As I belted out “Bless the Lord Oh my Soul” the other night while driving in the car with my daughters, my 3 year old stopped me and asked, “Mom, what’s your soul?”
I often find myself in a spot where I have to think fast to explain something to her. Like when she asks why I’m laughing at a political cartoon and I make up a 3 year old version or when she overhears me saying something to my husband before supper and I have to tell her without giving away the fact that we’re having ice cream for dessert. But I wasn’t prepared for this one.
I said, “Well Ellie, it’s like what you feel deep down and what you really believe in your heart.”
Although I had no idea if my answer made sense to her or was very accurate, she was satisfied.
As I’ve been thinking about it, I realize that what is true deep down in my soul is actually very important. And so often, we don’t ever get down to the “soul level” of our life. In my past blogs I’ve written about being present both physically and emotionally. It’s almost like this is a part 3 to that series. Being present in your soul.
One definition I found of soul is “A person’s total self”.
What does it look like to be present deep down to my core, to my total self? It seems we have so many layers of life and things to hide behind (as I’ve written about in prior blogs) that we are often so disconnected from reality either physically or emotionally.
Maybe this story will help to illustrate the tension I seem to feel as a typical American Christian. This was written by a friend who is in Africa for the summer with her husband, four kids and 7 students. She tells this story:
“One night we were sitting around the fire talking with Pastor Max. He said to be careful because sometimes scorpions crawl out of the hot wood and can sting you. He said one time one did, and like Paul he prayed that he would be okay and he was. He said, ‘It takes a lot of faith to live out here because you have so few protections. So you must pray to God for so many things.'”
When I got to thinking, I realized I have SO MANY protections (a roof, insurance, running water, cell phone, “wealth”, internet, multiple vehicles, fast food, the list goes on and on and on and on). And it seems that rather than these things protecting me, they enable me to feel like I can protect myself from being fully present in the pain, and hopes, and disappointments and desires that reside in my soul.
If you’re anything like me, I want to encourage you to let go of the idea that these protections are what’s helping us and press into The Lord, who knows us completely, understands everything our soul feels or pretends to feel and who will watch over our coming and going both now and forevermore!
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
In Joyful Surrender,