Sober Soul

Have you ever felt a little tipsy, not necessarily physically, but mentally & emotionally? It’s as if you can’t gain your bearings or gather yourself together; you trip up at every step you try to take forward & find yourself stumbling, grabbing hold of anything that is in arms reach to brace yourself. 

I’ve been reading through Psalm 107. I can’t get enough of it---I must have read through it like fifty times already. There’s this beautiful reoccurrence in the chapter. In short, it goes a little something like this:  

Where we lack, He overflows.

Over the past few months I have found myself at times stumbling over one day to the next. In some moments it has felt like I have been completely failing. Where was this good life God had offered me? Why do I reject the overflow of who He is & trade it for the lacking in my own soul? Or worse, I trade it in for the lacking found in someone else’s?

Ever since I was in High School I’ve been rushing, running to the next thing. I really wasn’t the biggest fan of high school. I couldn’t stomach the popularity games or the small talk of who was the hottest football player or what college to which I was applying. Who actually cares, you know? Who has energy for all that? 

So, I graduated early. 

Before you assume that I might be a genius or something, let me explain. I had an influx of credits from a previous high school I attended which afforded me the opportunity. I hustled through three college courses for the entire summer after my Junior year, submitted my transcripts, requested my diploma to be mailed out, & never looked back.  

Just like that, high school was over.

Fast forward to college. I had taken a year off during college to sort out a couple things, get a change of scenery, & re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my life. After all, I was 20 years old & that’s what we 20 year olds think will solve our real problems---running away. But does it? No. After that year was over, I decided to finish my degree after all. Instead of going back to campus, though, I wanted to fast track the situation. I had taken an entire year off; who has time for that?

So, I enrolled in online school. 

I worked double time through the remaining units needed to walk with a B.S. in Psychology. Meanwhile, I worked fulltime & had not a stitch of a life outside of either of those two things… because who has time for that? I walked across that stage, packed up my car, & hurried to San Diego. It’s so bad that, to this day, I don’t actually have the paper diploma in my possession to prove I graduated because I didn’t wait to receive it before leaving town…because who has time to wait?

I should probably fix that, actually. Yeah, I should probably call the school tomorrow. Anyway…

Are you sensing a theme here? 

I didn’t realize what an impatient person I had become until recently. And as an added bonus, I didn’t realize how stubborn of a person I am until I realized how long it has taken me to realize how impatient I am. I wasn’t just trying to get through school. I had developed a thought pattern and habit of rushing onto the next thing, the next season, the next level, the next, the next, the next. What is this “next”, anyway? No one has actually ever told me. I don't know where I was rushing to, but I was.

This impatience has translated into relationships, jobs, living situations. Even in conversations, if I feel like we’re not getting to a point fast enough, I get frustrated. Like, why is it taking you so long to respond? Why does it take me so long to spit it out? My impatience isn’t partial to myself, either---I rush myself often & get frustrated if I feel like I’m lagging behind. 



It’s a lot. 

& It’s kind of embarrassing. 

“Where was I rushing to, before? What was I grasping at?” I think.

Our souls are parched. 

I know because mine has been parched for too many days than I’d like to admit.

We grasp at what surrounds us because our souls are grasping for satisfaction. Our entire being craves for something more. Always more. It’s never truly content. 

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing except that the majority of us are far too demanding of the wrong things and the wrong people to fill us, affirm us, & save us.

We probably wouldn’t ever put it that way, though, because we’ve been so carefully taught what to say to sound holy. But our hearts and our souls don’t speak the written word. They speak a different language, one that is translated through observable behavior & spiritual and emotional health. 

Too many of us are living with drunkin’, toxic souls. Hurrying from one thing to the next, or one person to the next, & we stumble through life. We don’t stop to think about what this left turn will result in, & even if we have, we can’t really trust our blurred vision because we haven’t taken the time to focus. The thrill of that moment dulls, as it always will, & we wake up to a harsh reality, dehydrated & weak. 

Have you ever felt this thirst? The kind that goes deeper than thought or experience, but resides in the unseen places of your heart & soul. I have. It’s left me aching---not a physical ache that can be remedied by medication or rest. It’s an aching that searches, analyzes, & tastes everything it encounters, asking the same question, “Will you finally satisfy?” The answer has more often than not been “no” because the question has been directed to the wrong aspects or wrong people of my life.  

Psalm 107 shares with us the goodness, willingness, & ability of God. The lacking of our souls craves the overflow of who He is. Nothing else will do. There are four situations in Psalm 107 that I think we can all relate to: 

1)    Feeling lost as if we were in the desert, thirsty & hungry (Psalm 107:4-9).

2)    Feeling trapped, held captive, or in bondage to something (Psalm 107:10-16).

3)    Feeling sick, weak, or diseased (Psalm 107:17-22).

4)    Feeling unstable, chaotic, unsure & fearful of what was coming next (Psalm 107:23-32).

Even though I’m pretty sure the author was listing physical hardships at that time, I think we all experience these challenges mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. But whatever the situation, God’s response is the same:

“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;

He got you out in the nick of time.

Psalm 107:6; 13; 19; 28

 When we feel lost, thirsty, and hungry, He finds us, offers us water & plenty to eat: 

“He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:9

When we get ourselves into bad situations, find that its too much for us to handle, feel trapped & on our way to destruction, He shows up on the scene in His mercy & rescues us: 

“He led you out of your dark, dark cell, broke open the jail and led you out.” Psalm 107: 14

When we fail to care for ourselves & run our souls to toxic spaces, or when we get news of an unexpected illness & physical disease, He offers us a remedy unlike anything this world can manufacture: 

“He spoke the word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death.” Psalm 107:20

When we find ourselves in uncharted territory & stuck in the chaos of life, ready to throw in the towel & give up, He calms our hearts or calms the storm & helps us on our way to where He intended us to be: 

“He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and he led you safely back to harbor.” Psalm 107:30

In every depleted, confused, dissatisfied moment of our lives, we can guarantee that we were expecting the wrong person, thing, or opportunity to fill the emptiness we were experiencing. The crazy thing is, we don’t have to make it so hard on ourselves. 

So what is our remedy, than? Here's what I think...

Slow down. Stop giving into the temptation of the hurried life. Drink up the truth of God’s word. Get to know Him & who He has designed you to be. That takes time---your entire life, in fact. 

Release the people that surround you from the pressure of having to be your source of affirmation & relief of loneliness. Enjoy them only for what they are: gifts, not cures. Seek out the wholeness that only God can provide & observe how freeing it can be for you & your relationships. Allow God to detoxify the pieces of your life that need it most. 

Instead of waking up as if we are already defeated, let’s wake up with a fresh anticipatory feeling.
Lets wake up with a sober soul.

Alexa | Joy

Alexa JoyComment