Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Soul Care

"Maybe it's time to realize God is trying to get our attention and respond accordingly." 

I love to read. I don't particularly read a lot of fiction anymore because I have a difficult time finding things that are 'good' for me to read. I am keenly aware of how what I read, see, and listen to has a significant impact on my emotions, thoughts, and attitude. Not to date myself too much, but when Kelly and Zach broke up, I was upset for quite sometime. And don't even get me started on when Sheldon and Amy went separate ways. I become emotionally invested in characters and when things don't go well, even in the short term, my heart is aching.

The same is true for me and music. I didn't only listen to Contemporary Christian music in high school. First, I didn't know it was a thing and second, if it was a thing, I thought it consisted solely of Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, who were both also on top 40. I listened to Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Debbie Gibson (don't judge), Paula Abdul, and other mainstream artists. But one listen to any of their lyrics and it is clearly understandable why I had such a misconstrued idea of what a healthy relationship was. (think about that for just a moment if you have a teenager)

So now I do listen only to K-LOVE and primarily read Christian non-fiction. It's much better for me emotionally and, obviously, spiritually. Plus, both always make me feel better and give me the encouragement I need to keep going. Because let's face it, being an adult is hard. Couple that with being a parent in a media saturated world and I'm ready to curl up in a corner and rock back and forth most days.


Yesterday I started reading How's Your Soul by Judah Smith. I mentioned this book a few days ago and finally picked it up from my desk. He wrote some things that I think are highly beneficial and quite profound. He said:

"And yet, on some level, we are always aware of our souls. 
We continually monitor whether we are expereincing peace or 
anxiety, joy or desperation, fulfillment or emptiness. 
We say things like, "I really need a vacation" or "This job is sucking the 
life out of me" or "When I go hiking, I feel alive, I feel renewed."
Anyway, statements like these reflect our souls. They are expressions not
just of external, physical conditions but of internal realities."

In my journal where I am taking notes, I wrote out this question: Are negative emotions soul cries to draw our attention to something that is wrong, essentially grieving the Spirit?

Here's the thing. We have all been someplace where we saw someone have some reaction that was in complete disproportion to their circumstances. I have always been a believer that no one flips out over a mis-applied coupon or an incorrect price. If that is what makes you go bat crap crazy, there is something much deeper, much more painful that caused such raw emotions to bubble up and expel themselves on anyone in range. 

Granted not many of us would display such venom in public, but if we go home and spew it on anyone and everyone who will listen, there really isn't much difference. 

So what if this is God's way of flashing a brightly colored neon sign that indicates we have some stuff we need to deal with? What if this is His way of saying we need to put ourselves in a timeout with Him and let Him reveal what's in our hearts that caused such a gut wrenching response to something that is an inconvenience? 

I know that I am guilty of this. I think it's why I was drawn to this book when I saw it in the library. I tend to reduce how I am doing to my circumstances not what I am really feeling in my heart or thinking in my head.  It's leaving me vulnerable to Satan's schemes, prone to being short tempered, likely reacting with sharp words, and susceptible to food sought out of comfort, not hunger. And as if that weren't enough to be concerned about, I can also get quiet and shut out those that know me best and want to help the most.

My hope is that if this sounds familiar, even if you don't pick up the book, you'll at least consider your emotions more intentionally. For the girl who has been suppressing them for far too long, I want to start dealing with them effectively because it is the only way for a soul to be truly at rest. And frankly, rest is one of the gifts God gave us in the beginning that too many of us neglect to the detriment of our souls. Maybe it's time to realize God is trying to get our attention and respond accordingly. 

Jesus, help me to understand what is going on deep inside of me. Don't let me shy away from or ignore the symptoms that something isn't quite right. More than anything I want to be whole and complete in You so that I can love and serve others well. You are the only one that can guide this journey because You know me better than I know myself. Amen

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