“The soul is NOT 'a theological and abstract subject.' The soul is the coolest, eeriest, most mysterious, evocative, crucial, sacred, eternal, life-directing, fragile, indestructible, controversial, expensive dimension of your existence.”
John Ortberg (Soul Keeping)
John Ortberg's mentor, Dallas Willard, described the soul as being akin to “a stream of water” ever flowing, “rooted in the vastness of God.” (Renovation of the Heart) He explained that “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.” and advised Ortberg to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Let's just sit with that for a second.
Suppose you buy into the concept of “soul,” and the definition above of what exactly that is, and how important it is. And now, consider how much time and energy on a daily basis you give to the needs of your soul. It may become clearer why Americans have the highest rates of addiction to prescription drugs in the world—6.2% per capita. Why we have an opioid and alcoholism crisis on our hands. We're trying to ease the pain caused by loss of soul. We don't have time to nourish our souls; it's easier and quicker to just pop a pill or toss back a drink. We have soul-sickness.
To nourish soul, we have to make time for it. We have to be intentional about what its needs are, and what feeds our particular version of soul. For some of us it's time to read and ponder, for some, it's a walk or a hike in nature, for some it's engrossing conversation, for some it is silent meditation, and the list goes on. In the words of John Ortberg: “This much I have learned: human beings come with very different interests, different temperaments, different learning styles, different gifts, different temptations. These differences are tremendously important in the spiritual formation of human beings.” Regardless of style, the soul is the center and well-spring of our vitality. When we ignore it, we become estranged from the very heart and core of our being. And, our soul becomes a husk, a shadow. That ever-flowing stream turns into a dried up river bed.
When we get to the end of our days, what will be most important? Will it be what we accomplished in our jobs, how busy we stayed throughout life? Or will it be the healthy, vital and well-nourished soul we are taking into eternity?
In the Spirit,