I went into a bit of a spiral recently, feeling very, very tired (which is always a trigger for me), giving voices of desperation and urgency unlimited airtime in my mind.
A panic was rising up inside me—a fear of always feeling tired and depleted, a sense of disorientation, and an unnecessary pressure to get some things “figured out.”
Some breathing room has arrived through the following reflections:
There are a lot of popular opinions out there about how we need to do our lives, sell our work, experience success. And there are a lot of people chasing those popular opinions — some for better, some for worse. But, as Jesus (and my friend Corrie) asked, “What good is it if we gain the whole world and lose our own souls?”
THIS IS THE QUESTION, DEAR Souldiers.
Are we allowing pursuits that were meant to bring us meaning become pursuits for our worth? Are we allowing conventional wisdom to bully us into thinking we have to do it like everyone else out there? Are we busy doing things we think we should be doing instead of busy doing things that we have been called and created to do?
I wonder if the problem isn’t so much that we’re busy . . . but that we’re busy doing things that don’t matter to us. We’re busy doing things that are actually stealing our souls instead of nurturing them.
If I am busy doing something I love—and I’m doing it as an offering instead of holding onto it like an idol—I don’t think it will sideline me. If your pursuit is your act of worship instead of the thing you worship, then I believe it will bring you life . . . not death.
But how many of us are feeling dead. Or, at least, numb, glassy-eyed, like my dear friend Edna Pontillier (from The Awakening) . . . floating out to sea on the waves of our wounding.
In our attempts to live full and meaningful lives, are we:
(1) chasing something we’re never going to catch?
(2) allowing the lives and opinions of others to dictate our decisions?
(3) overly fixated on trying to figure it all out instead of letting it unfold?
(4) acknowledging and actively accepting our own human limits?
(5) gaining the world but losing our own souls?
Here are some words I’m meditating on as I, for the one millionth time, begin again, re-trusting God with my path, re-trusting that he has a spacious place prepared for me that I’ve been invited to live in.
“True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction” (Psalm 23:3, The Message).
And these beautiful words from the Beatitudes: “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matthew 5:8, The Message).
What good is it if you gain the whole world but you lose your own soul?
What does my soul need today? What does your soul need today?
God, we’re prone to panic. We’re prone to anxious fixating. We’re prone to strangling the neck of life. Help us catch our breath. Send us in the right direction. Help us get our inside world put right so that we have eyes to see you all around us, in and through it all. Show us how to live. Amen and amen.