How to Have a Calm and Quiet Soul

By Mark D. Roberts

January 18, 2019

My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

Psalm 131:1-2


When I was a young child, I suffered from terrible nightmares. Every couple of months, I’d cry out in my sleep. My parents would rush in to comfort me, but they’d have a difficult time waking me up. Finally, their efforts would be successful, and I’d begin to calm down. Usually, at this point, my dad would return to bed and my mother would rock me to sleep. I can vividly remember the feeling of being safe in her arms, protected from the terrors that had filled my sleep.

Three boys running in a field.Psalm 131 uses such an image to convey what it’s like to have a calm and quiet soul. David, who wrote this psalm, learned not to concern himself with matters that were too great for him to grasp. Rather, he humbled himself as a child in a mother’s lap: “I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother” (131:2). The image conveys not a solitary child making himself feel better but rather a young child who is comforted and reassured in the lap of his mother.

How tempting it is for us to concern ourselves with matters that are too great for us, with needs and problems that exceed our grasp. We can try to run the world, or at least our part of it, as if we had the authority and ability to do so. The result of such presumption is a sense of worry and frustration. How much better it would be if we learned from David how to humble ourselves and find rest in the lap of our God who comforts us like a loving mother with her young child. From that place of safety, security, and love, we will find the strength and wisdom to do our part in the world, serving the only One who actually has the power and right to run the world.

Something to Think About:

When are you tempted to concern yourself with matters that are too great for you?

What helps you to be humble and quiet in the “lap” of God?

Something to Do:

Set aside several minutes today for quiet reflection. Let Psalm 131:2 inspire you and fill your imagination. As you are in God’s presence, allow yourself to be like a calmed and quiet child in the lap of its mother.


God, you know how easy it is for me to have a proud heart, to feel as if I need to take charge for that which is not my responsibility. I have a tendency to take upon myself that which is rightly yours, as if it were my job. Forgive me for my arrogance and folly.

Help me, dear Lord, to humble myself as a young child, to know the safety of your embrace, even as I once experienced the safety of my mother’s lap. May I trust you, release myself to you, lean back into your loving strength.

Thank you, gracious God, for being so present to me, so faithful, so strong when I need you. Amen.


Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
The High Calling of Humility

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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