Soul-sharing… it’s what I do. But why? And more importantly, what’s in it for you? I value your time, so I’ll be brief with some backstory and then I’ll get on with the take-aways for you, because the truth is, there’s no point investing your time and attention in anything that is not going to better your life in some way.
Shortly after my salvation in 1999, I decided to continue my education to become a Christian counselor. The security I had come to know in Jesus Christ gave me the desire to help a hurting world.
I had a little college under my belt and so I picked up where I left off, first completing all that I could at Central Virginia Community College. Then, I began the more focused path of Psychology at Liberty University. At this time, I also had four children – ages 12, 10, 2 and newborn. See how our children just got tacked on at the end… yeah, that’s pretty realistic to what that season was like. Maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it sure felt like it to this mama’s heart.
As I juggled being wife, mama and student, I realized that it was just too much to perform as well as I wanted to at any of it. I had to make some tough choices. I remember studying that big old “Adolescent Psychology” textbook, cradling a newborn in my free arm, with questions about my purpose haunting me… “If I’m THIS busy as a student, how busy will I be with a full-time career?”
After many conversations with myself, my husband and God, I decided to drop out of college. I wrote my final paper about my belief that my children needed me more than I needed a college degree – at least, at that point in our lives.
Let me add that I don’t at all believe that everyone’s path should be (nor can it be) the same. There are so many variables to consider. We do the best we can with the circumstances we’re in. We fail, we learn, we press on. To sum up my thoughts about the variety of mom-choices out there: grace.
So where was I? Oh yeah, dropping out of college…
Although a career in counseling came to a halt, my work did not. I got very creative with the many ways I could benefit our family financially, which included saving $$$ in various ways, a home renovation (and selling) which brought us a very good profit, and also, some part-time work outside of our home. The good thing was, I had control of my own schedule.
Interestingly, my education for Christian counseling didn’t actually stop. I may have dropped out of college, but I was drop-kicked into real-world crises — one after another, which increased in intensity over the next 12 years– right up to the present. I had no idea how much baggage was buried deep in my heart & soul — even as a Christian. Difficulties have a way of forcing these things to the surface to be dealt with. It seems the increasing intensity somewhat prepared me for each crisis, however, I don’t think you can be fully prepared for some things. No, some things will shake your world apart until there is nothing left – nothing at all but a cry for help. The most recent storm brought me that desperately low.
I’m still not a counselor — instead, I’ve become a soul-sharer. I share my struggles, fears and pain, and practice holding fast to Jesus and His promises. This is the one, God-designed thing that I’ve learned that helps heal our brokenness — sharing and clinging.
My family and I have faithfully attended church since becoming Christians and I can’t emphasize the importance of it enough. First & foremost, these are OUR PEOPLE — OUR FAMILY. But meetings that are are formal and shallow (I don’t mean that in a bad way, you just can’t get but SO deep with formal meetings) – will never provide the most vital ingredient we all need for spiritual health, and that is the ability to bare our own souls. I don’t mean the general, vague things. I mean the hard things, the dark things, the personal struggles.
If this is unchartered territory for you and you don’t know where to begin, I know just where you should start — listen to New Life Live. New Life is a professional organization of Christian counselors committed to using God’s truth to help transform the lives of those seeking healing and restoration. Their radio broadcast is a call-in show where they handle the tough questions, struggles and issues people face on a day to day basis. Here is a sample of caller questions from their latest shows:
- I emotionally neglected my wife and she wants a divorce; how do I reconnect and save my marriage?
- How do I encourage the man I recently started dating to go to Every Man’s Battle?
- Can a narcissist change if he is also a sex addict?
- My 13yo son is looking at porn; how do we help him?
- My 24yo son is leaving to become a monk and wants to know my recovery testimony; should I tell him?
- What type of testing should we have for my 17yo daughter who is having suicidal thoughts and cutting?
- Our oldest son graduated college and married the same week; why am I so sad?
- Should I fight for my marriage and give my wife the divorce she wants?
Visit the show archives for lots more or search a specific topic — they cover everything.You can listen to broadcasts while you exercise, cook, commute, etc… These counselors have such a good handle on both the spiritual AND practical things of life. Just listening is a salve to the wounds of those deep places of hurt we all struggle with. It tells us we’re not alone! And what’s more, if you need to, you can call in with your own questions.
Some people think that we shouldn’t need specific help with this or that issue — such as abandonment, abuse, addiction, adultery, depression, etc… but chances are, those very same people go to their physical doctors with very specific hurts and ailments expecting specific treatment. Soul care is no different.
Maybe you’re thinking, I have no darkness, no real struggles… nothing I need help with. Can I encourage you to listen for compassion’s sake? If we’re honest, we have a tendency to judge things we have no frame of reference for. Many have been insulated from evil and hardship, so understanding and compassion doesn’t come easy. This is a great way to become acquainted — to truly care.
I’m not at all suggesting that technology take the place of actual contact and relationship building. I simply see it as a tool to better equip us with understanding, compassion and humility. Sharing my soul encourages you to do the same. Over time, we grow more confident to bring this depth of intimacy to our personal relationships — especially our local church families. In doing so, the body of Christ grows stronger and healthier individually and corporately – a take-away SO worth the investment for us all.
Your soul-sharing sister, Jamie = )