Caring for your soul is about waking up to live before you die.
An excerpt from Soul Custody by Stephen W. Smith ©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
by Audra Jennings Friday, October 01, 2010
Exploring the Violence Done to Your Soul
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
“The violence done us by others is often less painful than that which we do to ourselves.”
—François de la Rochefoucauld
We’re in trouble. We need help. The American dream has turned into an all-too-real nightmare that sears our minds as we try to sleep. Life is not working as we think it should.
Look around you. Listen. You can feel it.
It’s the violence.
News updates constantly inform us that our world is in trouble. Rates of domestic violence are up; gang violence is out of control in many communities; rates of sexual abuse against children are on the rise; substance and prescription drug abuse are rampant. We deadbolt our doors at night and sleep with security alarms set because we fear the violence, the possible harm. We’re convinced it is crouching
at our door.
Job-loss reports and economic peril have acted like napalm, vaporizing our dreams of a retired life on a sunny beach. I recently asked fifty business leaders, “How many of you in this room are living with more fear today than at any other time in your life?” Every single one of them raised a hand.
Technology has been both a blessing and a curse. For some of us life has no meaning apart from Twitter and the Internet. We feel enslaved by our laptops and can’t get along without them. Google brings instant information, but little inspiration. We are overwhelmed at the e-mails, voicemails—even the snail mail crammed into our real mailboxes.
Uncertainty plagues our lives. Talk shows spin pseudo-optimism, and we momentarily believe that maybe it’s not all that bad. Deep down, though, we know it is.
And it is the deep down that concerns me most. We can’t sleep. We don’t eat right. We’re constantly on the go, burning the candle at both ends. Is it any wonder that eight of the top ten drugs prescribed by doctors are mood-altering substances to help us cope with our interior turmoil?
We are sowing havoc and reaping the whirlwind. We are giving up ground that should never be surrendered. We are doing more but living less, making a living but not having a life. Some days it feels
like nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic of our lives.
Violence, all of it. It may not all be physical violence, but it’s still destructive to us and the lives we’d like to live. The outer violence of the world rushes in and does its work on the inside, deep down in our souls.
Look inside. Do you see evidence of soul violence going on in there?
You don’t have to answer me. I know you do. So do I.
We need help. Our very lives are in jeopardy. Is this hell on earth the only way to live until we die? Annie Dillard, a writer, stops us in our tracks: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If Dillard is right (and I believe she is), redeeming the day is more than just a slogan. We need our days to improve so that our lives can improve.
Can’t we be saved from more than just our sins?
The wonderful news is that this salvation does exist. God never intended for us to suffer the kind of violence that’s being inflicted upon us. He never intended for us to inflict more violence upon ourselves through our own poor decision making. God provides means for us to be healed from the damage done. The kinds of choices we must make to find healing and experience transformation fall under the umbrella of soul care.
I like to remember that the word care has its roots in a Latin word that means “cure.” As we learn to care for our souls, we will also find a sense of healing from the violence happening in and around us. Caring and curing go together.
Thomas Merton said, “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.” The choice is really not difficult to comprehend. We can either choose to succumb to the outer and inner violence that we are now living in or choose to live in a different way—right here and right now.
We can choose to care for our souls.
Soul Custody: Choosing to Care for the One and Only You by Stephen W. Smith
David C Cook/August 2010/ISBN: 978-1-4347-6472-0/224 pages/softcover/$14.99
Audra Jennings is Senior Media Specialist at The B & B Media Group. Since 1987, The B & B Media Group, Inc. has used its broadcasting, marketing and advertising experience to provide the specialized and strategic publicity necessary to achieve the public relations goals of each client. The Barnabas Agency, a division of The B & B Media Group, Inc., is a proven provider of exceptional public relations and personal management services for authors, speakers, ministries and organizations.
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