Soul calming

November 12th, 2015

The sign read, “Traffic Calming Ahead.” I had never seen a sign like that, so I wondered what was awaiting us around the corner as we neared the KOA campground we were going to stay in for the next few days.

When we came to the spot that the sign was describing, it was a speed bump. That little raised portion of the street designed to cause you to slow down going over it — or — jar loose all your dental fillings if you ignore it.

I have been over many speed bumps in my lifetime, but for some reason this one became a spiritual formation metaphor for me: “Traffic Calming Ahead.”

I believe God puts “traffic calming” places in our souls — places intended to slow our pace and calm our spirit. God knows our tendency to go full-steam ahead in our 24/7 world where, by definition, too much is asked of us and thrown at us.

So, God tells us there are “Soul Calming Ahead” moments, and like the speed bumps we can honor them or experience the spiritual jarring effect that jolts us without calming us. We can race through the soul-bumps and have nothing to show for it but an anxious spirit — worried and troubled about too many things.

Each day has “Soul Calming Ahead” moments provided by nature: sunrise/sunset, leaves moving in the breeze, birds flying in formation, squirrels playing outside our window. Fall is full of such moments. In addition, there are spiritual disciplines which help us calm down: silence, solitude and simplicity. “Soul Calming Ahead.”

Long ago, David described it this way, “I have calmed and quieted, my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast” (Psalm 131:2). 

“Soul Calming Ahead.”

Slow down.

Steve Harper is the author of “For the Sake of the Bride” and “Five Marks of a Methodist.” He blogs at Oboedire.

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