1 Samuel 1:4-20, Pour Out Your Soul

Verses 15-17, “But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.’”

I have always been struck by the profoundness of a verse from Philippians, “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then, the peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep guard over your hearts and souls in Christ Jesus.”  (The Living Bible) Today’s scripture story gives us an example of this in action.

Hannah is worried. She feels anxious, alone, and despairing that she has no child. Her husband, Elkanah, is oblivious to her angst. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah (who has children) taunts her about her sterility. Hannah is not willing to accept her barrenness. She takes her anxiety and vexation to God. She pours out her soul in prayer.

I can see Hannah talking to God as if talking to herself. In words and tears, she released her sadness, disappointment, bitterness, and longing. She was courageous in holding her desire in spite of past failures to conceive. She kept reaching for what her heart wanted.

In our lives, we can experience disappointment, failure, and ridicule when our desires do not materialize. We may want to give birth to a new project, a new way of living, or new ways of relating to self and others, etc. These do not always manifest as quickly as we would like. We may begin to feel like a failure and stop trying.

Hannah did not stop trying. She also realized that she alone could not accomplish her goal. She needed the blessing of God. Psychologically, this means that the ego alone cannot birth our heart’s desires. We must have the blessing of the larger Self, the totality of our psyche/soul. 

A blessing of the Self or God Within is a gift of psychic energy or libido. We receive energy that enlivens, animates, and sustains us. It focuses us to take action towards our heart’s desires. Following our breath is a practical way to begin to consciously feel where psychic energy lives in our body. 

The scriptures tell us that God breathed life into Adam (and breathes life into us). The breath that flows through us connects us to God Within. Here is the blessing that is the catalyst for new life to grow in, through, and around us. 

Hannah spoke up for herself when the Priest Eli misread her state of consciousness and actions. Someone in authority misunderstanding her intentions did not deter her. She used her voice to state her need, desire, and intention. She received the blessing she sought.

Hannah gives us an example to follow. She models a way of dealing with our bitterness, disappointment, and being ridiculed by others. Instead of indulging these emotions, she holds to her heart’s longing. She asks God for help. She stands in her truth even when misunderstood by religious authority.

We too have to use our voice in standing with our heart’s desires. We have to ask the larger Self or God Within for help. We have to stand with our desires and intentions even though parts of our selves may misunderstand and dismiss our longing. When we do this, we can receive the “peace which passeth all understanding” (regardless of whether we receive the specific we have requested). We experience the blessing of God Within.

Inner Reflection

Where are you feeling disappointed, bitter, or ridiculed? What is your heart longing for? Pour it all out to God Within by verbalizing it out loud (consciously to yourself) or in journaling. Breathe and listen for the voice of God Within to differentiate your true soul’s desires from those of ego and learned patterns. Ask and open to receive the blessings that come (even when not in the specific form you have requested). Trust the peace that comes from pouring out your soul to God Within.