How can you tell Soul from Head from Heart?
It can seem that the Self is a whirl of competing demands and voices and feeling…and indeed, that may be just a wonderful fact of being human…but that does not mean we need to live in inward turmoil and disorder. Wholeness is possible; the Sweetest Name promised us that.
The Soul dwells below the radar of our intellect. It is other. Beginning to relate to the soul for the first time will no doubt be uncomfortable, maybe even seem silly. Like lifting weights at the gym for the first time, it will probably hurt, and you begin to discover sore spots you never knew you had.
Did you ever notice how David refers to his Soul in the third person?…like he’s speaking to someone else? “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God!” (Psalm 42:11). Is he crazy…or does he know something we don’t? This isn’t an infrequent act, but something he did regularly—“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord,” (1 Samuel 30:6).
David talked to his Soul. He did not neglect it.
Neglect is abuse. Only the offender thinks of it mildly, and the victim feels no such reprieve in the soft violence. We have laws against treating children with neglect, yet have no qualm in deserting our souls — the very thing The Resplendent Prince taught was worth more than a world. Do you feel that your Soul is hidden from you? That is because She is a treasure hidden in a field! Sell all you possess so you might possess Her.
Fonts of living water do not gush from neglected souls.
Souls need encouragement, just like children. If we “do like David,” we can tell our souls the truth. This is best done out loud. Even a whisper is better than nothing. You don’t want this to be “all in your head”, just one more doctrine you’ve memorized. Bible studies will not substitute for Soul Care in and of themselves. There’s nothing wrong with Mind, it’s just not Soul, and we must not pretend that it is.
God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit, is able to cut deep into the Inner World, past Mind and Heart, all the way into Soul. When you read passages that stir you, read them to the most interior you. In doing so, Drive-Thru-Devotions are transformed into super-nutrients, dulling the taste of your idols, making pet sins seem petty, and rendering unsavory the lies we tell ourselves, and usually swallow.
Get a Bible Promise Book and keep it with you. Read it aloud to your Self when you sense a stirring within, and give it a chance to sink in. Soul will not respond right away, but you may notice your dream-life begin to change. A nameless joy will begin to emerge in your core, and an expansiveness set upon your Inner World.
In D.M. Cornish’s The Foundling’s Tale, Rossamünd, the orphan does something fascinating. He has no idea, at the time, the profound events that he’s setting into motion. Out of some inward prompting, he speaks aloud to a sparrow that has been following him for months — or maybe covertly his whole life. “Hello, my shadow,” he ventures tentatively. In that moment, everything changes. For the rest of his adventures, he’s accompanied and connected to this wonderful creature, who sets him on a course to the Duke of Sparrows.
Rossamünd merely opened himself up to relatedness, with no expectations as to possible outcomes. He spoke. He hoped. He availed. He named the sparrow Darter Brown, which is reminiscent of Soul’s oft-time “hiddenness”, and the way it seems to “dart” in and out of our awareness.
We, too, have quite an adventure before us…why not open up to your Soul? She longs for the same final destination, after all—the embrace of The King of Kings.
Deut. 4:9—“Only, take heed to thyself, and watch thy soul exceedingly…”
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