We all have an inner life and an outer life. Our inner life is supposed to be the guardian of our outer life. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to focus more on our outer life. The problem with this way of living is the outer life can’t truly satisfy the inner; yet, success in the inner life almost always satisfies the outer life.
Philosopher Dallas Willard said, “You’re a soul made by God, made for God and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.”
Your soul is the deepest part of you. It’s the part that longs to know and be known. It’s the place where your thoughts, will and body come together to find peace. To lose your soul means to lose your connection to God and other people. To care for your soul is to give priority to this connection intentionally. We are made for relationships. We were created by a relational God who invites us to know him and be known by him. Many people give themselves to a life of “doing for God,” while failing to realize his desire is for us also to be with him. Only when my soul is healthy can I truly be of use to others, and only when I am in a right relationship to God can my soul be healthy.
We often believe the next thing will make us truly happy. We say to ourselves, “I’ll be happy when this happens,” or “I’ll be happy when that happens.” In reality, happiness is not found in events or accomplishments. True happiness is found in a person. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it at its highest level” (John 10:10). In his book “Soul Keeping,” John Ortberg said, “My mind may be obsessed with idols, my will may be enslaved to habits, my body may be consumed with appetites. But my soul will never find rest until it rests in God.”
The soul is needy. It longs for meaning and purpose. The only one who truly can meet the need of your soul is God. His desire is for you to know him deeply. Say yes to him, and let your inner life guide your outer life to a place of peace and rest.
– Dr. Thomas Tanner is lead pastor of RiverStone Church and president of the Transformation Network. He and Melissa have two children and five grandchildren. firstname.lastname@example.org.