Psalm 16: A Remedy for Soul Weary Days

Are you tired? Are you worn out?

God’s guidance continues to challenge me to dismantle the influence of hustle culture on my life.  For decades I’ve been immersed in the need to do more, work harder, and keep going. My type A personality struggles to avoid the trap that hems me in on all sides with chaos of competing calls to never stop. I will never arrive or complete what is most essential according to the world. Choosing the narrow way, and daily exposure to God’s directive for time management realigns my priorities.

The second half of Psalm 16 gives special direction for finding a place of refuge that refuels me on my journey. The ever forward motion can cease when I pause and rest with God. (See last week’s blog post for the first half of Psalm 16 https://antheakotlan.com/2021/06/02/psalm-16-gods-prescription-for-rest/.)

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

When the dark of the night surrounds me it is easy to become disoriented and discouraged. How often has sleep been stolen by anxiety’s grip in the middle of the night, pulling back the covers and causing fears to loom larger? The worst dilemma is not facing a difficult decision, but it is actually the lack of clarity. In the night God will show up and give guidance. Perhaps it is in the night, when I finally get still, I can hear His voice above the hustle of this world.   

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.

10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

My rest is even found in celebrating in the security of my now and not yet. In a world full of anxiety and threats, I can rest assured in soul security found only in the Lord. I can know my eternal soul is safe forever in the company of God.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

True soul tending rest delivers gladness and thankfulness. I know where I am going with God. He will never leave me or forsake me. He has revealed a way to live in His presence, and I can escape an exhausting cycle of second guessing, criticizing myself, and striving to do more and more. The joy found in the presence of God is soul sustaining for the ongoing journey of life this side of heaven.

Lord, teach me to take time away with you to restore my soul in the rest. I choose to listen to the faithful counsel of your word and sit with you and rejoice. All I need is right here with you. Amen.

How do you find rest?

Psalm 16: God’s Prescription for Rest

I am comfortable living in hustle culture. The work harder, do more, don’t give up message ricochets through my mind every single day on repeat. God’s call to rest is not easy for me for me to answer. I love to check things off a list, track my steps, and multi-task.

Psalm 16 is a prayer that provides God’s instructions for rest because the creator of the universe, and the maker of me, knows my design capacity. He knows the lure and seductive nature of hustle culture and the lies it tells. He offers a counter narrative.

1Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

Notice the verb, take. I must actively take the refuge God offers. This offer of refuge is much like a prescription given to me by a medical doctor. It must be taken daily to be effective. Refuge will not come upon me unless I choose it, plan for it, and seek it.  I might have to give up other activities in order to slip away to the place of refuge. I will never arrive there on autopilot.

Do I really believe, “I have no good apart from you”? There’s a song that I remember singing. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel) When I do focus entirely on Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, everything, everyone, every screaming deadline, and item on the to do list fades away. I discover the reality of what is truly important…only things of an eternal nature.

I spend entirely too much of my time being distracted. All in the name of efficient multi-tasking, I often do many things at one time. However, when I come fully into God’s presence, and unplug from the noise of this world, I can take refuge in Him. Refuge is a place set apart to be alone with God and soak in His presence. In that quiet time, I gain clarity on my priorities.

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.

God designed me to serve and worship him in a faith community. Even in a time of Covid, I have to find ways to connect and not become isolated. There is rest found in the gathering together with God’s people. I need others to lift me up in prayer, teach me, challenge me, and keep me accountable. Just as I would do those things for other members of the body. Attempting to follow God on my own is exhausting and leaves no margin for rest. God calls me to find delight in community.

Just as I seek community with a like-minded people of faith, I also need to be wary of those who “run after another god.” Some of the nicest people you could ever meet, might not be seeking Jesus. I must be discerning in how I spend time with unbelievers. Time spent with unbelievers can be draining. While I am called to be a witness to a watching world, I am also called to guard what I take into my life.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

A grateful heart finds satisfaction in listing all that God has provided. Do I allow myself to buy into the world’s idea of scarcity, or do I see the way the LORD has provided my portion, my cup, my lot and my beautiful inheritance? God has given me everything I could ever need for now and for eternity. Will I consider a soul tending reset?

How do you find rest when you are busy? Do you ever get caught up in hustle culture?

Next week, I will unpack the rest of Psalm 16 as a prescription for rest. There are five more verses that are rich with clear direction regarding finding rest in the land of hustle.

Lord, help me to see how I can intentionally seek rest in you. Help take that time away with you and guard my mind when I do. Help me to escape the “do more” lure. Draw me into the shelter of your surrounding presence. Amen