To close out this week I’m going to get a little personal and maybe a little lengthy. Hope you’ve enjoyed this first week of Soulology.
This year I took a bold step and decided to take 3 weeks vacation at one time. Never done that. Usually I will take a week here and a week there throughout the year, but I wanted to try something new. Without sounding whiny, the last year and half has been challenging. Some time I may blog about it, but for now we’ll just leave it there.
On our vacation I slept, played golf, hiked, read, reflected, sat by the ocean and quite honestly didn’t miss work until right before it was time to come back. Something incredible happens when we intentionally make time for attending to the soul.
When I’m alone with God all the performance obligations and expectations really just melt away. I’ve struggled with performance pressure my entire life and it’s a daily battle. When I’m alone with God, however, I’m reminded again how much He loves me and how dependent I am on Him for everything. I’m reminded that there’s something deeper than all the roles, expectations and performance stuff required by my outer life as a husband, dad, and Pastor.
We use a lot of church speak about winning our world and loving others. It’s easy to preach sermons about our mission on the earth to influence lives for the cause of Christ, but so often we only focus on the outer life that is perishing and temporal when all the time it is your soul that you will take into eternity. We can’t effectively love others and demonstrate what life with God is unless our soul is at rest and we can’t be at rest unless we attend to our soul.
Attending to our soul doesn’t mean we ignore our external world but we need to ask the right question. Instead of asking how we can be successful at work or how we can acquire more wealth, we should ask How is our involvement in each area of our life having an impact on our soul?
As we asked earlier in the week: How is it with your soul today?
The truth is, our soul can be right and at rest when everything else in your life is wrong and in turmoil.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8, 9 NIV)
“The salvation of your soul is not just about where you go when you die; it means healing and deliverance at the deepest level of who we are in the care of God through the presence of Jesus in your life.” (John Ortberg)
Why is this so critical?
Because sooner or later something in your outer world will fall apart at the seams and the only thing that will carry you in that moment is how things are going in your soul.
In the Chicago fire of 1871 a real estate investor named Horatio Spofford lost his home. His home had no insurance which caused him to lose most of the money from his other investments. In 1873 he put his wife and four daughters on a ship to England while he stayed behind to re-stimulate his business.
A few days later he received a telegram from his wife which read “Saved alone. What shall I do?” There had been a shipwreck in which his wife had survived but all four of his daughters had perished. (I failed to mention that the Spofford’s lost their only son to Scarlet Fever in 1870)
As Horatio boarded a ship to England to meet his wife after 3+ years of nothing but tragedy, he passed over the very spot in the ocean where his daughter’s had drowned. He took a pen and wrote the words to this song;
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrow like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
When you attend to your soul, you will be able to say “It is well….” Ask yourself today, “Am I attending to my soul?” Be honest enough to answer in truth.