Cheeks moist with tears became my new normal. A relentless task-master, fear brought me this far in life, and I could go no farther. Like a trembling puppy cowering in the corner, fear had me in its grip—hopeless and helpless.
Breathing down my neck like sinister darkness, this moment of decision challenged me as never before—either give up or run.
Fear is more pain than the pain it fears. Shakespeare
I ran straight to a counselor’s office, and I’m still sitting on her couch monthly.
Launching a campaign against fear, soul repair commenced. It was daunting and agonizingly slow, but light brimmed at my tunnel’s end, eventually bursting forth in freedom and healing, with Jesus front and center. My soul now flourishes more than faints, but I must be intentional with soul-care.
Our souls are God’s domain. He created them for a singular purpose: connection with Him.
Seeking success, status or significance the world’s way leaves our soul famished and weary.
From my experience, I discovered 3 levels of soul-degradation:
- The Overburdened Soul—the hurried life
- The Anxious Soul—the worried life
- The Hollow Soul–the purposeless life
Over the next month, we’ll examine each stage of soul unrest, not for survey’s sake (who would enjoy that excursion?!) but for healing’s sake.
After prayerfully assessing our own soul’s health today, we’ll later discover actionable steps towards soul-care, leading to more freedom, joy and peace in our soul’s true delight—Jesus.
First, the Overburdened Soul
- Does overwhelm regularly rob your peace?
- Is there little space in your days for unexpected circumstances?
- Do you find yourself angry often?
- Are you short with those you love most?
- Is time with Jesus first to go when the to-do list lengthens?
- Are you often tired?
- Are you regularly distracted, unable to focus on what’s important?
- When asked how you are, is “busy” your usual response?
- Does FOMO result in too many yeses?
- “Sabbath? Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”
Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. Psalm 116:7
Next, the Anxious Soul
- Does stress accompany most decisions?
- Are you a people pleaser?
- Is worry your MO?
- Do you regularly desire escape—numbing out with Netflix, alcohol or scrolling?
- Do you struggle with difficulty sleeping?
- Does time on social media cause scrolling envy?
- Does comparison rob you of connection?
- Are your emotions all over the map?
- Is prayer often your last resort?
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:2
Lastly, the Hollow Soul
- Are you lonely?
- Do you struggle to find purpose?
- Does life lack fulfillment or value?
- Have you lost courage, hope?
- Is your time with Jesus sparse or non-existent?
- Do you struggle with prayer?
- Does God seem distant or uncaring?
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7
Before stressing over these questions, remember: we experience different rhythms and seasons throughout our lives.
Do you have preschoolers underfoot? Of course your busy! Are you an empty-nester? A new season of purpose may be dawning. Consider your season—and last year.
No one was untouched by the events of 2020.
Any journey towards soul healing begins with reflection. We need to know where we’ve been before we can discern our present.
One of the greatest impacts on soul health is unresolved hurt or pain. Past trauma doesn’t have to be severe to impact how we function today.
It can result from dismissive, unpredictable, angry or emotionally immature caregivers. A car accident, divorce, death of a loved one, bullying in school, or devastating natural disaster. (health.clevelandclinic.org)
If the symptoms in the above link resonate with you, please consider counseling. (I can recommend a few excellent local counselors!)
Too complex to resolve on our own, we are not naturally equipped with the tools necessary to overcome these struggles.
Seeking help is wisdom, not weakness.
However, if your past seems in check, but life has hijacked your soul, begin with your best friend, Jesus. Ask Him for wisdom and discernment regarding your soul’s wellbeing.
Wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. Prov. 24:14
Spend time in prayer, journaling your answers from above. Then talk with someone you trust about what you discover.
This week, take inventory of your schedule, decision-making process, and relationships—your reactions and interactions with Jesus, loved ones and friends—to better discern your soul-health, then meet me here next week as we discover actionable steps towards ultimate soul-care!