Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
It’s very interesting what is said in coffee shops. I heard about the day two women were seated together sharing their coffee and having a chat. They were talking about work, and one said something very interesting: I don’t hate my job, but it’s killing my soul.
What was she talking about? How can you be in a job that you like, yet it’s killing your soul? If it was me, I’d look for another job. Killing your soul—that sounds serious.
Maybe you’re one of the 50% of employed people who are not happy in their jobs. That’s what came out of a survey in 2016 conducted by Survey Sampling International. Only a small number of people are actively doing anything to change their situation. It’s not an easy problem to resolve of course, but it seems a lot of us are willing to settle doing something we don’t like, or worse still, feel is doing us harm.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
It’s important to realise that we are made of body, mind and soul. And we don’t often talk about the soul. Do you care for your soul ? It’s the spiritual part of each human being. The soul is the very deepest part of who we are. You can’t see it, but it’s there, the innermost part of the person. I believe we have a soul at the moment of conception, but God knew us even before we became living souls. The Old Testament says God knew about us before we were born:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (ERV)
To Understand Your Soul, Read The Book Of Psalms
There is more to us than our possessions. We have an inner life—a soul—which, while invisible to the outside world, is very real and of utmost importance. Your soul is a living thing that needs nurture, care and attention.
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If there’s one book that you should read to understand the soul, it’s the book of Psalms. Down to earth and honest, the Psalms mirror our complex array of emotions and validate our deepest needs through poetry and songs. They are a great window into the soul, offering many insights for how to care for it. If you haven’t read the Psalms, I encourage you to do so.
Thirsting For God
What intrigues me about the Psalms is the relationship that emerges between David and his own soul. He actually holds conversations with his soul. One great example is Psalm 42:
As a deer gets thirsty
for streams of water,
I truly am thirsty
for you, my God.
In my heart, I am thirsty
for you, the living God.
When will I see your face?
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 42:1-2;5-6 CEV)
It’s as if David is a pastor to his own soul. He listens to its needs and desires and then points it toward God. David has become skilled in the art of caring for his soul. What is that inner relationship like? When was the last time you stopped your busy activity—of caring for cars, clothes, and a thousand other things—and thought about your soul?
Maybe you’ve not given much thought to your relationship to your soul. In fact, you may have ignored it, denied it, even lied to it, starved it, shut it up, medicated it or neglected it. It’s strange that we should treat our soul this way. But we have become very skilful at ignoring and neglecting our soul, until when, unexpectedly in the quiet gaps in our busy days, we feel the desperate thirst that David wrote about in Psalm 42.
Don’t Drown Out Your Soul With Distractions
When we feel empty, alienated or overwhelmed, we don’t usually listen to what our soul is saying to us. It is panting; parched for a drink of God’s love and life—but we’ve learned to drown our thirst for God with distractions such as television, shopping, music, hobbies, the internet, parties or an incredibly busy schedule.
If we are so distracted and our lives so fragmented that we cannot be silent before God, that itself is a sign that we have allowed too much stuff to pile up.
So there needs to be a place and time to sit in silence to listen to God, to listen to our soul. If we are so distracted and our lives so fragmented that we cannot be silent before God, that itself is a sign that we have allowed too much stuff to pile up. We need to give ourselves the space and time with God to address all the issues that are accumulating inside us.
To avoid these things by staying busy or filling our lives with noise only makes the soul more distressed, and that is not good. When you take care of your soul, you are taking care of yourself.