Caring for our soul is the most important thing a person should do. Notice the significance Dallas Willard places on the soul:
What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, or your thoughts, or your intentions, or even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. It is the life-center of the human being. It regulates whatever is occurring in each of those dimensions and how they interact with each other and respond to surrounding events in the overall governance of your life.
Our soul is like an inner stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other element of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. — Renovation of the Heart
With that in mind, here are 3 books (including the one referenced above) that will help you better care for your soul:
Erich’s notes about these 3 books…
- You absolutely must read every thing Willard has written. In this book, Dallas outlines the general pattern of changes in the six key aspects of a person’s life (thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul). You can find more great resources by Dallas here: Dallas Willard Ministries
- Outside of the Bible, Soul Keeping by John Ortberg is the second most significant book I’ve read to date (The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard is number 1). You can connect with John and his resources here: John Ortberg
- I had the chance to meet Mindy Caliguire at a recent Groups Conference. Her 2 classes focused on the importance of Soul Care. You can connect with Mindy and her resources here: SoulCare
Your turn… What are some other resources you’ve found helpful on this topic?
Soul Keeping by John Ortberg has quickly jumped on to my short list of “must read” books (you can find a list of the 3 books that have impacted my life the most here). In chapter 10, The Soul Needs to Be With God, Ortberg talks about 3 assumptions we should put to the test when it comes to the soul’s life with God:
- God wants to make every moment of my life glorious with his presence.
“This is the core of the ‘with God’ life. It’s not just that he wants to be with us, but that he desires to make our lives ‘glorious.’ …God wants you to focus on him. To be with him… Every day is a collection of moments, 86,400 seconds in a day. How many of them can you live with God? Start where you are and grow from there. God wants to be with you every moment. The psalmist say, ‘I have set the LORD always before me.’ Paul says, ‘We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ They speak to the need for our souls to be completely and thoroughly with God. But as both of these verses suggest, it does not happen automatically. ‘Set’ and ‘take captive’ are active verbs, implying that you have a role in determining where your soul rests.”
- The best place to start doing life with God is in the small moments.
“I don’t know about you, but when I stand on a bluff overlooking the ocean or watch the sunrise over the peaks of a mountain range, it’s easy to be ‘with God.’ …Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between… Which is why we need to deliberately look for God in the ordinary moments of everyday life. When I wake up, I invite God to “Be with me this day.’ Then I try to consciously experience him walking next to me. Not in a magnificent worship experience, but in the ordinary and mundane.”
- People will look different when I see them with God.
“People are a huge part of the ‘with God’ life, because we have to live with people. We have to interact with them. How we get along with people says a lot about where our soul rests. When we are living with God, we will see people as God sees them. If I’m aware God is here with me, and God is looking at you at the same moment I’m looking at you, it will change how I respond to you.
Your turn… Take a moment to share how these have been true in your life.