Just Like Our Bodies, Our Soul Needs Care Taking Too
“The soul is the inner life as opposed to the outer life.” John Ortberg, Soul Keeping. It’s separate from our body, but just like our bodies, our soul needs to be cared for too. When unhealthy thoughts and feelings go unchecked it can wreak havoc on our soul’s ability to find joy and rest. It is important to pay attention to warning signs that are telling us our soul needs tending. Some alarm bells may include lack of peace and contentment, and a constant stirring of unsettled, fearful, anxious or doubtful thoughts. We must address the things in our lives that are hurting our soul’s well-being. For me, fear is an enemy to my soul’s contentment, and I must deal with fear to take care of my soul.
When Fear Thrives, the Soul Becomes Deprived
Fear is a big culprit to sabotaging our soul’s health. When life presents challenges like financial hardship, marriage issues, raising children in the modern culture, or sickness our soul can become overwhelmed with fear. We can experience sleepless nights, restless thoughts and tummy aches. It may become difficult to make decisions. We can easily lose sight of God, and His peace can seem faraway. Our soul feels malnourished because fearful thoughts and feelings are pushing away or crowding out truth, hope and trust in God.
To Take Care of Our Soul We Need to Take Care of Fear
Have you ever dreamed of life without fear? Since life is constantly changing fear is an emotion that will never completely go away. However, we want to be careful that fearful thoughts and emotions don’t grow into a fearful spirit. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity” (2 Timothy 1:7). When we feed our fears with constant worry and doubt the spirit of fear has a chance to flourish, and that is not God’s desire for us. Also, fear can harm our faith, hope, and trust in God, and that affects the health of our soul. So, if we want our soul to be in good condition, we need to take care of our fear. But how?
When Fear is Deprived the Soul Begins to Thrive
Taking care of fear is not like taking care of our body. Rather than feeding and nourishing our fear we must starve and neglect it. Since fear feeds on thoughts and emotions the obvious antidote is to takeaway those thoughts and emotions. However, if you’ve ever tried to diet by taking away cookies, cakes and chips you may have noticed that all you thought about was cookies, cakes and chips! Instead of focusing on taking away or using “will power” to starve our fears we want to focus on putting in good nutrients…so much that it crowds our fears. By feeding our soul with the proper foods our soul will begin to thrive and when our soul thrives our fear will naturally be deprived.
Prebiotics for the Soul
If you aren’t familiar with prebiotics, it sounds similar to probiotics, but acts much differently (to learn more click here). Prebiotic fiber is food for the “good” bacteria in your digestive system. It causes the “good guys” to grow and it crowds out the “bad guys” thus making a healthier digestive system. That is exactly the approach we want to take when taking care of the fear that hurts our soul. God’s Spirit already lives in us, and to crowd out fear we need His presence to grow bigger. The prebiotic we want to take in is God’s truth, and the ingredients include power, love and a sound mind.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
Ingredient #1 Power
When you’re afraid does your soul feel powerless? Fear doesn’t want us to remember the power that God put within us by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides, directs and changes us from the inside out (John 16:13). He leads only by God’s Word, and He will counsel us in all things shedding light on the dark parts of our hearts and minds. To have victory over fear we must nurture our relationship with the Holy Spirit. On our own, it is difficult to deprive or “will” our fear away…we need the Spirit to swell up and snuff out our worries and doubts. Daily we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up (Ephesians 5:18) with truth. The Bible tells us to, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). A sword is a long, bladed weapon used for slashing or thrusting against an enemy. With the Spirit of Truth inside us we have power to cut through the fearful thoughts and emotions that are attacking our souls.
Ingredient #2 Love
Fear and love cannot exist together. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 ESV). The more we grow in understanding just how much God loves us the less afraid we will become. Imagine a child trying to go to bed, but she is afraid of the dark, and of bad dreams. So, she pulls the covers over her head and trembles in fear unable to fall asleep. However, when mom or dad comes into the room and gets under the covers with her, the parent’s love brings comfort and safety. The very presence of the parent causes fear to retreat and suddenly the child is able to relax and fall asleep. Love is more powerful than fear, and as the parent’s love comforted the child, fear had no choice but to shrink. God’s love is like that, but even greater. Our fears can be strong and scary, but God’s love is perfect, and it gives us confidence, strength and it has the power to quiet our soul. To read more about God’s love go to 1 John 4:9-18.
Ingredient #3 Sound Mind
Have you ever noticed how powerful thoughts are? What we think often leads to how we feel and that affects our soul. If we are consumed with worrisome and doubtful thinking it can seem impossible to reason clearly and make good decisions. To truly have a sound mind we need to allow God to transform our thought life. When we overthink the things that scare or worry us it can lead to fearful and anxious emotions. However, we when think upon truth our emotions are uplifted and hopeful. The Bible says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by the changing of the way you think” (Romans 12:2). It’s true we live in a very fearful world and that can impact the way we live, but God doesn’t want us to conform to worldly ways, rather He wants to transform our minds. First, we must decide that God’s view of the matter is greater, and that His way is the correct way to think about the situation. We must discipline our minds to stay calm, be self-controlled and to think upon His truth by mediating on the Word…even savoring it. The more truth we store in our heads and hearts the less space there is for fear to thrive.
The Amplified Bible provides additional insight into what a sound mind is: “of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]” (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP).
It is impossible to eliminate fear completely, but we can crowd it out. When we combine the power of the Holy Spirit with love and a sound mind our fears will be deprived of nutrients and our soul will be nourished. By filling our heart and mind with truth our soul can thrive even in difficult and challenging times. We must always remember that… “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Claim it, memorize it and mediate on it! That’s truth! What other Bible verses have helped you to take care of your soul by taking care of your fear?