May 11, 2020
When Your Role Outpaces Your Soul
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"Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5 (CSB)
I flung myself on the couch, completely exhausted both mentally and physically. My observant and concerned husband offered to take our three small children for an overnight stay at his parents' house to give me some relief, and I jumped at the chance. After all, my schedule was full of taxing duties - running a busy household, caring for a baby and toddler, and also attempting to homeschool a kindergartner (and doing a rather poor job of it, I might add).
I surmised that my problem was busyness. I needed a little break, that's all. But a 36-hour stretch of napping and relaxing did not resolve my dilemma. It only made me dread even more when my family would return home, and I'd have to jump back into life, running at breakneck speed.
This wasn't the only time in my life when I experienced such anxiety. As a college student, while taking classes and being heavily involved in student government and other extracurricular activities, I grappled to keep up with everything. As a result, I frequently reached a point where I felt overwhelmed and wanted to run away.
Once I was out of school and pursuing a career, the same feelings of weariness overtook me sometimes, although the circumstances causing them were different.
The truth is, whether chasing a career or chasing the kiddos, caring for a home or for elderly parents, the various roles we have come with responsibilities - responsibilities that can often outpace us, causing us to play a perpetual game of catch-up.
These obligations can siphon the very life from our souls. And the siphoning of our souls is a hard process to stop.
Our key verse, Psalm 62:5, gives a prescription for our weary souls: "Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him."
The original Hebrew word here for rest means "to grow silent or still." This phrase indicates progression. Our souls sometimes enter a state of unrest and must be quieted. The definition of soul here means "a living being, life, self or person." In Hebrew, the soul referred to the seat of a person's passions, appetites and emotions. It is their very inner being.
Psalm 62:5 tells us how to remedy our worn-out souls: "Rest in God alone." The word "alone" has an insightful meaning in the Hebrew. It means "in stark contrast to any other ideas; the only solution that works; the real one rather than a counterfeit."
So, when our souls are siphoned due to the draining duties of our roles, we have a guaranteed remedy. And it isn't a nap or a break from our responsibilities - although those things can play a part. The cure is God, who alone can soothe and satisfy our souls.
When we read, study and even memorize His Word. And make an effort to apply it to our daily lives.
And it happens when we communicate with Him in prayer. More than a quick shopping list of "give-me's" and "bless-them's," but a deep, concentrated time of pouring out our hearts to Him. This is how we find rest for our souls - sacred rest only God can provide.
We ignore our souls at our own peril. We try to medicate them with counterfeit means. But they can find true rest only in God and God alone.
Father, when my roles and responsibilities threaten to tatter my soul, help me find true rest in You alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 11:29, "Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (CSB)
Hebrews 4:9, "So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God." (NLT)
Sometimes it’s easy to forget who we are in Christ. When the world, our circumstances and others threaten to label us as unknown or unloved, we can cling to the Truth of our identity in Christ. You are known and loved, dear friend. Our brand new Known & Loved T-shirt is now available! Based on Psalm 139:1-4, this comfy and stylish tee is a reminder of the gospel for you and everyone around you. Grab yours before they are gone!
For a practical tool to help your soul find rest, grab a copy of Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk's devotional book, Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus.
Today on her Instagram account, Karen's having a conversation about tending to our souls, and she's also giving away three copies of her popular devotional book, Settle My Soul. Join the conversation, and enter to win by clicking here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Would you describe the state of your soul as settled and quieted or weary and worn? What's one action you can take in the next week to seek rest for your soul from God alone? Share your ideas in the comments!
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