share with God any concerns or confusions rummaging through your mind. Bring them before Him without analysis. Then, receive; ask God: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Allow Scripture and song to flood your mind while asking the Spirit to lead these holy vessels to settle your soul with your Savior.
What practices will you employ when you sense your soul is not settled?
May the Prince of Peace settle your soul as you place your faith, hope, and trust in Him. Revel in the nearness of God in all of life’s circumstances allowing His comfort, security, and presence to quiet all matters too great to understand. He understands them, that is what matters. God loves you.
Sink into stillness with God and let silence become a sanctuary to settle your soul with Him.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Psalm 27:1-2 – The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 131 – My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Ruth Haley Barton. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence. Downers Grove, IL. 2010.
Judah Smith. How’s Your Soul?: Why Everything that Matters Starts with the Inside You. Nashville, TN. 2018.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Laura Story. Perfect Peace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kj8pzDLcc8
Kristene DiMarco. Be Still. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhGUXJGMrOI