“There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your own pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far from the wound you want to heal” Henri Nouwen (The Inner Voice).
One factor that makes the voice of the soul so difficult to hear is that its cries come out sideways: through our emotions, our choices, our thoughts, our relationships, and even our bodies. One of the most helpful ways to become aware of these sideways symptoms is to ask ourselves: when our soul has been neglected, what tends to emerge? How do you think, feel, act or relate?
Symptoms of soul neglect: self-absorption, shame, apathy, toxic anger, physical fatigue, isolation, stronger temptation to sin, drivenness, feelings of desperation, panic, insecurity, callousness, a judgemental attitude, cynicism and a lack of desire for God.
Taken from “Discovering Soul Care” Mindy Caliguire
Reflection: As I read this I started to do an inventory of my life for the past couple of months to present. I started reflecting on family deaths during covid, family, marriage, work, people and all the specific moments that I felt hiccups in my thoughts and my behaviour. Yes!!! One of my symptoms of soul neglect is my thoughts… boy can they run wild when not in check or fully aligned towards the presence of God.
Although I felt other symptoms I think my thoughts played a significant part in developing my “sideways emotions” like anger, feelings of desperation, feeling alone, etc. Not to say that those feelings were wrong or not accurate to what was happening in my life but my reflections are: How did I get here? How did I handle the situation? What was the outcome? Was my feelings even appropriate to the situation? Would I have handled it differently if I took my eyes off the problem for a moment or if I was fully in tune and connected with God would I have responded differently?
Sometimes we do ignore the soul thinking we can separate it from the mind and body yet function in our everyday lives and not have an eruption of some kind. We need to realize when we are running near empty, when our soul is in the danger zone. We can never drive a car on empty, we fill up when we see the indicators go on because we know it will do harm to the vehicle and cost us more in the long run.
Our souls are the same when we aren’t connected with God. When we allow ourselves to run low, when we step away, and when we avoid, the outcome is soul-damaging. We not only need to stay connected but we need to be present before God (in mind, body and soul), we need to be still (quiet enough to listen in solitude), we need to be aware of what our souls are crying out for and we need to be attentive to the voice of God as He speaks to us to get back on track to a healthy place to restore our mind, body and soul.
My soul needs silence and solitude, to sit in His presence and let Him do the talking and restoring.
What has your soul been crying for lately? Do you know?