The words “it is well, it is well with my soul” were written into song in 1873; and as the story goes, it was written as a man sailed over the area where his four daughters had recently drowned.
I don’t know about you, but often when I sing this hymn, my mind goes to the challenges I’m currently facing, seeking to find peace within those challenges. But Stephen & I began talking last night of how limiting this is. Finding peace amongst sorrows seems to still be a battle, a struggle, an effort. But what if its simply peace; simply a soul. Resting.
In staff meeting last week we were discussing Psalm 46:10 and what actually is to “be still”. Is it physical? Mental? Spiritual? To me, it connected to Psalm 23, “He leads me beside still waters.” And still waters, to me, mean they aren’t going anywhere. There isn’t a goal or aim; they just are.
These are similar to me. A soul–still, resting, peaceful. It just is.
I often find myself really wanting everyone pleased with me. I want them to agree with what I do or support me. My sister often tells me to just let this go, but I haven’t found it that simple yet. Too often wanting someone to be pleased with the way I’m doing things leads into criticism of others, defensiveness, or judgment.
It seems its been happening more recently: both with relationships here in Mae Sot and on the other side of the world. I place far to much energy and effort into presenting myself well and defending every step I take while criticizing the person next to me doing it all differently.
I’ve been praying through these things for quite some time.
Sometimes its praying for grace and patience with situations I disagree with; sometimes its praying for specific people or offenses. Sometimes its just praying for one meeting, that for just that moment in time I won’t be defensive; that I don’t have to be understood; that I don’t need approval.
This will probably continue, well, always.
But, as I laid in bed the other night, the words to “It is well” played through my head.
And my soul rested.
It didn’t matter–for that moment–what anyone else thought. I was at peace with myself. With how I spent time, with how I spent money, with how I spent words; with mistakes that were made as well as efforts. I could go to sleep with my life and how I lived; I could rest.
And to me, that was far deeper rest than a struggle to find the peaceful attributes in the challenges around me; another way of simply looking for the fingerprints of God in the challenges. Instead, it was a holistically peaceful moment for my soul; it was meeting with God to simply be.