Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spiritual Health Is the Soul of the Self

Enjoying a spirit-filled evening on my birthday, January 29th with my husband, my mom, three of my four kids, my grand daughter, and one of my son-in-laws.  (Bobby's wife Hannah just gave birth three days prior so she wasn't there.  Angie and her husband Chris live in Dallas so they were missed too!)

 "...the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being."  Genesis 2:7

The Latin verb to breath is "spirare".   From there we derive the word "spiritus" which in English is "spirit".   When I read and examine the above account of how God brought man into this world by breathing into his nostrils I get an incredible sense of oneness and belonging with the creator of the universe.  He literally breathed us into existence and he imparted his spirit on us and in us.    When we grasp the magnitude of this creation story we can see how the invisible God becomes visible through his creation- you and me.    Why is it then that our souls or our spirit, the very central, life-force that lives at the center or the core of who we are can sometimes feel so disconnected from him and from others?  I'm not sure there is just one answer to this question but what I do know is that if I don't work on staying connected to God I can become very easily distracted.  If I unplug from my life-source, God,  I know that my day to day circumstances become more complicated and can even become fear-provoking.   There is a definite cause and effect scenario which takes place when I don't keep God in the center of my life.   Out of gratitude I work with intention on my body,  my mind, and my spirit or soul. (or should I say my spirit or soul first and then my body and mind).
  God never moves away from us but we depart from him when we cut him out of our daily routine or when we make hasty decisions without prayerfully considering all of our options.   I truly believe that "in order to know God we must know ourselves, and in order to now ourselves we must know God."

 I am a mother to four (thankfully) grown children.  For those of you who are parents I'm sure you will agree that raising teenagers requires wisdom, courage and strength.  Looking back I recall a time when our 14 year old was struggling with his self-esteem and also with with his faith.  For several weeks he just hadn't been the great, happy kid that we had known him to be.  He was having problems with his school work and also with his relationships.    One afternoon my husband, Robert asked him, "how's your relationship with God Anthony?"  I will never forget the question and I will never forget Anthony's reaction to the question.   As if it would rest on his lap, his head began to slump, as ever so slowly he shook it from side to side.  That's all he had to do to reply;  no words or anything else was necessary for us to see how confused and unhappy our son was at that moment in time.   Anthony's innermost essence and being seemed as though it was utterly lost.  In the depths of his soul he appeared to be struggling with a disconnection to God and thus a disconnection to us, to others, and to life.    This detachment was affecting everything about Anthony.   Fortunately we loved him through this relatively brief rough spell during his teenage years and he has grown and matured into a great 24 year old adult.  He now has a very strong and active faith and he feels called to share that faith with people who come into his life.   He is a solid example of a loving, devoted and faithful young man who loves to help others in many diverse ways.  He is involved in local and global missions and his latest  project will be in full-swing in just a few weeks.  He is leading a team of nineteen others to Nicaragua February 22nd through the 29th where they will build a school and a church for a very small village.  Please pray for Anthony and his team and if you would like you can make a donation to the St. Patrick Project by clicking on the icon to the right of this blog.  Please designate your gift "for Anthony Schuller/Nicaragua Mission."  No amount is too small.
*I'm sure if you ask Anthony now he will tell you that he had to work on his relationship with God before he could grow into the person who feels good about himself and others.   I have seen his example of dedication in the time he spends with his creator and I have also seen first-hand the positive fruits of his discipline.  His spirit is full of the love of God.

The dictionary defines spirit as "the life principle, especially in man, originally regarded as inherent in the breath, or as infused by a deity."  (I believe they got this definition from Genesis)   It goes on to say that spirit is "the thinking, motivating, feeling part of man, separate from matter but connected with life, will, conscience, and thought."   A definition of the soul includes "the immortal or spiritual part of a person which has no physical or material reality.  It is credited with the functions of thinking and willing and hence determines all behavior."
I think we can say that our soul represents the very center or core of our being and that all inspiration comes from it's essence.  This is why it is so important to keep God where he belongs and where he started in our human existence when he first breathed the breath of life into us.      
I love these words of Jesus found in John 16:7b  Incidentally, Anthony led me to them.
"...unless I go away, the counselor (also referred to as the friend or Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you."   Jesus spoke these words to his disciples before he was crucified.

We are promised that the Holy Spirit is available to us today.  It can enter and possess our souls and give us a feeling of hope and comfort in our good times and also in our challenging times. 
If you are facing difficulties, pain,  a sense of loss, or if your life is full of confusion and doubt, ask yourself this question: "How is your relationship with God today?" I do believe that your answer will tell you something about your life and it's journey towards wholeness.  Your answer will also have a strong influence on how you are functioning, relating,  and reacting to the world around you. 

