Be still, and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10, NIV
Have you ever been so busy that being still seemed impossible?
If I’m not vigilant to carefully consider those things that I say yes to on a daily basis, time for being still won’t happen.
If you’re like me—a natural caretaker—you may find that most of your days fill up quickly with caring for others.
Caring for others isn’t bad. Actually, it’s very good—but only when we can care for them out of the overflow of what we’ve already received.
When I talk about care, I’m referring to the care that our souls require and need. It’s a kind of care that we can neglect, as the demands of our days often keep us from tending to our inner lives and worlds.
It’s a kind of care that, even as a registered nurse, I neglected for so long and only began to understand and incorporate into my life after I collapsed from severe adrenal exhaustion (almost five years ago now).
This is why I share this with you today: because the health of our souls matter.
No matter who we are or what we’ve been through, we can have healthy souls that will positively affect every area of our lives and leadership.
As Mindy Caliguire, Christian author and director of spiritual formation, has said, “If each of us would take the time to care for our souls, the entire world would be transformed . . . one life at a time.”
This thought came to me back in January as I was preparing for takeoff from the Allentown Airport to Orlando, Florida. As the stewardess informed us of the location and proper usage of our oxygen masks, I was reminded once again how putting on my own oxygen mask was essential before I could help anyone else put on theirs.
Although this makes total sense, how many of us struggle to do this on a daily basis? If I’m not intentional, I can jump into my day giving out oxygen before I receive my own.
As one who has often struggled to create down time in my schedule, I’ve found that I need to be proactive and to think before I say yes, considering whether the commitment I’m about to make will realistically fit into my life and schedule.
In his article “What Is Soul Care and Why Is Soul Care Important?” Stephen W. Smith says, “We wrongly assume that we have to do more; do it better and keep getting caught up in the lists of ‘to-dos.’ But soul care begins with another paradigm. What can you free yourself from to create space for your soul? This is the key question of learning to care for your soul. Less, not more, is the way.”
You see, each of us only has so much mental, physical, and emotional energy to utilize in a twenty-four-hour period. But when we take the time to care for our souls through stillness and solitude, receiving from the One who desires to fill us to overflowing, we won’t be lacking or find ourselves without.
Creating time for stillness in our daily lives is as much as a necessity as getting the proper hydration and nourishment. God knew this, and thus He commanded us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know,” knowing that our human tendency is to keep doing rather than to rest and receive from Him.
As human beings, God has called us to “be,” as the name implies, and in the being we actually become more effective in the doing.
Hannah Whitall Smith, American evangelist and reformer, said so well, “There is immense power in stillness. A knowledge of this fact would immensely change our ways of working. Instead of restless struggles, we would ‘sit down’ inwardly before the Lord, and would let the Divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire. You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only get your spirit still enough to be carried along by the currents of its power.”
I’d like to close with a poem that I penned in my journal as I was contemplating God’s invitation to greater stillness. I pray that it will encourage you to seek the same and to find that no matter what you are going through right now, you can be like the great saint who once said, “All things come to those who know how to trust and be silent.”
In the Stillness
In the stillness, I seek God’s face, and there I find His hand
holding me and giving me grace.
In the stillness, I am drawn to His heart and realize
that He has always been near
even when I felt distanced and apart.
In the stillness, I am no longer the same.
I am changed by His presence;
I am ready to listen and eager to obey.
In the stillness, I am being prepared.
My weary soul is quenched by His life-giving water;
my heart receives His tender care.
Wherever He leads, I will follow.
Wherever He sends, I will go—
shining His light,
sharing His peace,
loving the unlovely,
uplifting the weak,
encouraging the weary,
caring for those in need,
spreading His truth,
being His hands and feet.
Help me, O Lord, to seek the stillness,
to settle my soul there in quiet fellowship with You.
To hear Your voice above all the clatter
and to receive restoration and renewal.
His presence abides and I am deeply blessed.
In the stillness, my soul finds peace and rest.
From my heart to yours,