The Psalms speaks of the soul a great deal. I find it interesting, considering so many Psalms were penned by David. Remember David? A king. A warrior. A sinner. A man after God's own heart. And from his earliest days, a shepherd. I believe David becomes a shepherd to his own soul in many ways. He pushes and prods it. He tends to it. He leads it where he wants it to go. He chases it when it goes astray. I think we can learn from David and the other Psalmists about our own souls.
The soul can experience many things. Check these out:
"But silence was a little overwhelming for me. I had let so much ‘life’ go by, and there were so many unresolved issues on my mind, that the moment I found silence, I immediately felt all those thoughts, feelings, anxieties, guilt and God knows what else that had been festering in my soul—all of it rushing into my mind demanding attention. It was as if my soul was a raging zoo, and someone had forgotten to feed the tigers for a long time. Who wants to open that cage?”
Silence is powerful. It opens up your soul and lets out all the supressed, ignored animals—the hungry, thirsty, wild yearnings that don’t seem fit for dignified, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. Knowing I couldn’t possibly unravel the tangled mess of thoughts, needs and emotions I had accumulated, it took me a long time before I was willing to try...sitting quietly in prayer, listening to them all and bringing them one by one to God."
- Lift your soul to God Himself. When your soul is in desperate condition and seems to be irreparable, trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps would be like doing first aid on a person who just lost their leg. Psalm 25 and Psalm 143 – “To you Oh lord, I lift up my soul.” Matthew 11:28 – come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will rest you.
- Rest, calm, and quiet your soul. This is demonstrated in Psalm 131 – I have calmed and quieted my soul (this is done by resolving to not be God in your own life) and in Psalm 116:1 – Return, oh my soul to your rest. By the way, I think this is what people-pleasers need the most. People-pleasers have noisy souls because they are always evaluating before and after they act to make sure they are doing/did what people wanted. That's another blog coming.
- Pour out your soul – to God first and if necessary, to another. Psalm 62 and Psalm 42: - I pour out my soul. This is why confession is so powerful. Once something is uttered out loud, it shrinks.
- Speak to your soul – rebuke it, tell it what to do. That's right. You just got permission from the Bible to talk to yourself. Psalm 57:8 – Wake up, soul. Psalm 103, 104, 146 – Praise the Lord, soul. Psalm 42 – Why are you downcast, soul? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him. This is almost always connected to remembering God’s works. That's the direction David goes in Psalm 103. Praise the Lord, soul. Don't forget. He forgives your sins, heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit. His love is as high as the heavens and He removes your sins as far as the east is from the west. If your soul is struggling to worship - REMEMBER. Make a habit of regularly remembering the things God has done – recount your salvation with gratefulness.
- Challenge your thoughts. Psalm 42 and 43 – why are you downcast, soul? This is also seen in the New Testament. Romans 12 – transformed by the renewing of your mind; Philippians 4 – whatever is good, lovely, right – think about those things
- Feed your soul the word of God. Psalm 119: 25-28 – when my soul is clinging to the dust, God's word gives it life. When my soul melts for sorrow, God's word gives me strength. Read scripture, hear it, memorize it, speak it, pray it. When God's word becomes obligation and duty, you are not thinking about it rightly. It is your life, your daily bread, your sustenance.
- Be patient with your soul. Psalm 62: 5 – For God alone, o my soul, wait in silence and Psalm 130 – my soul waits. The truth is, we can listen to our souls and tend to them and at times they will persist in their state. You can't take your soul to the drive through. Be patient with it. Wait on God. Hope in Him. He will not delay.