Be Still My Soul

The faint whisper of the wind as it winds through the trees. The crackling of leaves under my feet. The feeling of brisk fresh air filling my lungs. The abundant rays of light as they bounce off of and illuminate the vibrant leaves. The sight of never ending rolling mountains.

{Be still my soul.}

picture 1

If I was to try and describe to you what nature and adventure does for me, I would fail. I cannot possibly put into words the life that is breathed into me when I leave it all behind and take refuge in my Father’s creation. Just like He breathed life into Adam and Eve, He breathes life into me every single time I retreat to nature. It is life giving. Joy giving. Peace giving. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite things in life.

A few weeks ago, a group of us did just that — retreat into nature. We set aside a weekend to backpack through a snippet of the Appalachian Trail. {DREAM COME TRUE} To amp up the experience even more, it was prime time of the fall season. I could not take my eyes off of the view (I lost count of the number of times I tripped or fell because I was looking ahead instead of looking at the trail). The words “wow,” “oh my,” and “cool” escaped my mouth more times than they ever have. My jaw dropped at every new twist and bend that revealed yet another spectacular and outstanding sight.

picture 2

With every step I took, I fell deeper in love with my Heavenly Father.

A few times this past semester I have felt like my life was spinning out of control. The seemingly unbearable load of assignments I had to do, the busy schedule that didn’t respect my desire to rest, the emotions of wanting to be home — the culmination of all these things has caused my heart to beat a little faster and my mind to spin a little more. It has caused me to lean toward anxiety rather than peace. Exhaustion rather than exuberance. Fear rather than trust. It has caused my heart to be inclined to be filled with all the emotions the world speaks over me rather than the emotions my Father speaks over me.

It has taken diligence and determination to fight against the natural tendencies of my heart. It has grown my faith and caused me to desire Him even more. It has caused me to force my mind to ignore the frenzied world around me, and rest in the truth that He has set a path before me.

I have discovered that following the path set before me is simply the best way to go whether I am backpacking through the woods or living my day to day life.

Inside of me resides a strong tendency to blaze my own trail. My desire for control and my love for adventure work together to convince me that I have the ability, skills, and knowledge to make my own way. To step off of the path set before me, step into the chaos, and find a better route to go. A more exciting one. A more productive one. One that I can call my own.

But attempting to blaze my own trail has only ever caused me to turn around and remember why I don’t do it — why I don’t blaze my own trail. The adventuring seems fun and fulfilling until I realize the amount of things that are in my way.

Trees. Fallen branches. Holes. Poisonous plants.

Closed doors. Hesitant hearts. Confusion. Fear.

The task is overwhelming. The lack of peace is unbearable. The obstacles are too big. The questions are too many. The pain is too exhausting.

And on the path already set before me there is none of that. The trail is already blazed. My story is already written. The pressure is off, and peace and joy are freely given.

Following the path set before me allows me to stop questioning it all. To stop trying to find all the answers. To stop being the answer. I am no longer the one in control. It is a beautiful thing.

picture 3

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

As much as I love control, the reality of surrendering it all to Him — all my worries and fears, my future, my heart — is the most wonderful gift of all. To give it all up knowing that He will not fail me. That His plan is better than mine. That He will protect my heart. It is beautiful. Peace-giving. Joy-giving. Life-giving.

So there it is. The path set before me. A path full of twists and bends. Full of uncertainty. Surrounded by distractions — both good and bad. A path with cracks, jagged rock edges, and stickers. A path that doesn’t promise to be pristine and flat. A path that won’t always go the direction you expect.

But a path that gets me to my destination. To my Father.

picture 4

The path set before me is the best route. The one I want to take.

When the world clamors for my attention and makes me spin in circles, the path set before me is what I hold onto. I look forward and take one step at a time knowing who walks before me and beside me.

I listen to the wind and leaves. I breathe in the air. I soak in the beauty around me.

I walk beside my Father through His creation and the story He wrote for me.

There is nothing sweeter.

{Be still my soul.}

picture 5


 

About the Author

IMG_5862MORGAN COLANDER

Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a senior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.