“Ask for the ancient paths, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16).
We are often focused on finding new paths. Doing new things, going new places and buying new stuff seems like an endless urge. And that is how the world goes around, but when it comes to finding rest and peace within our soul, why not try some ancient paths? Here are some to try: “O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest” (Psalm 116:17).
If you are anything like me, and just a little bit of a sensitive soul, you notice that your soul sometimes needs rest and nourishment. But how do we find true rest for our souls and our hectic lives, filled with doings, longings and distractions?
We all know the longing to just crash at the end of the day, when duties are done, and just unplug. Or so we think. In fact, most of our unplugging is actually plugging in to some distraction like TV, social media or news reading. While these can be wonderful things, they are not the kind of true rest that our soul needs.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalm 23: 2).
When I read this, I can almost hear the dripping water by a quite stream in the heart of nature. There is nothing like sitting in a garden or park or taking a solitary walk in nature that can restore my soul. In many cultures, meditation, yoga and temporary isolation has for millennia, been an integrated part of life for many. Meditation and prayer train our mind and soul to be at rest, cast off worries and help us connect to ourselves and God. It takes quietness and rest to restore our soul. It takes quietness to feel ourselves, our bodies and emotions and to examine our paths. As the ancient, Socrates so famously said: “The unexamined life is not worth living”: So we do well to free some time for some soul rest and soul search.
Learning from the best. Jesus managed in just a few active years to profoundly change the world in many aspects, and he is by most standards, among the most influential people in history (do a google search to compare). Yet he was never burdened, angry, stressed out or irritated, and he always seemed to have time for others and their needs. Being a Christian means in its original context, to learn from him and follow him so I leave you with his words:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28).