Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?
(Psalm 42:5 MSG)
Have you ever asked your soul questions like that? Why are you in despair? Why so down, so negative, so anxious?
If you’ve never done that, now would be a good time to start. Grab a cup of coffee, take a seat at your kitchen table, and have an interview with your soul.
Sitting at your table is a great way to start your soul interview. Here’s why: Imagine with me for a minute that you are a table. (Now, work with me here, okay?) It really doesn’t matter what kind of table you are… you just need four legs for this to work!
Why? Because if even one leg is loose or damaged, the whole table will be shaky and imbalanced. The same is true for us. When one of the essential areas of our lives is neglected or not quite tight enough, we will be shaky and imbalanced. We will easily tip and fall into despair. A damaged table can’t possibly bear any extra weight, so when the stress and load piles up, we wobble or just collapse. We need four essential supports in order to keep an even keel.
So, use the following four areas to interview your soul.
How is your Emotional Leg?
Emotions are precious and powerful, but they have their limitations. If you try to think with your feelings, for instance, you fall into all manner of false conclusions. When our minds take flight and our emotions take over, we get shaky. So shaky we might collapse or fall into despair.
The emotional leg of the table gets shaky when it tries to bear the weight alone – as if it were the only leg designed to deal with the issues of life. Overworked and under too much pressure (especially in tables with lots of estrogen), the leg ends up making the whole table unstable.
Feelings are great – we need them. But, feelings aren’t always the same things as facts. They might feel real, but that doesn’t mean they always correspond with reality.
Ask your soul why you feel the way you do, just as the psalmist did.
Go ahead. Your soul can handle it. In fact, your soul needs to think it through. The question acknowledges that your emotions are real and that they matter, but that they might not be based on facts. It will also guide you – like an intuitive detective – toward discovering the real source of your feelings.
You can also ask your soul, “Do I think with my feelings? Do my feelings serve me well, or am I their slave?”
Questioning your soul allows you to honestly assess your emotions so you can calibrate them with truth – and tighten up that shaky leg.
How is your Physical Leg?
We are fearfully and wonderfully made, so we need to be take care of of our bodies. Never discount the impact of physical wellness on our souls’ wellness. Feelings of despair might really be our bodies’ signal that we need to meet some basic needs. Your body needs adequate rest, healthy food,and moderate exercise. You know this. So do I, but I don’t always do what I know!
My friend, we know what it takes. We just need for it to take! We must not discount the unseen impact this has on our balance and stability.
You need your body to serve you because you’ve got a lot of life to enjoy!
If you interview your soul and answer honestly, you can discern if this leg is giving you the support you need. So take a brisk walk, drink a glass of water, grab a carrot stick, lay down for a spell, and think about it.
Are you being good to your body? How can you strengthen this leg?
How is your mental leg?
You have a power plant right between your ears. It’s called your brain. I hope you realize how capable you are of thinking, learning, and growing in understanding. Even more than that, I hope you realize that this isn’t just a “capacity” you have. It’s one of your most basic needs.
Brains like to be challenged. Your mind needs to have something to do, or it will create something to do – something that might not be so constructive. This leg needs to dance. Your body needs exercise and so does your brain.
Polish writer, Stanislaw J. Lec agrees, “You have to climb to reach a deep thought.” And all of that climbing is sure to make you stronger. If you don’t fully strengthen your brain, it will wiggle and jiggle itself just to alleviate the dullness and find a channel for all of its energy.
Ask your soul to examine that leg, so frequently the most neglected leg. See if it is being adequately challenged. If not, you can take some simple steps to make the necessary repairs. Spend a few minutes each day reading something that interests and challenges you. Then ponder it during the day.
Pick up a journal and record your thoughts and questions. Join a book club or audit a class from your local university. Feed your curiosity, and you’ll find an enjoyable, insatiable hunger.
How is your Spiritual Leg?
Hopelessness, fear, and depression often grow out of unsatisfied longings.
C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
We can try to fill the longing with relationships, religion, volunteerism, or just being good. But the deep ache from the bottom of our souls can only be satisfied in a relationship with God through Jesus.
Intimacy with the One who shaped your heart will truly and deeply satisfy your soul.
When the spiritual leg of your table isn’t secure, the weakness isn’t always obvious. This seems to be the invisible leg, but it is really the weight-bearing leg of the table. When it’s off-kilter, the symptom shows up in the other three legs. When our spiritual needs aren’t met, we experience the effects physically, emotionally, and mentally. When this one leg wobbles, the whole table trembles.
Which of the legs do you need to tend to? Please share in the comments below.
P.S. You’ll find even more practical ways to speak truth to your soul in my book, Me, Myself, & Lies. Visit MeMyselfandLies.us to learn more.