We live in a time where it has become fashionable to suffer. We wear it like a badge of honour if we can out boast others when comparing how difficult and hard life is. Yet in the Bible we read how John writes, “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” (3 John:1-2) God wants us to prosper and be healthy, but both these areas are directly related to the soul. In actual fact, the soul is the foundation of all prosperity which goes beyond just having a big bank account. But here is our problem; in the Church world we are taught that the spirit is the most important part of a human and that the spirit is supposed to be our focus. To emphasise this idea it is often taught that the flesh, which includes the soul, is bad. 2 Corinthians 5:17 however tells us we are new creations, not just new spirits! For Christians, our soul, spirit and body are now new in God. This is important to realise, because when we think that our soul is The level that you allow God to love you, and you love yourself, is the level that you’ll love those around you. If we want to live a prosperous life, it’s important that we value ourselves. TAKEAWAY FOR THE WEEK So today I want to encourage you with this thought: Your soul matters to God, so it should matter to you. How can you take one active step this week towards a prosperous life by taking good care of your soul? Maybe it’s taking some time to journal about the season you’re in? Or perhaps your soul needs some quality time with good friends? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Give yourself a heart check-up today and listen to what your soul is telling you it needs. If you’re going to love the Lord “…with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5), then you have to have value for your soul. If we’re going love others well, and let compassion and mercy flow from our hearts, our souls must first be in good health. This week, I pray that your soul will boast in the Lord, and prosper as a foundation for your well being! I bless your soul to be lead well by your Spirit today, I bless it with peace in every situation that may come your way, and I bless it to boast in the Lord’s goodness!
As a pastor I am aware that people experience pain, because life is not easy and it leads to emotional scars. Most of the counselling I do is people training to deal with pain. The problem is that by the time they reach my office the pain they experience is so intense they just want it to stop. They desire to remove the pain is so great that they struggle to hear the practical suggestions we all can do to deal with pain. So before you end up in someone’s office, consider these practical suggestions to deal with your emotional pain. 1. Forgive those who caused you pain. Someone wrote that forgiveness is the first step out of pain, but not the last. Forgiveness releases you from bondage and frees you to begin living in peace, because it is the first step to not live in response that person. There are a few things that you should know about forgiveness. First of all, forgiveness is an act of your will, not a manifestation of your desire. In other words, forgiveness doesn’t have to feel good. Second, forgiving someone doesn’t preclude you from experiencing pain when he or she is around, and it doesn’t mean you have to trust them. Forgiveness simply means you no longer will the person to be punished. 2. Change the way you think about pain. Let’s face it, time does not heal, but what pain does is present us with an opportunity. Pain shows us that something is wrong and where that wrong is. It is meant to move us towards recovered, towards action. That is why the Bible says that we count it all joy when we face trials, because it will lead to growth. Pain is not something to avoid, it is something to lean into, to learn from, to grow, but that require a change in the way we look at pain. 3. Allow yourself to mourn. Contrary to popular opinion, mourning isn’t sitting in a dark room thinking about your agony until you become angry and overwhelmed. The process of mourning that leads to wholeness has a beginning and an end. Mourning entails being present in the moment and experiencing the moment for what it is. If you need to cry, then you cry, if it involves anger, then experience the anger. Mourning becomes toxic when people move away from what is authentic in the time of mourning, trying to be strong, or behave in a way they think they should. Allow yourself the space to mourn. 4. Strengthen the broken places you discover. If the process of walking out of pain goes unexamined you will end up in an emotional downward spiral. If you examine your pain you will discover broken places and you can take small steps to repair those broken places. It might mean reading a book on the subject, or speaking to a professional, but the opportunity pain presents us is also a call to action, to something about the brokenness we discover in our lives. 5. Pace Yourself. I heard a counsellor once say that processing pain is a lot like lifting weights. If you lift weights every day, all day long, instead of getting stronger you’ll break your body down to the point that it can’t do anything. In the same way, if you process pain all day long, every day, you will have what we call an emotional breakdown. Therefore, it’s essential that you pace yourself. It’s also important, as you are working through emotional times or stressful seasons, that you eat healthily, sleep well, exercise often, and have fun. Walking through pain is not easy, but you can make it to the other side. Walking through pain is definitely worth it, because it sets you free, makes you stronger and in the end the winner. So use these tips and allow pain to make better and not bitter.