In Michigan you have two seasons: winter and road construction. But who am I kidding? This is true throughout the Midwest. I got caught in it this Sunday heading to the Chicago area to take my DMin class for the summer. There were times the traffic was stop and go (but still flowing) but then at the Indiana border it was like a parking lot. It took almost 45 minutes to go two miles. Not pretty.
Now, I'm not here to complain about road construction. It's a fact of life in Michigan and the rest of the Midwest. You see, during my time driving through Michigan, I was listening to the book Soul Keeping by John Ortberg on Audible. So, while going through construction, I was listening to how one can work on repairing one's soul. It wasn't ironic (don't cha just think) but it was fitting for some odd and weird reason.
I was listening to what it means to have a soul. We have our own wills—what we want to do, our discernment, etc. We have our mind—our thoughts and emotions which can run amok at times like chocolate cake. We have our bodies—which have their own desires at times and dictate to the will and mind what it wants and to have it now. And then we have our soul which holds it all together.
Yet we focus on our body, mind, and will more than we do our souls. And in doing so, our souls get hardened, they get shallow, and they get hurt.
The upside is that there is construction on the soul that's able to be done. It's just that it's ignored (a lot). Why is there a desire to ignore having construction done on the soul for soul keeping and repair? I don't know.
I think it has to do with the fact that, just like road construction, it gets in the way of our hurrying. It makes trouble for our every day life. We want to get from point A to point B and road construction forces us to slow down, pay attention to the orange cones and barrels, and make sure we keep the construction workers safe.
The same is true for construction on the soul. We don't want to slow down. We need to keep hurrying and keep at it. We need to constantly be on the go. We need to be busy. When we're busy then we're productive, right? When we're not busy, we're lazy, right? So we must hurry. We must keep moving. We must. We must. We must.
Dallas Willard, a friend of John Ortberg and one time professor of Philosophy at USC, said that we need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. To tend to our soul, we need to eliminate hurry. And this is what construction on the soul does, it eliminates that hurry. And we don't like it.
For some of us, our souls are hurting, are dying, or are hardened shells of what they should be. For some of us, our souls are shallow or caught up in the business of this world and getting choked. When we ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives, our souls have time to breath and be tended to. In doing so, we can begin construction on healing our souls.
Yet will we?
I like to tell people to make a "NOT to-do" list. This is a list of things wherein if you didn't exist for 10 minutes, the world would not explode but carry on. Yet we don't want to make that list. Instead we want to keep moving. But if we don't make such a list, our souls will burn out. Our souls will become downcast and hurt.
Tend to your soul.
Allow for a season of construction on your soul, slowing you down, allowing you to have healing and rest for your soul. And then. . . then you could say with assurance: "It is well with my soul."