What Does Soul Care Mean?

     While I plan to write a couple more blog posts about my Israel experience, today I want to explore the meaning of ‘soul care.’ I recently told you I’ve chosen those two words to guide me in 2017. This theme emerged while I was reading John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping, one I recommend highly.

     My friend, Jackie, and I are able to get together only occasionally. Jackie spends most of the year doing mission work with her husband in Ethiopia. Their time in the States is packed with both ministry and family activities, but we’re usually able to carve out a couple coffee or lunch dates when she’s home.

     When Jackie and I met for coffee before Christmas, I told her my focus for 2017 was going to be “Soul Care.” After the New Year, we met for lunch, and while sharing a gyro and small quinoa salad, she asked, “So, what exactly does ‘Soul Care’ mean?

     That’s such a “Jackie question!” One of the reasons I value our friendship is because she makes those types of probing inquiries. During the years of our friendship, Jackie has challenged me to think more about why I believe what I believe.

     In matters of faith, I tend to be intuitive in contrast to Jackie’s more intellectual approach. Often, my imagination is triggered, and I ‘sense’ something is true in my spirit before my head confirms it. More than once, Jackie has shared with emotional exuberance something she realized after studying a portion of Scripture. My emotional intuition often leads to intellectual confirmation, while Jackie’s intellectual logic often elicits an emotional reaction. Considering our unique perspectives, it’s no wonder Jackie writes Bible studies and my God-designed focus is in the arena of care ministries.

     Imagination, intuition, intellect, study and emotion are important components of the soul, which John Ortberg explains, “is the deepest part of you…simply a synonym for the person.”[1]

     My quest to learn more about caring for my soul isn’t new. It began early one morning several years ago. I was having a devotional time, and these words grabbed my imagination:

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

     Halting, I murmured, “God, I believe this is true because I believe Scripture is true, but what does this look like where the rubber of my faith meets the road of my life?” For me, this question is open ended because I’m convinced bits and pieces of the answer will keep emerging throughout my lifetime. Since I first asked the question, though, I believe God has shown me that our Divine design is not to live a compartmentalized life.

     When Christ is at the very center of my being, all areas of my life—physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, professional and spiritual—will be controlled increasingly by His Spirit. Because God designed me with a free will, I can choose to submit and become more and more Spirit controlled, or I can keep on trying to navigate life with my self-control. The first option appeals to me more than the second.

     One of the most influential people in John Ortberg’s life was Dallas Willard. Ortberg quotes him frequently in Soul Keeping. Of the soul, Dr. Willard says, “The soul is the capacity to integrate all the parts into a single, whole life.”[2]

     John Ortberg concludes, “When you are connected with God and other people in life, you have a healthy soul.”[3]

     I like that—like it a lot. During 2017, I’m asking God to help me become a woman whose soul is healthier than it was in 2016. I want to connect more closely to God, and with other people—people such as you.

     As I share some of the lessons I’m learning in this process, I’d love to have you in turn share some of the lessons you have learned or are learning. Together, let’s keep growing while Listening on the Journey…

Sue Reeve

  1. Soul Keeping, John Ortberg, Chapter 2, What is the Soul?

  2. Soul Keeping, John Ortberg, Chapter 2, What is the Soul?

  3. Soul Keeping, John Ortberg, Chapter 2, What is the Soul?
    C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Potential Card folder\04142015_18187-1.jpgI’m imagining I’d be able to practice better ‘soul care’ if I could hang out at this little church we discovered while vacationing in Kauai in 2015. Perhaps we could plan a ‘soul care’ retreat in Hawaii! I smile as I type these improbable words, but it sure does sound nice, don’t you think?

3 thoughts on “What Does Soul Care Mean?

  1. I’ve experienced so many frustrations in “2016” that, at times, left me questioning why do these things happen to good people. I’m sure many people, everyday, ask the same question when life doesn’t quite go the way they want it to be. We often want to put the blame on “someone”, and unfortunately, many times it’s God. However, in my daily prayers (morning and night), I decided one day that all of this is “beyond my control” and I’m going to “submit” and put it into God’s hands and continue to have faith; and I have to honestly tell you, from that day, the problems are still here, but I feel less frustrated and more at peace with God and others.

  2. Oh, Chris, that’s beautiful! I too have asked God, “Why?” more than once in my life, and I too have, with open hands and heart, said, “Okay, God, I’m giving this to you.” More often than not, I–and not my circumstances–change. One day when I was thinking about this, I had the most profound, yet simple, understanding that “GOD NEVER SQUANDERS OUR PAIN.” Right now, I’m praying for you and your family. While God is doing the work that only God knows about behind the scenes of your difficulty, I’m asking that your peace will be “super-sized!” Bless you, my friend far away!

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