Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg was published in April, 2014. Based on John’s conversations with Dallas Willard, Soul Keeping expands our understanding of the human soul by discussing what the soul is, what the soul needs, and the soul restored.
The search for the would always begins with our great hurt. We want to know that our soul is not alone, that our Father’s face is turned toward our soul. Our soul’s health is important because the soul integrates our mind, body, and will into a single whole. The presence of sin, however, causes the soul to malfunction, to dis-integrate. Since sin breaks the connection with God, the basic human problem is at the soul level. Yet we live in a world that does not teach us to pay attention to what matters. Despite everything in our world being all wrong, the soul can be all right.
John’s definition of the spiritual life is “to place the soul each moment in the presence of God.” Our soul needs to be with God in order to be well. As we walk with God, our soul thrives when we deliberately look for Him in the ordinary moments of everyday life. Sustaining spiritual practices connect us to God’s grace, energy, and joy- filling us with grace for our life. Ultimately, though, the soul craves rest. John states: “The soul was made to rest in God the way a tree rests in soil.”
It is paradoxical to note that while the soul is incapable of satisfying itself, it also is incapable of living without satisfaction. The only way for the soul to find satisfaction is in God. Thus the fundamental mind-set of the soul is gratitude. This gratitude will not come from acquiring more things or from our experiences. Gratitude comes from an awareness of God’s presence and goodness. Dallas Willard stresses that even the dark night of the soul is a “test of your joyful confidence in God.” Since God is worthy, we can give our situation and feelings joyfully into His hands. God is the anchor our soul needs.