The Weaned Child

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;

my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

too great and too marvelous for me,

But I have calmed and queited my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.

– Psalm 131:1-2 (ESV)


These verses have been on my heart and I’ve been thinking about them quite a bit lately, especially verse 2.

As a mum who has breast-fed – and, subsequently, weaned – four children, this is a picture I can relate to: the image of a weaned child with its mother.

The weaned child is content in the mother’s presence without having to be on the breast when there is something that troubles them. The child is now able to comfort itself when things are bothering them – the parenting experts call it “self-soothing”. While there was a time that whatever the traumatic event (or perceived trauma) was, from getting an immunisation to a bump on the head or just feeling out of sorts, would result in the necessity of the child being latched on until the calming effect of nursing would take place (for THERE WOULD BE NO CONSOLING WITHOUT IT!), now the child is capable of calming itself down.

I don’t think this is a picture of us no longer needing God when we ‘grow up’ a bit. On the contrary, I think it’s a picture of how we should be when faced with things that would send us into fits of despair. Our aim should be to reach the place of maturity where we can tell our own souls to calm down, reminding ourselves that God loves us and is in control, and place ourselves in a place of prayer where we can receive the peace that passes all understanding, as we wait upon God (see Philippians 4:6-7).

I can admit I have not reached this place. I am still a very unweaned child – sometimes falling to bits, unconsolable in the face of pressures and stresses. But, my prayer is to become like this weaned child with its mother, able to calm and quiet my own soul.

The psalmist David often talked to his own soul – encouraging himself – to calm and quiet down and trust/wait upon the Lord (Ps 42, 43, 103).

This Ps 131:2 is simply the latest scripture to drive home the point to me. The picture of the weaned child is one I hold in my heart and aspire to fully become.