My son was telling me about a friend of his who lived and worked in Sydney. But one day he applied for a job and moved with his wife to a small town on the coast. It was a big change for him, but when he was interviewed by the local newspaper he said: “It was something I thought would be good for my soul. I want to get to know the community—to feel part of a local community”.
I was interested in his comment: it would be good for my soul. I’m sure he’s not the only one who has moved from the hustle-and-bustle of city life to a smaller community. And that certainly has its advantages. But what did he mean with it will be good for my soul? I have a feeling that for some people a good book is just what’s needed, especially on a cold night in front of a heater.
Perhaps an inspirational biography or fast-driven novel. It captivates your interest, and is refreshing to your mind and spirit. Seeing life from another perspective. What about your ‘to do’ list, when you sit down and think clearly about plans for the day? It’s a great feeling, good for the soul, to get organised. It saves you a lot of time and worry later on.
Others like to declutter their home and organise a day to throw out stuff that’s been laying around for months or years. Simplifying your life like this can be a good step forward. Maybe gardening is your thing. Horticulturists say working in the garden is good for the soul. It has health benefits and can be very relaxing.
Start writing. Put your thoughts down on paper or on your computer. You’ll be amazed how it clears your mind and helps you focus, even if you think you’re no author or creative person. Doesn’t matter. It’s a therapeutic process, and I suggest penning a page every morning. However, you can also use journaling to review your goals or reflect on the week’s events.
Only God Can Truly Satisfy
As worthwhile as all these are, there is one overriding truth I want to say. And it’s this: only God can truly satisfy your soul. I believe this statement is the most important thing you need to hear today. Nothing else can satisfy your soul like believing in God and accepting his Son Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Saviour. When we are hungry, we get something to eat. When we are thirsty, we get something to drink. This is to satisfy our physical needs, but these physical things cannot satisfy our soul. True soul-satisfying fulfillment can only come from God.
Every person in the world wants to know what will make him or her happy. We’re all desperately seeking for the person, place, or thing that will meet our expectations, needs, and wants. What will truly satisfy the desires of our heart? Is there a nagging sense: there must be more to life than this? What is really good for my soul?
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Author Michelle McKinney Hammond often says that the void we feel on the inside is a ‘God-shaped hole’. St Augustine wrote the often-quoted prayer to God “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”. Within each heart, God has created a vacuum that can only be met spiritually. Only God and his true Love can ever fill that aching spiritual void of your heart which he created for himself alone!
How is it that we can have everything in the world we want but still feel that we have nothing at all? Part of the problem lies in the deadly disease of boredom; but the deeper problem is emptiness, the inner emptiness that comes from loving or craving the wrong things, things that will never satisfy. It won’t go away if you ignore it.
Only God Can Fill Our Hearts
The Bible tells us boldly to love God with all our heart. You see, there is a special space in our hearts that only God can fill. Our souls are made in such a way that they just cannot be happy with anything less than God. Anything less than God will ultimately let you down, and you will be terribly disappointed. In Psalm 42 of the Old Testament, the writer explained it like this:
Why am I discouraged?
Why am I restless?
I trust you!
And I will praise you again
because you help me,
and you are my God. (Psalm 42:5-6 – CEV)
For him, God’s living presence was a wonderful guarantee that was 100% dependable.
What is good for your soul? Making a definite decision to become serious with God, for Jesus his Son has promised to satisfy your soul and give you peace and happiness. The empty places in our hearts were created to be filled by God alone. The deepest thirst of our soul can only be quenched by him.
Looking again at the Bible, we see this deep thirst even in King David, who had everything: the highest position, unlimited possessions, and great power, yet none of it was enough. He described himself as parched and thirsty for God:
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 – NIV)
Then David went on to describe what he experienced when he drank deeply of God’s love:
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:2–4 – NIV)
My prayer is that you will discover what’s really good for your soul.