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"Be Still My Soul" | Behind the Song

There’s something about moving to a new place that makes you crave a sense of familiarity and belonging. In May of last year, I moved into a new one-bedroom apartment (my first time living alone). Once my mom and brother left town after helping me move, all of the excitement and busyness suddenly stopped. It was just me in my little apartment, and I was hit with the unfamiliarity of living alone for the first time.

I had been looking forward to this transition for a while, but I knew this feeling of loneliness would happen eventually. I also knew I didn’t want to settle for an easy fix to keep me company during times like these — scrolling through Facebook or watching a mindless show on Netflix. In that moment, I needed something that reached deeper than the glare of a screen.

I remember sitting down on my bedroom floor with a notebook and asking God for a sense of peace despite this new change. The first words of the song flowed naturally out of my need for belonging. When I sang, “Be still my soul, for the longing that you have has found a home,” it wasn’t because I really believed it. I sang those words because I needed a reminder of what God offers us in our moments of insecurity and unrest. Despite my unfamiliar surroundings, God reminded me that my home would always be in Him.

I didn’t finish this song that first night. Like most songs I write by myself, I chiseled at the idea for a while. I used my lunch breaks at work to read passages from the Psalms and think over what words communicated exactly what I wanted to say. Sometimes you have to write a line multiple times before you get it just right. Psalm 62:5-8 was one passage in particular that I kept coming back to:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;

my hope comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;

he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people;

pour out your hearts to him,

for God is our refuge.

This passage proved to be the timeless truth that I needed — when we open up our hands and let God enter in to what we’ve held so tightly, he is able to give us a peace that transcends our limited understanding of how he works. Sitting on my apartment floor a year and a half ago, I started to sing the words that I needed to hear, words that pointed me back to His goodness in spite of my restlessness. My hope is that these words will bring you into His presence and invite you into His peace in whatever your circumstance.

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