The wonder of calm, gentle self-awareness ∙

The wonder of calm, gentle self-awareness

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29

Psalms 131:1-2

 1 O LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.

 2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

What is Self-Image?

Self-image concerns how we see ourselves both internally and externally. Self-image is how a person feels about their personality, achievements, and value to society. It includes “the idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself” (Random House Dictionary).

“Self-image is how you perceive yourself. It is a number of self-impressions that have built up over time . . .. These self-images can be very positive, giving a person confidence in their thoughts and actions, or negative, making a person doubtful of their capabilities and ideas” (The Mountain State Centers for Independent Living).

In a nutshell, self-image is essentially what you see in the mirror and how you think of yourself.

Self-concept is a more all-embracing concept than self-image; it involves how you see yourself, how you think about yourself, and how you feel about yourself. Self-image is a component that makes up self-concept (McLeod, 2008).

David has achieved a new inner reality deep within his soul and spirit. He joyfully proclaims what has been accomplished due to his close walk with the Father, the living God. Humility is knowing both your strengths and weaknesses and acknowledging them. He has defeated his inner foes of pride and arrogance. David’s hubris and haughtiness have been vanquished.

The battle had been long and arduous. A new calmness and Father-centered self-confidence have overcome his former sense of excessively lofty self-importance. David has become humble and gentle. His soul is at rest. David reviews the extremely difficult issues that he has overcome, as a result of the transformation the Father has wrought in the inmost core of his being. David had the wonderful and delightful experience of the result of complete submission to the Father. This is something that every child of the King craves deep within their soul.

How can we follow after him? The Lord Jesus Christ has shown us the way.

Matthew 11:28-30

 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

As we weary of our struggles and experience the dark night of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ makes a tremendous offer. Because He is humble and gentle and dwells in perfect peace, we too can enter into His rest. We come to Him and throw off our burdens which are heavy. He comes alongside us and offers to be fellow yoked with us. He takes upon Himself the majority of the weight we will carry for the rest of our lives.


“It takes humility to admit that some things are bigger than us or just plain beyond us. If the great David could call himself a ‘flea’ and a ‘dead dog’ (1 Samuel 24:14), maybe we have more to learn about humility” (Stanley).

Oh, Father how I long to be totally content and at peace in Your presence. With You by my side, may I learn to be still and quiet my soul and experience the incredible comfort, serenity, and rest You have provided.


Psalms 131:1 reveals the results of David’s efforts, while Psalms 131:2 chronicles how David achieved the desires of his heart.

David makes a threefold negative declaration; my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty; I do not occupy myself with great matters (NICOT).

Psalms 131:1 O LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp.

To unwrap the meaning of this verse, three important questions need to be addressed: what is a proud heart? What are haughty eyes? What are matters that are too great or awesome to grasp?

The Hebrew word translated as heart is leḇ. It connotes the seat of human intelligence and emotions. It has in view the inner man, mind, and will.

Haughty eyes are a figure of speech that refers to arrogance or hubris. Humility is the opposite of haughty eyes. People that are proud look, compare, compete, and are never content. They scheme and strategize so that they can outdo, outperform, or one-up others.

David is free from pride; his heart is not lifted up. He has been released from high-handed, elitist, self-interest. His eyes are not raised too high (UBS). He does not grasp things that are beyond his limits. He does not occupy himself with great matters or wondrous things. The Hebrew word nipflaoṯh translated as wondrous things connotes things that are extraordinarily good or great, that is, wonderful, difficult, or awesome. David has been freed from attempting to understand the mysteries of the universe and the Father’s mighty works. He is no longer pursuing “bigger than lifegoals and aspirations (UBS).

Psalms 131:2 I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

David has been able to achieve what most of us would consider virtually impossible. He is calm and at peace. He has quieted himself. He is at rest and all struggles have ceased. It is as though his life is a perpetual Sabbath day without end.

David illustrates his utter contentment using a young child as his model. When a child is finished nursing and is weaned, it rests content at its mother’s side, no longer clamoring for the breast. In the same way, David, “weaned of his ambitions, rests content to be at the side of his God” (Leupold). The Hebrew word translated as wean is gamal. A child is weaned when it no longer needs to be nursed by its mother.

“The figure is graceful, touching, original, and beautifully expressive of the humility of the soul, chastened by disappointment. It expresses both the cost at which he gained rest, for the child is not weaned without much pain and strife, and also the purity and unselfishness of the rest gained as the weaned child when its first fretfulness and uneasiness are past, no longer cries and frets and longs for the breast. “But, lies still and is content because it is with its mother; so my soul weaned from all discontented thoughts, from all fretful desires for earthy good, waiting in stillness upon God, finding its satisfaction in His presence, resting peacefully in His arms” (Perowne).

“Just as a weaned child is content simply having his mother’s presence, so the faithful worshiper is content with God’s presence” (ESV notes).

How did David achieve contentment? He stilled and quieted his soul. “He desisted from his former pursuits” (Leupold).

Oh the wonder of quiet contentment with Father God!

Isaiah 30:15 In quietness and confidence is your strength.


© Dr. H 2022

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