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Soul Care Rhythms - Discover Rest in The Unlikely Places

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Uncomfortable Places, Redeeming Places

How do you rest in the unlikely places? The uncomfortable places that we'd rather not enter into, places that seem to confine, places that bring out our vulnerabilities, places that bring out both the gold and dross within us, places that invite us to sit in disorder and uncertainty.

For sure, we can be broken in these places, but we can be redemptively formed in these unlikely places, whereby Jesus transforms our corners into curves, and He meets us with unquestionable grace.

Defining our Terms

Here's what I mean when I say...

Vulnerabilities: An injury or wound prone area.

Rest: To cease striving.

Offer up: To open up oneself to God.

Character development: To reveal and elevate the image of Christ, not the image of self.

Soul forming: The shaping and arranging of one's inner being.

Dark places: Areas of obscurity, uncertainty and limited visibility, life's shadows.

Stages: The distance between two places of rest on a journey.

Journey: A course traveled over a period of time.

Instant Development

In this digital era where we can instantly take a picture, instantly share it and instantly enjoy it, we bypass the whole process and experience of slow image exposure.

Admittedly, I enjoy the benefits of instant access to my photos, but it's another thing to carry over this same hurry-up expectation into our lives. It just doesn't work like that with the human soul. There's no hurry in the healing process.

There's no hurry in the spiritual formation process. It's all worked out in stages. Stages are imperative to notice and understand. Why? Because they're mapping the course (but don't take my word for it, head over to Numbers 33 after you've completed your reading).

Sure, many are no longer film developing, yet, I use this photography parallel because it provides such an impactful reference point for viewing negatives as part of the soul forming and character development process.

The Process of Slow Development in The Dark

The traditional, manual roots of photography are fascinating and instructive. A Simple Guide to Setting Up Your Own Photographic Darkroom, explains the two-part process of exposure and development.

As you consider these two phases, think of them in terms of your spiritual formation: "Exposure is the phase where you get your image onto a print by essentially using light to burn the image details onto a piece of photographic paper. However, after the exposure, the detail is still invisible to the naked eye and bringing it out takes place in the second phase - development." Darkness would seem to be an unlikely and unfit place for rest and transformation to occur, yet, there's enough divine "safelight" present to pierce through the darkness and deeply develop us. We will do well to offer up our image bearing souls to Abba in unwavering trust.

This trust leads us to notice Love's commitment to expose us to His grace, which uses our negatives like images from a film in a darkroom.

It's in recognizing and acknowledging friendship with Jesus that we trust His nature and nurture in the dark places. It's not merely what's happening to us in the dark, but what's happening for us, while in the dark. Whatever is developing for us and within us cannot compare to whatever is agitating us or pressing in on us with flattening weight.

Freedom is Uncomfortable and Disruptive, But It's Unburdening

To experience the wide open, abundant spaces of freedom that we have inherited in our Beloved, Jesus, we'll often encounter uncomfortable, unfamiliar and disruptive places, but Love has made a passageway for His communion to encircle us in His undiminishing comfort and shalom, dosed perfectly for every stage of the journey.


Breathe in that assurance of His encircling muchness. Breathe in the rest that's offered in every stage of your development. It will feel all-consuming, let it form you.

It will feel daunting, let it rearrange your assumptions. Yes, even in the hard to see moments where all you know is interference. Dare to see Love's invitation to know Him in the fellowship of suffering, a suffering that produces an intimate audacity where attachments, entitlements and egos are striped of their security blankets.

Give your soul permission to rest, receive, and relinquish. Your next step on the journey will be accompanied by a supernatural comfort and an unswervingly affectionate Friend who understands just how long it will require for you to remain in the darkroom.

You're enveloped by His safelight of grace and mercy, which develops you according to His wisdom and kindness, not a moment longer than the process requires, so to avoid overdevelopment, and certainly not a moment shorter than the process requires, so to avoid underdevelopment.

In both cases, one clear sign of over- or under-development is a lack of detail in the negative. Jesus is carefully watching for a satisfactory level of development in our being because of who we belong to and who we are becoming. We belong to Abba and we're becoming more like Jesus.

Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.

What does rest currently look like in light of the unlikely place of your personal darkroom?

Are you demanding answers or determining to abide in the safelight of His amazing love and comfort?

What have you noticed thus far about your spiritual formation in the darkroom, whether now or in a previous time in your life?

What light has God's sacred Word provided you in the uncertainty of what will happen around the next bend?

Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.

Watercolor Valentine's Heart

Until next time,

Scribble. Speak. From your soul.


Links for further discovery Subscribe & Listen to my Soul Care Podcasts

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In order to flourish, you must nourish!

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