“My soul just can’t do life at the speed of smartphones.” -John Eldredge
Now that we have talked about silence and Sabbath, we can dive into soul care, which they both feed into. Go read John Ortberg’s book Soul Keeper. It is an amazing book on why we need soul care and how to practice it. I don’t have anything to add. Blog done.
That wasn’t very soulful, was it? It really is a great book, but I will still give my take on the issue. First, think about how we use the word soul in our culture: soul food, soul music, soul crushing. Part of our culture wants to replace the word soul with self. I even thought about titling this post “Self Care” to make it sound more appealing. However, your self and soul are not the same thing. Think about it, self music, self food, self crushing? It just isn’t the same. Why?
Self makes you think you can do-it-yourself, but soul reminds us we were created for the creator. Sin damages our souls, but our soul is healed by confessing. Think of the phrase, it felt so good to get that off my chest. What is the universal truth that people are experiencing? Their souls are being healed by confessing their sin to someone. The opposite is true when we sin because, to sin, we often must lie not only to others but also to our inner self.
Ortberg describes the outer and inner self. He says your soul integrates your will, your mind, and your body into a single life. He notes that we often neglect our inner self (soul) because it is invisible, but it holds our thoughts and hopes. So how do you have an inner self that is thriving no matter what is happening on the outside?
Well, I think it is helpful to think about what our soul needs, which is depth. Your soul is not surface level. I have found that to even start engaging my soul I need quiet and to slow down, hence the posts on silence and Sabbath before this one. Think about it. If you pause and sit in silence, does your mind go to simple thoughts or does it go to deeper, soul thoughts. Ortberg puts it this way, “I am reminded when I’m alone that God loves me—that there is something about life that is infinitely deeper than all of my outer life.” Here is what else Ortberg says:
The soul needs a keeper
The soul needs a center
The soul needs a future
The soul needs to be with God
The soul needs rest
The soul needs freedom
The soul needs blessing
The soul needs satisfaction
The soul needs gratitude
“The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become.” -Dallas Willard
To summarized these, we need to actively tend to our souls. If you are not actively engaged with your soul, it will be swallowed out by today’s culture. John Eldredge talks about how souls were not created to have 1,000+ FaceBook friends and to hear about the tragedy and heartache of the world every day. Our souls were made to walk with God.
Our souls need to dream because they were made for eternity. The soul has unlimited needs. This is why greed exists and even millionaires are not satisfied with what they have. Our soul’s unlimited needs are meant to be satisfied by God’s unlimited grace. As I have pursued soul care, it has been apparent that this is a long process that is fighting against the culture of our day. However, it is well worth it because it is a life-giving practice that is shaping who I will become.
Here are the other resources I have found helpful:
Soul Keeper by John Ortberg
Practice the Rule by Matt Chandler
One Minute Pause App by Ransomed Heart
Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge
The Spiritual Guide by Michael Molinos