I had a hard time falling asleep and woke up being hard on myself. As I ate my breakfast, I was surrounded by my worries. Instead of songs of deliverance surrounding me like the Psalmist wrote about, my mind was filled with a noisy parade of troubling thoughts — regrets over what I wasn’t doing well, relationships that had turned hurtful, and indecisions tearing at my soul.
Why was I thinking about things I had no control over? I lectured myself. Stop worrying! What’s wrong with you?
I was beating myself up, and it wasn’t even 10 a.m. I prayed and read Scripture, but my heart didn’t feel right.
I tried to forget my troubles by getting things done and going through my checklist. On the outside, all was good, but being hard on myself to get over it wasn’t what I needed. I’ve learned through my journey of healing through depression and anxiety that what my heart needed was God’s kindness and gentleness. What restores our souls are His whispers of rest.
The world teaches us to deal with troubled hearts by networking with people of influence to cover up our insecurities or by accomplishing goals so our weaknesses don’t get the better of us. But God’s way of restoring the soul is very quiet: real experiences of beauty, gentleness, and kindness. We need to take time to take care of our emotional needs in ways that uniquely restore and refresh us. We all need soul care.
Later in the afternoon, I drove out to my favorite trail and stood quietly by the creek, listening as the water bubbled over the pebbles. Without any words, I felt God’s gentle love hold my heart. My soul exhaled, and as the sun warmed my heart again, I heard God tenderly whisper, “It’s okay. I understand.”
God understands you. He understands me. Whatever you’re going through, Jesus whispers, “You’re never too much for me.” Jesus draws you closer to love you.
It was in this quiet place of beauty that my heart opened up, and I shared my honest feelings with God — not to solve them but to confide in Him. Beauty in nature does that for me. It soothes me and gives me permission to know it’s okay not to be okay.
It was only there by the creek, only after I took the steps to enjoy something beautiful to refresh me, that my heart experienced God’s songs of deliverance.
What helps you experience beauty and God’s gentleness? Is it music, painting, a walk among the trees, or something else? You can reduce stress and recover better from daily stress by simply taking a walk down a tree-lined street with God. One Glasgow University study found the positive effects of walking in a park or a trail for people suffering from depression and anxiety was twice as good as a trip to the gym for mental well-being!
Many times, we try to lecture ourselves out of a tough situation, but God’s gentle voice is always found in places of quiet beauty and intimacy.
Gentleness is a quality that God has an unending supply of to water your soul and nurture you through tough hours, and soul care — taking actions that nurture your spirit — connects you to God’s gentleness. His gentleness shows us that His presence is near and reminds us that we are precious, beloved, and valued.
Your right hand upholds me. Your gentleness makes me great.
Psalm 18:35 (NASB)
God longs to hold your hand, but for faith to blossom, you must sow that seed of faith by taking action to experience God’s gentleness. Don’t wait for others to give it to you. Start practicing soul care as your personal act of faith.
How is your heart feeling? Are you being hard on yourself today? Close your eyes, open your heart. See the love in God’s eyes. Hear God whisper:
You don’t have to hurry ahead
when I’m right here with you.
Nothing can separate you from My love.
Not even your worries.
I love you irrevocably.
You are my treasure.
Prioritize your emotional well-being. Don’t be too busy to let God love you. My journey to heal from anxiety and depression has taught me each of us can de-stress and find beauty again by practicing simple soul care with God, no matter what we’re going through.
So be gentle with yourself because God’s love is gentle.