“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
– David (The Songwriter: Psalms 46:10)
cultivate \ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt\ : to grow or raise (something) under conditions that you can control.
A few days ago, I wrote about all the noise that goes on in the world. There is a lot of it and, without a doubt it snuffs out the life that I believe God wants to really infuse into my soul.
But I’m stuck.
Life is so busy right now, there is so much to be done, there are so many needs that have to be taken care of, and there is so much chatter happening in the world around me that I can’t seem to find ways to shut off the noise.
Today’s post comes in the midst of an inability that I’m feeling to be able to turn off the noise and work on my soul.
Do you ever feel this? Are your spiritual desires ever dried up and in need of some fresh spiritual water to help you move forward?
Today I want to be brutally honest with you about the work that must take place to get yourself in a place where you can actually be quiet and un-distracted. I’m writing this for me as much as I am for you today. Maybe together we can link hands and jump into this work of cultivating. Let’s get started.
Getting your soul quiet requires a significant amount of discipline and work. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of you faith. Jesus was very clear that following him would require a cross. What we know about crosses was that they weren’t desirable pieces of jewelry as they are today.
Moving your heart into the space where it is tender and open, tilled up and raw under the influence of the Son… this is going to require cultivation. Today I have four ways you can cultivate your soul towards a quiet posture.
- Establish a spiritual core. In the world of physical exercise, there is an understanding that you must develop a strong core, or middle. The strength of your body as a whole will be solidified if you can develop a strong core. Energy for your extremities radiates from your core. Establish a strong core, and you’ll develop a strong body. The same goes for the work you must do for your spirit. You must understand that you are not a body with a soul, but you are a soul with a body. This fundamental shift in your thinking will help you see how everything is connected, both body and soul.
- Create margin in your life. This is more difficult than it sounds. It requires discipline. Cultivation of a garden or some kind of plant or tree is hard work. It requires daily going back to feed and care for your soul. This requires time. Margin. If you’ve ever looked at a piece of paper that has no margins, then you know what I mean. It’s too busy. There has to be space made to work out what you can see, to make things more readable. Your life desperately needs margin. Sit down and carve out time to cultivate your soul. Get up at 5am. Use your lunch hour for quiet time. Do something that gives you time to daily feed your soul.
- Pause. On your radio, on your DVD player, and even on some of your televisions now you can hit the “pause” button. Multiple times in the Bible, we read that Jesus went away to have a quiet time and be with His Father. I don’t think this was just for show. I believe these were times where Jesus poured out his heart to God. I’m sure there were tears, there was writhing, there was discomfort. He knew the world that He was up against. He saw the enemy face to face behind the eyes of the possessed. He watched the world in decay around him. And He knew He needed to stay in close contact with His Father. Everything that he did was preceded by times of quiet before His Father. . He discovered who He was in the presence of His Father, which required hitting “pause” and getting away for times of isolation and intimacy with God. If Jesus needed this, then we must see that it is necessary for us as well.
- Explore your passion. I’m not saying follow your passion. But rediscover and explore it. Don’t let it guide you, you guide it. Be an active pursuer of that which brings you to life. From the inner places where you establish a spiritual core and create margin to be able to develop a quiet soul, go and explore your passion. There is something that makes you tick. Something that gets you motivated and off your rump to get out and explore. Is it being outside? Is it art? Is it songwriting? Is it making money? Is it telling good stories? Is it leading people? Is it speaking and communicating? Is it serving people? Is it writing? Is it researching? Is it building? What is it? Discover your passion and then have the courage to go and explore it. Lead yourself well.
These are a few ways to cultivate a quiet soul. Your heart yearns to be set free. It desires to hear the Maker’s voice and find the Maker’s calling. Cultivation is difficult work. It requires blood, sweat, and tears to make it work. But in the end, it is worth every ounce of energy you put into it.
How do you cultivate your soul? In what ways have you found a better way to develop your spiritual core? Offer your thoughts in the comments below.