The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient. It knows how to survive in hard places. But it is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush. If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently by the base of the tree, and fade into our surroundings, the wild animal we seek might put in an appearance.
Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness
Choose a comfortable space where you can experience at least five minutes of silence. As you settle into your space, take several deep, slow breaths. Consciously relax your muscles from your neck and shoulders all the way down to your feet.
Picture the many versions of yourself on display this week. Think about the “you” walking into work each day. Who are you trying to be? What image do you hope to project? Think about the “you” your friends, peers, and coworkers see. Think about the “you” only your family sees, for better or worse.
Now close your eyes and keep taking slow, steady breaths. One by one, imagine stripping away each of these personas and laying them aside. You are not defined by your success or failure, by those who love you or hate you. Continue peeling away every false identity until you sense the “real you” resting in the presence of the real God.
How do you feel? What does your soul have to say?
As thoughts and emotions surface, resist the urge to “correct” or judge yourself. Like the wild animal Parker Palmer describes above, your soul is putting in an appearance. Don’t scare it away. Just listen.
Jesus can handle whatever your soul has to say. There is no desire He can’t fulfill, no pain too deep for Him to bear. Allow yourself to sit in this moment with Him. Feel His love and deep acceptance. There is no need to analyze or fix yourself – no work to be done, no pressure to perform.
Sit in His presence as long as you like, then rise in peace. The One who called you is faithful, and He will finish the work He has begun (Philippians 1:6).