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Day 8 – How Is Your Soul?

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps. 42:11)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)

The word “soul” is used differently across Scripture, so it can sometimes be a confusing word to understand. At a very basic level, your soul is your whole being. It is your whole life, which we sometimes think of in various parts of our whole person—such as our body, mind, will, and emotions. For clarity, what we mean by, “How is your soul?” is: locate yourself—your heart, your feelings, your body, your spiritual life—and tell us how it is going.

When we first began experimenting with discipleship bands, we asked, “How are you doing on the inside?” But we ultimately felt that it lacked the spiritual overtones that “soul” contains. We also experimented with, “How are you doing, really?” Which is another way of saying, “Don’t just give me the standard, ‘I’m fine’ response when I ask you this question.” Do you know what F. I. N. E. stands for? Frustrated. Insecure. Nervous. Exhausted. It’s okay to answer that you’re “fine” with people you pass by or that you don’t have time to go deeper with, but in the band we are wanting to create a more honest context.

I like to think of this as a locating question. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we have had a tendency to hide from one another. We can even hide from ourselves. After the fall, God came looking for Adam in the garden saying, “Where are you, Adam?” (Gen. 3:9). Adam answered by saying, “I was naked so I hid.” God says, “Who told you you were naked, did you eat the fruit I warned you not to eat?” Essentially Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and we have been hiding from one another and blaming each other ever since. This question, “Where are you?” that God asked Adam is one of the most important spiritual questions we can ask someone particularly when given the trust, time, and permission to ask it.

So here is how I often go about answering this question: I take a breath and I consider where I am. You may find the following list helpful to locate yourself:

Am I:

peaceful………………………or anxious?
content……………………….or restless?
hopeful………………………or discouraged?
pacing myself……………… or overwhelmed?
connected………………………or lonely?
loved………………………….or rejected?
secure…………………………or insecure?
tuned into God……………….or feeling far from God?
loving others well…………….or frustrated with others?
gracious……………………….or impatient?
steady………………………….or frantic?

These are all potential indicators of how it is with your soul. You may comment on why you’re feeling a certain way or you may not be able to name exactly why. I can tell you from experience that consistently answering this question each week and over time has dramatically increased my self-awareness. Luke 6:45 says that “out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths speak.” What comes out of us is often an indicator of where the state of our interior life is. Sometimes good flows out of me, other times frustration flows out of me; sometimes love flows out, other times fear gets the best of me. What matters here is that when we are dialed in to how our soul (or whole self) is doing, we are more aware of the responses and habits that tend to follow the state of our soul. In practice, this question really only takes a few minutes to answer, so try not to overthink it.

I want you to take five minutes today and practice this. Simply get out a piece of paper and write down the answer to this question: How is your soul? You cannot get this question wrong. Just try to put words to what you feel internally.

The Prayer

God, help me to be attentive to my inner life. Help me tune in to what my interior life is telling me. Remind me today that my body is a temple of your Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me afresh and new today. Help me to be more aware of the way your Spirit is speaking within and to my life. Thank you, God, that you never quit pursuing me. I surrender to you all of my cares, my worries, my burdens, and even the present state I find myself in. Father, I am yours and you are mine. Amen.

For Band Interaction

Consider sharing with your band how your soul is today.