Our Problem

man with head in handsAustralia Beats the US.

If you live in Australia, I’m sure you’ve seen that ad on TV recently that claims Aussies spend more on cosmetic surgery than Americans. Now we Australians are usually into beating the US in whatever we can (or the UK or anyone we can compete against) but cosmetic surgery – really?

A quick search on the web this week says it’s true! The SBS website says… “Each year, Australians spend approximately $1 billion on cosmetic treatments… That’s around 500,000 treatments last year…  At a per capita rate, it is 40 per cent more than Americans spend.”

Dr Russell Knudsen, said “Some of the demand is driven by baby boomers who want to reverse the ageing process. They’re affluent, they’re educated and they’re living longer than ever. You used to die around 60, and you looked 60 when you died. Today if you live until 85, you still want to look 60.” Other generations seem to be driven by the Kardasian effect – an “I want to look like them” response. No – I don’t understand it either!

Our Problem

Now I live in Australia with the best weather in the world, and where I live, on the Gold Coast, we also have the best looking people in Australia. If you want to check out this fact just Google “Gold Coast Meter Maid” and have a look at the images. But regardless of all of this, we still keep asking the question, “Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Are my kids achieving enough? Am I doing OK? We all have this strange vulnerability that causes people to seek plastic surgery or approval from others. When that doesn’t happen it causes people to self medicate with alcohol or worse so they can feel OK.

I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Back when you were working and your boss did an annual job review and talked about your 10 areas of strength and the one “growth opportunity”, what was it that you remembered? We are all effected much more by negative news than positive news. To add to our troubles Brené Brown said of Americans, “We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, and medicated, adult cohort in US History.” But that observation also applies to most western countries.

Why is it so?

I believe the real reason is because of a fragile, vulnerable, precious thing about all of us called our soul. You are not just a self; you are a soul. 

The Bible says“The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,  and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 

So the truth is: You’re a soul made by God, and your soul was made for God, and your soul needs God.  That means you can never be self-sufficient. No matter how much you try finding meaning and purpose elsewhere in life, without Gods direction, you will always feel as if your life is just drifting along, going nowhere and doing nothing of significance. That’s a certain recipe for a discontented soul.

Now over & over in the bible the authors talk about this soul-driven need of human beings. One writer said “All the labour of man  is for his mouth yet his soul is not satisfied.” Ec 6:7.  I think that means we all work to provide for our needs but even when we provide for all of them we still have this inner need for something else. That’s a symptom of an unsatisfied soul.

The Deepest Part of You.

So the truth is your soul is the deepest thing about you,  and if you don’t recognise it, or even acknowledge it, or care for it, you will waste your one and only life trying unsuccessfully to find satisfaction elsewhere. You will waste your life on fairy floss.

This is so important because Ive been told that every language in the world has a word for soul. There is something innate in us that knows, “I am a human being.” And Dallas Willard added “What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul.” So if he is right shouldn’t we pay a lot attention to this aspect of our lives?

A Happy Soul

Now a soul is happy when there is harmony between my will, my mind, my body, and God’s intent for me. That’s a healthy soul. That is a soul doing well. Most of us can find a sort of harmony with the first three from time to time. But missing Gods purpose for our lives always causes fragmentation of our soul.

Some of us also get totally obsessed with me; with our opinion; with our needs. When that happens my will becomes a slave to my appetites – the things I think I need. Unfortunately even when our appetite is fulfilled our needs don’t go away.  It lays dormant for a while but inevitably comes back again. So we need something greater than ourselves. The existence of the word “soul” reminds us we were not made for ourselves; This is not about “the self”. The soul exists for God.  The “soul” lives in a context that is opposed to the “self”.

Unfortunately the dysfunctional soul doesn’t ever disappear.  It cries out through a thousand symptoms. The soul know it matters!

The Answer

Jesus once said, “Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,  and you will find rest for your souls.”
Friends I think that’s exactly what we need! You can keep trying to live like Atlas from Greek mythology who carried
the weight of the world on his shoulders. But if you do, it will exhaust your soul. The other way to live is to give your life to Jesus and let Him take care  of the outcomes. According to him, that is the only way you will find rest for your soul. So its your choice. You can keep doing what you’ve always done and get what you’ve always got or you can change and maybe find the rest you need in God.

 

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