Life is challenging. Busyness takes over. Kids, spouse, work, writing, speaking, teaching all quickly take over. Each day quickly rolls into the next. Before long, I feel fragmented and in need of rest.
Busyness is one of my biggest challenges in keeping my soul. Other challenges may be fractured relationships, dissatisfaction with work or even chronic stress related issues.
In his book Soul Keeping, John Ortberg describes the soul as the deepest part of you.
“The soul is the capacity to integrate all the parts into a single, whole life. It is something like a program that runs a computer; you don’t usually notice it unless it messes up.”
He explains that his understanding of soul was developed through conversations with theologian, Dallas Willard. Willard described the soul like this.
“What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. The soul is the life center of human beings.”
I have never thought of it this way. I have always thought my soul was the deepest part of me, but not what was running my life. I have some soul keeping to do. Scripture gives me some guidance on this.
20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health. Proverbs 4:20 (MSG).
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9 (MSG).
9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9 (MSG).
There are many more scriptures, but there seems to be a theme emerging. In keeping my soul, I best focus on my relationship. I need to make time for those I love, reach out to friends, restore relationships and most important love first.
Treating everyone with love first is challenging. Prioritizing relationships before the busyness of life is challenging. I am challenging myself to focus on keeping my soul first this summer. I don’t want to lose the center of my being. I want to enliven every dimension of myself. I am scheduling time away with others. I am refusing the temptation of obligation, and I am spending more time with Jesus-the keeper of my soul.
Will you join me? What areas of your life need soul keeping? Share your goal here and we can encourage each other.