Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Care and Keeping of your Soul

We spend so much time working on physical wellness, educational pursuits and relationship development, but how often do we consider the condition of our soul? After all, it is all we will be left with when we die. Shouldn't we be sure it is cultivated and cared for?

What is a soul exactly?
How do you care for it?
What does the soul desire?
What are the best ways to meet those desire and what ways should be wary of?
What happens when our soul is in darkness?

These are the questions best selling author and pastor John Ortberg address in
his newest book Soul Keeping: Caring for the most important part of you. Influenced by the teachings on spiritual formation by Dallas Willard, Ortberg organizes his reflections into three segments: What the Soul Is, What the Soul Needs, and The Soul Restored. The second section offers direction for building soul wellness through rest, worship, freedom, blessing, satisfaction and gratitude with scriptural examples of key concepts.

One of my favorite chapters is The Soul Needs Blessing. Ortberg quotes Willard saying there are two great words in the Bible that describe the posture of our souls toward other people. One is to bless. The other is to curse. In every encounter with people, we will will what is good for them, or we will will what is bad. We are highly aware of our souls being blessed or cursed in our interactions with others. We are sensitive to this because our souls were made to be blessed.

Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. We must think it, feel it, and will it. We communicate it with our words and bodies. Blessing is done by the soul.

Ortberg describes "soul love." It is a love I desire and one I want to give others. To love someone with your soul means your will, your choices, your mind, your thoughts, your feelings,  your body, your behaviors, and your habits are aligned for the good of their entire being before God. 

Wow.

Although a heavy topic, the book is understandable and an easy read. This is a book I will reflect on often as I try to craft a remarkable life for my family. Helping my children and husband care for their souls is of key importance. 



I want my kids to know how to get true soul satisfaction before they are tempted to try the poor substitutes this world offers. This won't likely just happen by accident. I must teach gratitude, worship, rest, blessing and mostly teach this by example. In fact, my primary job in my vocation of wife and mother is that of family soul tender. I have never thought if it that way before, but that was my key takeaway from the book. Of course, I cannot tend others' souls, unless mine is also well cared for.

The Lord bless you and keep you;The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.