“The world values you going to the gym more than to the deepest places of your soul…” – Shauna Niequest, Cold Tangerines.
This is a post about crying. Not a post about the crying of physical tears, but the crying of our souls.
Honoring others’ souls is really at the heart of what I strive to do each day at work. When you ask God to see what He sees and feel what He feels, you see that all of our souls are crying out in one way or another.
We’re all facing spiritual battles. The enemy is prowling around waiting for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). It may be hearing of a student’s struggle to fit in, or to deal with some type of loss in their life. This is the opportunity God’s given me to honor that person’s soul. To tell them, if this world cannot satisfy us, then we must be made for another world (C.S. Lewis). That He Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). That if we believe, then “heaven is our home. Every day is one day nearer” (Knowing God).
I seek to carry other’s burdens, but what almost always ends up happening is that I am reminded thatmy own soul is crying.
You don’t have to be a Christian or in a huge life crisis to relate to my spiritual battle right now.
I’m simply feeling overcommitted. Nothing crazy, nothing dramatic, I’m just overwhelmed right now. Something’s gotta give, but truly, nothing I feel like I’m doing is worth giving up. I am like a duck who looks calm above water but is furiously flapping his feet underwater, trying to pretend I’m able to do it all. So my soul is crying out for two things, from what I can tell so far…
1. My soul is crying out for grace.
As I am currently reading through Ephesians with some of our fellow bloggers, I have been enlightened about how infrequently I live by grace. I do not give grace abundantly to myself or others. I am still asking God to reveal more about this to me, to teach me the meaning of this truth, and how to live a life of grace towards myself and others. By doing this, I become more like him. But my soul is crying because giving grace is never comfortable for me – mainly because of pride.
I just finished the bookRising Strongby Brene Brown. One thing she taught me in her book is related to whether people are all doing the best they can. I won’t spoil it for you — I encourage you to read the book and develop your own hypothesis on this first. But it has everything to do with grace, and God is teaching me how to give it to myself and others.
2. My soul cries for truth.
When Jesus was here on this earth, he was easily the most in demand person who ever lived, yet even He left to go to the wilderness, to pray to God constantly, to rest. After all he could physically HEAL people while simultaneously verbally stunning them in the same sentence! I feel like I can’t go to any wilderness (especially when you consider his wilderness was more like the Sahara than Yellowstone), and take time to rest. Even though I know that rest would shed truth on the things I need most. Things like my citizenship in heaven, grace, and yes, where God wants me to be right now and in the future.
But if I went to the proverbial wilderness, someone might miss me. I might miss them. I might miss an opportunity. I might make a mistake. Someone might be disappointed in me. Or the worst of all — people might FORGET me!
What in the world?!
Have I forgotten his truth?! I know it mentally, but my soul won’t believe it, so then it starts to cry out at me quietly yet consistently. Without grace and truth, I continue to flap my feet furiously underwater. Below the surface, my soul is crying.
Three verses that I need to remind myself of right now (maybe they can help you, too):
- GRACE: Am I trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
- TRUTH: And this is ETERNAL LIFE, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3
- TRUTH: What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Mark 8:36-37
We can’t do it alone. We aren’t meant to do it alone. I implore you, and myself, to ask your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to carry your burdens with you, for this fulfills the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). Don’t just keep flapping your feet underwater. Take the plunge. Tell your community about your desire (or desire to desire) to set your mind and heart on the Spirit — not on the flesh (Romans 8:5). Not what the world says. No one’s approval matters but His.
Lord, today I echo David’s Psalm 23. You are our shepherd. With you we lack nothing. Make us lie down in green pastures, lead us beside quiet waters. Lord, I come begging you to refresh our souls. Guide us down the right path for your Name’s sake. Amen.
So, yes, my soul is crying. Isn’t yours?
We want to pray for how your soul is crying out to you, even if it’s hard to admit it. That’s part of our vision for this blog. For you to know that someone you know (or don’t) is praying for you and desiring deeply for you to see Truth, even if you don’t know us or if you don’t even know if God is real. We will pray earnestly for you.