August 26, 2011

"Seeing the Self as Soul" - Karen Toews

I've recently watched a series of blog videos focused on self-care. They have been targeted towards busy Moms shuffling life responsibilities of young children, work, home and everything in between. Though I don't qualify in the first category - the rest is in my mix. The practical guidance given was based on our human physiology, chemistry and emotional make-up - and the presenter's gentle spirit could only add to the calming of one's soul.

The soul. Where does it fit in with this attention to taking care of my self - not a surprising query from one who grew up with the JOY Sunday School chorus: "Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between!" Though this posed a semantic question more than a deep theological concern, I believe it was no coincidence that at our public library last week, I came across the book, The Contented Soul, The Art of Savoring Life by Lisa Graham McMinn.

In the second chapter, Lisa expands on "Seeing the Self as Soul." The following quote is the essence of how she clarified this, referencing Dallas Willard from Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ. "...[regarding] the soul... that dimension of a person that inter-relates all other dimensions so that they form one life. The soul organizes our whole person: our mind and will, thoughts and feelings, body and social context, and through these, reaches ever deeper into the person's vast environment of God and his creation."

In this framework, taking care of self is an understanding that "I am a living soul who lives in a physical world and is held together by a spiritual world." This links well with other nuggets I've found in this great book - God created us for joy, having mellowness of heart, practicing fortitude - and I anticipate more as I slowly savor my way through the chapters.

I'm hoping some of you have read this book, and would enjoy hearing from you.

Do take good care....


  1. Sounds like a good book. I have come across many ways of defining soul, spirit, mind etc., and tend to gravitate to whatever is helpful without being too concerned with the 'physics' of it. This sounds like a helpful book.

  2. I just love how often that non-coincidence stuff happens. And too many times to count, I usually find the 'perfect' book for whatever I've been pondering and He's been bringing to my attention.

    I haven't seen or read the book -- sounds like a keeper!

  3. Karen:
    I learned that the Hebrew word for soul encompassed the whole being, demonstrated in the old English usage of counting "souls" on board ship, lost at sea, etc.
    Body, mind and spirit are convenient distinguishing labels but never operate independently.
    I marvel that God made us and loves us a "souls."


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