Hello Reader! Soul. Rest. That sounds like a rest for the deepest part of me. I like that idea. What could your day look like if you lived it from a rested soul?
I have been known to try to find a moment of rest in a cup of hot tea while I push back from the laptop and gaze out the window. However, at those moments I still long for the “soul rest” I’ve read about and experienced before. Gratefully, soul rest is not just an idea but a reality for me, you, and all of us really.
Two Secrets Shared
“To refer to someone’s soul is to say something about the ultimate depths of his or her beings. Consider Jesus’ teaching that it does not profit one to gain the whole world and lose his own soul (Matthew 16:26). The psalmist said, my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).” Dallas Willard continues to reflect in Renovation of the Heart on how “these and many other passages make it clear that the soul is a basic level of life in the individual.”
Often we can dimly discern our own soul’s condition beyond being “saved and safe”, but we have trouble articulating those conditions at a level required for reflection and discussion. Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to help it rest.
One secret to soul rest might surprise you. This secret, which involves releasing our attempts at self-suffiency, is humility. Humility is a secret to soul rest because it does not presume to secure outcomes. This can be a tough one.
For me to experience this soul rest means getting to know the God who made me as someone who is trustworthy, brilliant, and faithful to me. If I am to release my attempts at self-suffiency, which block my closeness with God, I need to know He’s on it, working for me and is developing the best for me. So the dreams and vision in my heart need God’s help to see the next steps to live a life that supports the dreams and vision within me.
It seems this secret is experienced ongoing with each life stage. We learn to rest in this life as he gives it to us. While resting in God, we can be free of all anxiety, which means deep soul rest.
The second secret to soul rest might annoy you. This secret, which involves confrontation, is silence. “Nothing in Western culture supports the practice of silence. We are about achievement, experiences and productivity. And silence before God simply appears so…unproductive.”-Peter Scazzero in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
Silence involves confrontation because it forces us to face our addiction to being in control and brings us face to face with distractions of all sorts. We are distracted by the un-met needs within us and around us. Our souls find it easier and initially more comfortable to binge watch a show or tune into a FB feed rather than pause in silence. Our silence can be deafening without a distraction. I get it. After practicing silence for a few years now I must agree that few spiritual practices are more transformative and important.
Still want that soul rest? Just go for it. Here are 2 application practices:
- Try this humility experiment. Say this prayer and then grab your phone: “God I want to simply rest in this life as you give it to me but I don’t know how. Show me how to be at peace, how to pause during each day with you. Help me to look to you and exclaim, surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Show me how to see my life through the adventurously expectant lens you have.”Now grab your phone and call one of your closest friends. Share with them what you prayed and ask them to pray this for you too.
- Guidelines for Silence and Stillness (from emotionallyhealthy.org): Sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to help you settle into silence. Choose a very simple prayer to express your openness and desire for God. (e.g. Abba, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Here I am, Come Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus have mercy on me) Offer this prayer to Jesus. When you become distracted, offer again your simple prayer back to God. Is this difficult? Absolutely, especially in the first week or so. But it gradually becomes second nature. The practice of silence is very simple. The problem is you can’t just talk about it. You must do it. So don’t worry about whether you are doing it “correctly.” This is about relationship.
Go ahead and grab a cup of tea as you bravely practice one or both of these secrets. Truly they are not so secret. We just don’t like to talk about them because they are counter-culture.
Can you imagine though how your days could be different if your soul was rested? What inspiration could come! What hope could be maintained! What relationships could be made better!
I’m in it with you!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from pinterest and graphic created on canva.com