God is blessing you.   Donna


  1. Donna,

    I like the fact that your posting about your family and their ministries. And, I am happy to see Anthony involved with the Tree Of Life and the St. Patrick project. It would be great to hear more about Anthony and his missions as he returns from his travel. To get to know...in your fellowship blogs.

  2. Donna, reading this it sounds for me like a sermon. Why not consider preaching at Bobby's church once in a while?!!! - Blessings, Swiss Rose

  3. Hi Rose,
    I'm not sure if your comment is positive or negative! The reason it might sound like a sermon is because I am talking about the "spirit or soul" and that is a "spiritual" subject. Since I am a Christian this means that my faith has a lot to do with my spiritual health. I suppose when I talked about the "body" two weeks ago I sounded like a natural health professional and when I talked about the "mind" last week I might have run the risk of sounding like an a"arm-chair psychologist"!! I believe with all of my heart that we are made in God's image, body, mind, soul. I feel a strong need to share on each topic. Next week I will talk about the "body" again!! As to your suggestion to "preach" at Bobby's church...he has plenty of speakers so I don't see that happening any time soon. Thank you for the compliment (if you were sincere!!) God is blessing you. Donna

  4. Hi Al,
    I will encourage Anthony to blog again. He did this before he traveled with "Youth With A Mission" and it was good. Maybe I can get him to post photos of his mission trip to Nicaragua. I am also encouraging Robert to start writing on his blog again but he is very busy with other projects and writing takes a lot of dedication and work too!
    Thank you for your comments.
    God is blessing you, Donna

  5. P.S. To Rose:
    Plus I am still a pastor. I love to teach. I just don't have a traditional church. This is our "blog church" Remember?!! He is blessing you! Donna

  6. As you quoted and then expounded upon well, Donna "...the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7.

    This encourages me in my efforts to live my life starting each day from the inside, then using my physical self to act upon where my Spirit leads me. I believe the "real" us are inside of us and the exterior is where we can expand our efforts to do that which HE calls us to.

    It sounds that Anthony is very much "living" his inner sense that way. I wish he and his group well in their positive project in Nicaragua!

    I certainly have learned, for me, times that I lived from my outside physical abilities first, I often did not get a good feeling inside, regardless the worldly successes I may have achieved!

    As I say you have encouraged me in my desire to live from the inside to learn what is best to do with my physical self!

    He is Blessing all, always


  7. When we aren't mental fit our body pains can't heal. - Blessingss, Swiss Rose

  8. Dear Donna,
    You wrote:
    It can enter and possess our souls and give us a feeling of hope and comfort in our good times and also in our challenging times. "
    However, the Holy Spirit is a person and would rather be called "He" instead of "it", don't you think?

    May the Lord bless you and your husband,


  9. Jan, can you tell me why he is a person? - Blessings, Swiss Rose

  10. Donna,

    Thank you for the clarifications, and truly hope that Anthony and his inspired missionary team succeed with building its school and church. It sound's like he has a lot of inspiration and passion for leading their missions. I truly hope that he will consider posting his mission pictures and doing a blog when he returns. Those are some big projects and would love to learn more about its mission and its mission sponsors.

    And, Rose, I am not Jan, but will try to help answer your question regarding the "Holy Trinity." as per the official doctrine definitions: That stated, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. And, stating it in another way, that the three persons of the Trinity are of one being. The Trinity is considered to be a mystery of the Christian faith, however, a very common belief and biblical knowledge trait in the christian faith of 3 persons as one.

  11. Thank you everyone! It's funny but when I wrote this I did it without any theological "experts" giving me advice. I gave some thought to using "it" for the Holy Spirit but after your comment, Jan, I decided to do some research. I do believe that since the Holy Spirit is part of the trinity it must be a person in that it is part of God.(the three in one) In this way it is not an "it"! I guess I just didn't want to go so far as to saying "he" as I know that Jesus was a man (God incarnate) but God is much more than just a man. He is man, woman, he is everything!!
    Sorry for my mistakes but keep in mind that I am not a theologian but I do trust in God to give me wisdom and knowledge. I'm not always correct! You are all so great with your comments and recommendations. Thank you!
    God is blessing you. Donna

    1. Dear Donna,
      Sorry for not acknowledging your comments sooner. I was confined to my bed due to a bout with the flu.
      Donna, I appreciate your answer ( and the answer of Al).
      Indeed, Jesus said in John 16:7:
      Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
      (see also the Amplified Bible, same verses).

      the Helper, of course, is the Holy Spirit, and definitely a Person, as you can see, if you read all of chapter 16.

      May the Lord bless you Donna.
      greetings from the Netherlands,

  12. And...thank you J.M for your donation to St. Patrick's Project for Nicaragua mission trip!

  13. Dear Donna,
    Again, thank you for this thought provoking blog. I can feel the presence of God more through the Holy Spirit at a time of grief or loss. That is how God helps us through the process of healing. My mother used to talk a lot about God using the word spirit.
    May God continue to bless you and your family.


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