Nina Edwards, Senior Director of National Training YFC USA
I have been thinking a lot about my soul lately.
Dallas Willard writes, “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. What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not 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. The soul is the life center of human beings.”
One of my favorite hymns has always been, “It Is Well With My Soul”. Something deep inside me wants my soul to be well. It’s mysterious, comforting, intimate, and reflective and my heart yearns to understand what a well soul feels like.
When we think about Christ-centered leaders in Youth For Christ, we have to pursue the health of each of our souls. Willard also says, “If your soul is healthy no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.”
Our connection to God and others must flow from a growing and deep, abiding relationship with Jesus. And I am convinced it comes only from an intentionally unhurried, reflective, Scripture-reading, prayer-filled life. That is the way I am ruthlessly going after health for my own soul.
It isn’t easy. Lots of days “hurry” gets the best of me. Often there are too many lists, too many meetings, too many agenda-filled prayers, too many moments of measuring my worth by my busyness.
But some days (and lately it seems more and more) I slow down to listen to God and notice others. God breathes new life into my tired soul with fresh Scripture; I hear His whispers of love and purpose and I marvel at the confidence to declare it is well with my soul.
On December 9 after a very long battle with ALS, my brother-in-law, Mark, went home to be with Jesus. My sister and I arrived at the hospice center 40 minutes after he passed away. As we walked into his room for the last time, one thing was clearly evident. While his disease-riddled body remained in the bed, his soul was gone.
His life center shed the body that no longer worked and was immediately present with the Father. My sister’s first reaction was, “He isn’t here – you can feel his soul is gone.” Never have I been more aware of the closeness of the Father and the absolute necessity of a healthy soul geared to live as God intended for all of eternity.
What is the condition of your soul? Are you courageous enough to be intentional about the care of your life center? How about the souls of those with whom you serve?
“Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life? He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:25-27