Saturday, January 25, 2020

how do I take care of my soul?

Heroin quickly enters the blood stream and flows to the brain where it releases dopamine in rushes; the interior world filled with a pleasant rush, a gentle ease. A friend explained it like this to me,
"You know when it's raining hard and you drive under a bridge? And for a quick moment, everything's still under the bridge? That's kinda what heroin feels like. You're under the bridge in a quiet break."

I went to my first AA meeting a few weeks ago. It was a delight. Felt like family and hope. And honesty. A room full of people who understand what it's like to escape life to get some peace inside. People who have realized that the peace substance addiction provides is fake, a lying fake. People who have declared war on addiction. People who are winning. And finding new ways to get peace inside.

Our insides.

These interior worlds we live in--thoughts, dreams, feelings, doubts, sins--are our permanent homes.
We can't get away from ourselves.

Like honestly, what's happening inside of you? Take a look around. What's your most frequent thought? Is it healthy or harmful? Bright or terrorizing? What words best describe your interior world?

A desert?
A septic tank?
A garden?

Sweating, lifting weights, jogging around the block; I like moving because God gave me a body to live in and I want to take care of it. But no matter how much I sweat and lift and jog, this body ain't gonna last. So the more important question; our souls--how do we take care of those?

"The body matters and physical exercise is of some benefit, but what we really need to guard and tend is our soul, for from it flows the wellsprings of life."
-Dick Brogden

Through this past year in Kentucky and through lots of past years in Hong Kong and Illinois and flying around Southeast Asia and becoming intimately acquainted with falling apart, I'm noticing my interior world easily becomes a stinky maniac place that's crammed full and drab and not at all like the kind of place where anyone would want to live.

It’s not just when we move across the world. It’s when we compare ourselves to other people or wonder if we’ll ever be good enough or start dreaming about sleeping with someone we shouldn’t be dreaming about sleeping with or we become obsessed with everyone’s opinion of us or we escape life with heroin or live consumed with stress or let a little offense turn into a nasty humongous offense or a jillion other things.
Life’s hard and it’s easy for our hearts to get hectic. 

But, but, but, no matter what condition I get my heart into, looking at Jesus heals it.

Looking at Jesus.  

My interior world needs His constant help. It can get ugly in here fast. I have found Jesus to be the only one with the ability to transform my interior world into a spectacular space.

Looking into Jesus’ Eyes always produces the same thing — wow. He loves me. Then He lights a candle and decorates with peace.

When I look at Jesus, I see Someone who is looking back at me. Someone who is enjoying me. Someone who likes my company. Which is what Mike Bickle believes is the greatest emotional need of every human being; to know that God enjoys us.

We look into Jesus’ eyes and He brings peace to the war, beauty to the ashes.

"Looking into Jesus’ eyes" is another way to say “pray.”

But we’re not praying to a far away phantom in the sky. We’re praying to a Jewish Gentleman with real eyes and a real heart and real hands who walked dusty streets in Israel in human skin and touched people with leprosy who no one else would touch and His touch took their leprosy away and He died and went to Hell and took the keys and now lives in Heaven in love with you and me, still with skin — this is the Man we’re invited to look at inside of us. 

If it’s possible to look at God inside of us, perhaps we should ask the question my friends in rehab have been asking, 

A lady who has given her life to prayer and worship, Misty Edwards, sings these words to Him--'You are as near as turned attention.”

She suggests we simply turn our attention to Him and there He is.  
Look for Him and find Him. Right here inside of us.

I like reading what the Bible has to say about what Jesus looks like. Revelation 1 is one of my favorites. 

Verse 14: 
 The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire.  

His eyes are like fire. 

What does fire do? 
Warms, cozies, destroys, forges, spreads.

All activity I need to happen inside of me. 
I need my cold heart warmed, my lonely heart cozied, my sin destroyed, my heart forged and shaped, God’s good in me spread. 
And sometimes life is just frigid and we need a fire nearby to survive. 

His eyes are what our souls need. 

Hebrews 12:2—let us fix our eyes on Jesus.     

Our hearts don’t become beautiful places because life is easy peasy and we're dancing through our days like daisies. Life's got hard and sad and intense struggles and no one's excluded.

King David had monstrous problems and disgusting sin and enemies trying to kill him, but at the same time, seemed to maintain a vibrant inside.
King David knew about looking at God. 

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His Temple. 

David’s heart always came back to that place--wanting and seeking and gazing upon God. 

One blog post doesn't fix your or my interior worlds. But maybe it can help us take a healthy step in the right direction. And because I have plenty of interior chaos, I have plenty of opportunity to let God teach me how to look at Him and find peace. Here are a few tips I've found to be helpful.
Ok. I love you.

p.s And, worshipping God in my bedroom while playing worship sets like this. That helps me, too.