“I wrote Soul Keeping because we are taught more about how to care for our cars than how to steward our souls. But you cannot have an impactful life with an impoverished soul.”
John Ortberg (Soul Keeping)
Ortberg makes a very good point about our knowing more about taking care of our cars than we do about caring for our souls. I don't know about you, but that's true for me. We're somewhat obsessive about getting the oil changed and the tires rotated on our cars right on time. We know that exercise, fresh air and fresh food are good for our bodies. We don't always have them, but we know they are important. We know that our hair, skin and teeth require regular tending. But, when it comes how to care for our souls, we go blank. We think, well, there's prayer—I pray twice a day—I give God a laundry list of what I want, and I thank God for providing for another day. Then there are good deeds—I go to the shelter kitchen once a month, I take my old clothes to the mission thrift store. I go to church and sing hymns and fellowship with my co-congregants. Isn't that caring for my soul? Not so much.
The soul requires a little bit of undivided attention every day. It wants some solitude in which we check in, and ask how it's doing. What did I do today that made you happy, what made you sad? Are you content that we're making progress? And, what does progress look like? Here is Ortberg's answer to such questions: “Being deeply contented with God in my everyday life is a focused attitude. It means practicing letting go of my obsession with how I'm doing. It means training myself to learn to actually be present with people, and seeking to love them.”
Caring for our souls means practicing love—even for those who disagree with us, who represent things we don't like. Love is like beef stew and warm biscuits for the soul. Practicing love—for self, for others, for the world, for its flaws, its pretenses, its misguided messes, its unlovely people—is how we care for our soul. Love is the language, and the source of nourishment of the soul. Love recharges our individual soul-batteries, and the world-soul's batteries. And, boy, do we all need that right this minute!
In the Spirit,