My Toolbox: Soul-Awareness

Before my eyelids lift to mark the beginning of a new day, hours are already spent.  I lay there aching, every muscle pulsing with discomfort.  My heart pressed into the pit of my stomach with that old familiar feeling of nauseating heartbreak.

No.  I won’t grieve.  I won’t let grief take over my life again.  I won’t let my thoughts misconstrue the situation… And yet, here it is, as palpable as the day my first husband died.  Loss.  My old friend and foe.  The one who conquers me and I conquer back time and time again.    

There is a cruel irony to my situation.  A cruel taunting of my worst fears.  A cruel dismantling of the new life I have built.  There is too much familiar.  It’s a lie that is too close to an old truth.

It’s the small things, like my little, red car Rosy.  The same one Lynn and I received after a bad car accident in 2009.  The same one I drove during my years as a single mom (with dents to prove it).  The same one that carried me from home to home…  Now, when I climb into that grey bucket seat, its just me and Rosy.  An old friend.  We have cried a lot of tears together.

In leadership or business culture, we talk a lot about the value of self-awareness.  We recognize the importance of knowing our own self, recognizing our strengths and our weaknesses, understanding how our personality works in relation to others.  But life has taught me a deeper level of knowledge that goes beyond self-awareness to an awareness of my own soul.   It goes beyond personality, character, and base level emotions to a deeper knowledge of my innermost motives, desires, fears, and dreams.  Instead of avoiding the heaviness in my soul, taking for granted the thought patterns in my mind, and repressing the emotions that fire away in my heart, I train myself to listen and acknowledge them with steady awareness and careful attention.

Our soul is the birthplace of life.  All of life flows from this massive, intangible, inner being that encompasses the mind, will, and emotions.  But the soul is deceptive.  It plays tricks and even lies.  Our soul writes a story and recites it over and over in the mind, then from that framework of thought our life is lived…  Most people are living a story they didn’t know they wrote themselves.  They just aren’t soul-aware enough to recognize it.

This skill is important in tough situations.  Lies are dropping like flies into the soil of my soul and trying to take root.  Whether I came up with them myself or someone else put them there, I have to see and know the things that live there, influencing my whole mindset and determining my outcome.

I am in charge of my own soul.  I am responsible to Watch over [my] heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).  I decide what story I believe in my head during tough situations. 

This one is a doozy. 

I already know I need counseling.

Crazy ideas are flying through my mind, especially at night when I’m tired and don’t want to fight them.  Sleep doesn’t come.  Everything aches.

As is often the case, when the soul is going haywire, it’s hard to go to the Word.  It’s hard to search those pages for my true story.  It’s hard to read the Bible long enough for God’s truth to echo louder than the false truths in my head.  It’s hard to keep my soul empty enough from all the garbage and receive what I need from Jesus.

But this is the Way Everlasting.

In difficult situations, when lies encroach, blame spews forth, when fears are screeching, and desperation clinging… Be mindful of your soul.  Be aware of your emptiness.  Because our own poverty of spirit is one of the keys to Everlasting Life.

“What wealth is offered to you when you feel your spiritual poverty!  For there is no charge to enter the realm of heaven’s kingdom”  (Matthew 5:3, The Passion Translation).

Beloved, learn with me the awareness of your own soul, and accept with me your own, inevitable spiritual poverty.  It is terribly painful at the moment but always results in eternal glory. 

Natasha Dongell


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