Excerpt #2: The Health of Our Soul

Excerpt #2: The Health of Our Soul

Please enjoy this excerpt from Bishop Pitts’ newest book, Fault Lines. See below for purchase options!

The Healthy Soul

Our ability to enjoy our harvest and to reap in due season is, many times, commensurate with the health and prosperity of our soul – our emotions, mind, will, and heart. To the healthy, stable soul, ethics and values are congruent with the overall direction of one’s life. These are the questions that guide decisions: What is good? What is honest? What is the responsible thing to do? What is the right thing to do?

Our interactions with others and the way we move through life should have an overarching, far-reaching, foundational ethic. When people ascribe to sound ethics and morals, we can count on them. We can trust them. And, for the most part, we can predict how they will respond to the circumstances and situations of life because they are people of principle.

Let’s examine what a healthy soul looks like and how it can give us a framework for identifying the warning signs of a soul under siege. We cannot expect to build correctly and move forward if we don’t have a target or goal in mind. The healthy soul is our goal!

People are considered mentally healthy if they are 1) in contact with reality, and 2) sufficiently free of anxiety so they are not significantly incapacitated functionally, socially, or biologically for any extended period of time.[1] Here are ten characteristics of mentally healthy people, which we could also refer to as signs of a healthy and prosperous soul.[2] We can then compare these to what an unhealthy soul looks and behaves like and the warning signs of a soul under siege.

  1. Able to function at full capacity both intellectually and emotionally.
  2. React and respond to life’s situations in a realistic and appropriate manner.
  3. Approach life with self-confidence, optimism, and a sense of humor.
  4. An unwavering sense of purpose in life.
  5. Able to relate well to a variety of people, with the capacity for intimacy.
  6. Accepts the authority of legitimate people and institutions.
  7. Lives a balanced life and knows how to care for himself and others.
  8. Dependable.
  9. Able to express and control strong emotions.
  10. Satisfied with their identity as God created them.
The Unhealthy Soul

Life-quakes happen at precisely the times when we feel least equipped to deal with them. In fact, the feeling of running on empty brings us into that weakened state. My observation is that many people who experience such shakings have already been dealing with the erosion of negative emotions such as depression, grief, or despair for years.

As a society, we are losing our recovery time. The current speed at which life moves seems unrelenting, compounded by a 24-hour news cycle and social media, which keep us continually connected to the world. We carry in our pockets devices that expose us to the brutal and unfiltered events and opinions of the entire world at any given moment. Before we can process and move beyond one crisis or trauma, the next one is already here. In all of this, we risk the health of our souls. Our capacity is compromised. Our well-being is the casualty. Here are some warning signs of an unhealthy soul.

  1. Abrupt changes (casting off long-held beliefs and guiding principles)
  2. Shifting ethics and values
  3. Radical changes in appearance and dress (drastic, not in step with their age or place in life, seductive/sensual in nature)
  4. Reckless spending and suspicious financial shifts
  5. Neglecting the physical factor
  6. Emotional extremes
  7. Changes in social patterns
  8. Abandoning passions/interests
  9. A faith crisis (condemning yourself for being human)

 

For more insight on each of these areas and a framework for building a life that can withstand, check out Bishop Pitts’ new book, Fault Lines, available here!

Footnotes:

[1] Paul D. Meier, MD, Frank B. Minirth, MD, and Frank B. Wichern, PhD. Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives and Applications. Baker Academic, Ada, Michigan, 1991.

[2] Michael S. Pitts. Living on the Edge: Spiritual Help for the Soul Under Attack. Cornerstone Publications, Toledo, Ohio, 1994.

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