Soul Health

Soul health

Over the past 3 decades or so, our scientific understanding of the mind and how it effects our physical health has grown exponentially. Research has started to reveal the truth that scripture has shown  all along. The health of our soul (mind) goes hand-in-hand with the health of our bodies. 

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." {3 John 1:2}

It's why I emphasize soul nourishment so much with clients -- health and behavior change begin with our thoughts and beliefs.

That being said, I think a lot of people misinterpret what that means. For instance, I am not saying that your health depends on how good of a person you are. That's works mentality -- not the gospel. 

To understand the concept of soul nourishment, we have to clear some things up first.

The soul is a mysterious thing. We can't see it, touch it or taste it. But we know there's more to us than just our physical, tangible bodies. We have a soul. We also have a spirit. Taken together, we are body, soul and spirit. 

This is where it get's a bit tricky. Isn't the phrase mind, body and soul? Or is it mind, body and spirit? The words soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, and herin lies the confusion. Both are mysterious, seemingly intangible concepts that deal with the inner workings of a person, but they are not the same. 

The soul is our mind, will, intellect and emotions. The spirit, however is something else. In everyday speak, the spirit is the real meaning, the intentions, energy and character behind something or someone. We often use the word heart to mean spirit, as in, "they have a good heart" or "the heart of the matter is..."

It's hard to put into words, but when we understand the difference between body, soul and spirit it changes how we view ourselves, which has the potential to totally transform the way we live.

Even though human words may fail to explain the difference between soul and spirit, the word of God is capable of discerning between the two.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." {Hebrews 4:12}

When we believe in Jesus and confess that He died and was raised from the dead to forgive us our sins and give us an abundant, eternal life, then we are given a new heart, a new spirit. This new heart is completely pure, and right in God's sight-- forever. It is this Spirit, the Holy Spirt, that enables us to carry out God's will. Not our own self -effort, but the power of God's Spirit within us. 

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. {Ezekial 36:26-27}.

If we ask God for it, we have a new spirit, a spirit of love, power and sound mind. But sometimes it doesn't feel like we're all that new and different. Why?

This is where the soul comes in. Our soul, or our mind, will and emotions is still the same. Our bodies still appear the same. If you still think and believe in your mind that "unclean" foods will defile you, then they still might cause you distress, but if you renew your mind with the truth, a truth that you now have a deeper knowing of in your spirit, then you will be transformed, soul & body. 

Let's keep with this example. Say someone believes that eating sugar and bacon makes them a bad person. This person looks at God's word and sees that Jesus says:

"it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person -- Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. " {Matthew 15: 15 - 18}

After reading this the person decides to believe it. Whenever thoughts arise that eating bacon or sugar should make them feel guilty, they refute the thoughts with the above scripture. Eventually they no longer have those thoughts or feelings. In this area, their soul has been transformed to align with the truth, to align with their new heart, their right spirit. 

Now how does this effect their body? Do they just eat unlimited sugar and bacon all the time. Probably not. Actually, intuitive eating research shows that when people give themselves unconditional permission to eat all foods, they end up overeating far less often. Further, this type of eating and a lack of food guilt are associated with better self-esteem and improved health markers ( better blood sugar control, blood pressure, BMI and blood cholesterol levels).

That's just one example of the transformative effect of renewing our minds (souls) with the truth. There are countless other examples I could share. In fact, you probably have some of your own.

To me, soul health means dismantling harmful lies about ourselves and replacing them with the truth. It also means taking time to rest and do things that nourish our mind and spirit -- like cultivating your gifts, reading a new book, hanging out with family, and meditating. These are all just examples of ways we can nurture a healthy soul.

But in our effort to nourish our soul, let's not forget that we didn't earn the right to love, worth, acceptance, or health through our own "soul nourishing" activities. We are loved and accepted just as we are, because we are God's children and it's His will to love and bless us. His love and the knowledge of Him set us free to care for our souls in the best way possible and empower us to be transformed into His image.

So it's my prayer that you'll receive love, nourish your soul, and be transformed!

Until next time, happy fueling & stay nourished <3