“Your soul [is] . . . actually your whole person. Flowing out from deep inside you, it encompasses your body and expands out into your social world. In other words, your soul is so large that your body is actually inside your soul.”- Bill Gaultiere
In the Introduction to Journey of the Soul: A Practical Guide to Emotional and Spiritual Growth, coauthor Bill Gaultiere tells of the time he hiked the Tunnel Trail in Santa Barbara, CA. The steep, strenuous trail winds up and down a quick succession of three 4000-foot mountain peaks. And at times, the trail disappears. Even search and rescue teams lose their way!
Because the path of life is like that, Bill counsels, we need a guide to lead and encourage us. Certainly, as Christians, we want to thrive in our life with Jesus, the Good Shepherd. But at times we miss the path or get stuck in a dark valley. In addition, we often focus on our lack in life – lack of resources, justice, opportunity, peace.
However, Psalm 23:1 reminds us, The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. As Dallas Willard once commented:
“[The Psalmist] is living in the most real world where Yahweh is present and available and actively involved in the lives of those who know and trust him.”
Therefore, as Bill writes in Chapter 1 (“Shepherding Your Soul”) , healthy faith engages your soul on a path of following Jesus. This path, the CHRIST stages of faith, consists of six stages of emotional and spiritual development. As Dallas Willard wrote in Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (2002):
“Your soul, well cared for by God, invigorates and integrates all the functions of your being — emotions, thoughts, intentions, body, and relationships — into a flow of joyful, abundant, powerful, divine, and eternal life expressed in your unique personality.”
Thus, Bill stresses, your whole person requires shepherding with empathy and wisdom uniquely tailored for you.
Today’s question: What do you think of the concept that your soul is flowing out from deep inside you? That your soul’s so large your body’s actually inside your soul? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Trail angels – map with a big red star”