I think this is why I read my Bible before opening any app or reading any messages from others…
This morning, I woke up knowing I had a long list of things to do. I’d sent out a pretty significant email last night and wanted to check and see how “it had done”. You know, I basically wanted to check the approval rating.
So, I went to my phone to check and respond to hubby’s morning text (he sends one every day that he commutes to Dallas for work) and then opened my email. There was another response and it wasn’t bad per se, but it wasn’t really complimentary either. Or rather, I didn’t take it that way. My feelings, on the way down into my soul where the truth lies, immediately begin to prickle and the temptation to remain in envy and hurt and negative thinking (hoping something good didn’t actually work out for someone else) hit me like a huge wave.
Now before you roll your eyes and think, “Again? This woman is always writing about stuff that is vulnerable, tempting or hard,” please try to hear me. Not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but so that you can see if there is anything here for you.
This other woman – busy entrepreneur, making an impact in the world – is taking her path and kicking tail. She is different than me, perhaps further along the road than I am and she lives by a different set of principles than I do. But she works hard and is successful and she offered her help to me.
was is bruised. You see, I automatically judged, blamed and criticized her because I’m stuck in old stories, overwhelmed by old ways of thinking. I’ve bought the junk pile of accusation, taking sides and the definition of “better” from the status quo in our society and even as a regular church attending, daily Bible reading, worshipping Jesus lover child of God. I still have to make the effort to work through these things.
I’ve found that I’m most successful when I address things like this quickly. It basically helps keep the impending train wreck (happening within my soul) to a minimum.
I’m better than I was, but…there was still a bit of damage. Before, I would have responded to her email right away with a “fake it til you make it” message. Not authentic, steeped with resentment, criticism or something ungodly. I didn’t do that, so yay for a small victory.
But I did go to her Facebook page and scoff when reading some of the more recent posts (totally appropriate and hard-earned successes) I saw there.
Then I crashed myself into shame.
In “Soul Keeping: Caring For The Most Important Part of You”, author John Ortberg, talks about the self versus the soul.
“Ironically, the more obsessed we are with our selves, the more we neglect our souls.
All of our language reflects this. If you’re empty, you need to fulfill yourself. If you’re stressed, learn how to take care of yourself. If you’re on a job interview, you have to believe in yourself. If you’re at the tattoo parlor, you must learn to express yourself. If you someone dares to criticize you, you have to love yourself. If you’re not getting your own way, you have to stand up for yourself. What should you do on a date? You ought to be yourself.
What if your life is a train wreck? What do you do then?
Self is a stand-alone, do-it-yourself unit, while the soul reminds us we are not made for ourselves.”
A train wreck doesn’t usually take over an entire train track, but wherever it occurs, it causes enough damage to be tragic. No matter the wreck, the impact and destruction will need to be cleaned up and the accident evaluated so that it can be addressed and hopefully never occur again.
This is why I shared my less than stellar moment from that morning. It needs to be addressed – not harshly or with self-flagellation – but with God’s grace, His word and in prayer.
There are some stories I’m telling myself. On repeat. And most of them are not good. Like the story that just because someone is seemingly doing more or doing better does not mean that I’m doing less or doing worse. I can easily find many scriptures about “comparing yourself to others“. I read them and understand them on a head level and even perhaps on a heart level, but where I’m hoping to really let them sink in and change me is on a soul level.
“Innately we know that the self is not the soul, even as we do everything we can to preserve it.”
I am on this soul tending journey. Baring pieces of my soul to encourage others to do the same. Hear my heart. I know that you struggle with something in the depths of who you are. At some point, in some instance, you have asked after your soul in some way. You’ve attempted to understand you better, why you responded the way you did or didn’t speak honestly about what you truly believed. On your pursuit to better know your soul, you’ve had some wrecks, gotten cleaned up and gleaned some answers, but you may still struggle to overcome the things that sent you off the tracks in the first place.
This is my encouragement to you today.
Sit on that email. Set your phone down and let that text bubble go away. Reschedule that coffee date. Postpone that conversation. And before you plow through that thing eating at you from deep within, take some time.
Get in your Bible, spend some time in prayer until you receive peace, seek wise counsel from someone who will hear you and guide you back onto the track safely with understanding and grace; headed back into the loving arms of Jesus who knows you’re a train wreck in need of His perfect love.