When you talk about the condition of someone’s soul, people automatically think you’re asking the question, “If Jesus came back tonight, would you go to heaven or hell.” I would like to talk about something different today. The question I would like to ask is this: “Do you have a healthy soul?”
Condition [kuh n-dish–uh n] noun:
Soul [sōl] noun: the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life (Merriam-Webster). You may disagree on some of the words, but I’m going to work with what Merriam-Webster gives to us.
The immaterial essence, the driving force or animating principle that is you. At your very center, your soul, the combination of your heart, mind, spirit, will, and even in great connection to your body, your soul is the deepest center of who you are. At the deepest center of who you are, is there health? Is there a sense of peace? Is there a sense of rest with all the urgency happening around you?
One of the cool things about Instagram is putting a filter on your picture. Sometimes though, filters are used a little too much. Sometimes, filters are used way too much. A filter can end up making you look far different than you actually look. Most of the time, we use filters to “fix the lighting” so we look better than we otherwise would in the picture.
We probably have a few filters for our souls. We use words like, “I’m fine” or “Everything’s great!” or “Things are perfect!” when in reality, there is chaos in our souls. Your soul can be upside down, but as long as you put a filter on it, then everything is okay.
I can tell when I’m off-center. I don’t always recognize it in the moment, but when I am, I have a great need for affirmation. It is as if I am searching for someone to tell me that I am alright. As a person, I’m okay. And that search for affirmation has caused me to be disingenuous. When my soul is not healthy, the veneer of perfectionism gets thicker. It is probably because I know deep down that I’m not okay in those moments, that I search for someone or something to tell me I’m okay.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from Jesus best friend (according to the writer anyway), John. The writer of the Gospel according to John and then 1, 2 and 3rd John. This one verse is a prayer I pray over my friends and family. It isn’t the most important verse, but it is a verse I hope the Lord answers in their life.
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2.
I love it when we prosper. When my friends get a big raise, I love those moments. I love it when my friends get a promotion, or a new job, or something they’ve wanted for a long time. I love to see my friends and family healthy, and enjoying life.
What’s even more important than having a bank account that prospers is a soul that prospers. Your financial acumen may not be the best out there, but if you have a healthy soul, well that’s even better than having the corner office on the top floor with the best view in town.
You may know I’ve been on a health kick this year, and I plan on continuing that kick. You know what I’ve noticed though? It’s pretty easy to become body obsessed. Image obsessed. And things on the outside can be looking great, but inside, your soul can be flipped upside down, and everything you’re doing is searching for someone to affirm you. To tell you what you’re worth. To say the words you want to hear, or help you feel how you want to feel.
A year ago, I started understanding Jesus heart for me. I’ve talked a lot about Jesus heart for others in the past, but I’ve started to understand His heart for me. This is his heart for every person who ever lived.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30.
Maybe your soul isn’t healthy. Maybe there are a lot of toxins inside of jealous, anger, or just exhaustion. You don’t have to stay unhealthy forever. You don’t have to feel toxic forever.
What if this was the year where you learned to live freely and lightly? Where you found rest for your soul? What if you decided the condition of your soul would be something you take care of even if it means dropping the filters. Inviting Jesus in. Letting people in.
I hope your life prospers in all the things you love. More than that, I hope your soul prospers.
What is something you’ve done to create a healthier soul?