It Is Well With My Soul - Now!
I sat in church one day listening to the words of an old hymn as uncontrollable tears streamed down my face.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well,
It is well, with my soul.
God began to speak to me, not in an audible way, but deep down in my spirit. “No need to strive, my dear one. Your soul knows where it’s to go. I gave it a road map. It has the truth of who you are, and it uses your spirit to help guide you. Your spirit is like your tour guide; it's there to help you find the way, kind of like a compass. It's there to help point you in the right direction.
"You needn’t worry for the soul has the map, and will work quite well in conjunction with the spirit if you will just trust that it already knows the way. It wants you to listen but because of your humanness--call it free will, your flesh, your ego, call it what you may--you often refuse. Your soul can't control where you go or choices you make, it’s up to you to make friends with your soul, to let go, surrender, to trust and allow your spirit to show you the way. Can you do that; can you trust this process?”
Trust, I’ve always had a problem with that word. I’ve been one who either trusts too much or not enough. I especially have had trouble trusting those in authority. I suppose it comes from feeling alone and abandoned a lot in my child hood. Dad left at age nine and really wasn’t there for me growing up. My Mom was around but had undiagnosed mental illness; that left her depressed, self-absorbed and needing to control and manipulate everyone, a narcissist of sorts. She had very little self-worth, what she did have she got from the many unhealthy men she loved.
I’m sitting listening and experiencing God in the depth of my soul through the words of song, “It is well, is well.” And I become aware of another voice, but this time it’s inside my mind. It’s wasn’t the same quiet, all knowing, peaceful voice I was experiencing moments ago. It’s this loud, obnoxious, neurotic voice coming from my mind. It was my ego, or as the Bible describes it my flesh crying out to be heard.
“Don’t listen there is no road map, there is no road, hello no stupid road map, just keep on striving, feeling lost, there’s no map!” Ignoring this voice, I fall deeper into my interaction with God, and down deep in my soul I had this revelation.
The Bible talks about the enemy of our soul, or Satan, an evil force that wishes to destroy the goodness of who we are and who God created us to be. But there is something even more powerful that can destroy us and the devil knows it well and often uses it to complete his task.
What is this tool I speak about? It's that crazy neurotic part of ourselves that is always striving and never at peace, the thing Saint Paul in the Bible refers to as the flesh. Romans 8:6-11 (NIV) 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
The flesh, carnal mind, or referred to in social science today as the egoic mind, is the false, mind-made sense of self which attempts to convince us that we exist separate from God, separate from other human beings, and separate from creation as a whole. It seems very alive and real and honestly feels very much a part of us, but it really is just a figment of our incredible imagination.
The egoic mind is why we wear masks and convince ourselves we need to fear what people think of us. It does not have the road map, it has no idea what the soul’s purpose is and in fact it doesn't care. It just wants what it wants, and what it wants is to be satisfied, constantly satisfied. It’s like a hungry new born tiger, striving to exist in the first days of life. It needs to be feed constantly-- it wants your attention, and more than anything it wants to exist, grow and become more powerful and in control.
Our lives are like this heroic journey to discover new lands across a vast wide open sea. When we are first born there is a spiritual map so to speak that the soul holds. It knows who you are, and speaks to your spirit and communicates who you are and where you are to go. Then life began to throw some curve balls your way. Your choices and the choices of others, good and bad begin to shape you. Some things hurt you and can set you way off course. You began to feel lost. The soul cries out, “There’s a map, just look at the map!”
The egoic mind wants to be the captain of your ship--it wants to hold the map even though that’s your spirits role. The egoic mind hates your spirit. It tries to destroy your spirit--tells lies about who you are. Your spirit listens and sometimes believes the lies, and then feels weakened, and becomes very, very sad. It feels oppressed it feels controlled, even depressed. It's hard to read the map; it can’t hear the soul, the connection is distorted. So you begin to linger off the path and it gets so dark you can't even see the map anymore.
Soon you begin to feel comfortably numb—you are off on the wrong path. It's kind of fun you think. You even hear yourself say, “Maybe there is no map, maybe I can go in whatever direction I feel.” The more control you give the ego, the more separate the spirit and the soul become. Worst of all the more separate you are from God and your purpose. Sometimes you are aware that your not walking in the light anymore, sometimes you are able to correct a little and get on the right path for a while, but most of the time you feel lost and disorientated. You have no idea who you are and where you are going.
Then one day if you’re lucky you begin to wake up.
Three years ago this was me. I had let my egoic mind tell me who I was, instead of my soul. I created a life that was so out of sync with who I was it was crazy. I was miserable, angry and depressed. I felt completely lost. I believed the lies, I had created a false life.
For a long time I had a sense deep down I was off course, but it felt like correcting it was impossible, so I would relent, lose hope, and just try to cope and put up with. One day in utter despair and the darkest night of my life, I cried out to God from the depth of my soul this simple prayer, “Help me Lord I'm so lost!” Then slowly but surely His light began to illuminate the situation. The darkness lifted and my soul gradually began to awaken. Like a huge ocean liner correcting it's course, my life began to shift.
I began to see the truth of who I was. God's presence was so strong, I knew I had a purpose, I knew I was created for something good. I knew God wanted me to just let go of everything my egoic mind had built. So I did it, I let go and little by little all of it disappeared--my job, my twenty year marriage, my home, even my physical and mental health for a period of time. It was the most painful experience of my life, this stripping of my false self.
It has taken a tremendous amount of tears, healing, and letting go to put to death my old false self. It’s still a daily journey and always will be, the egoic mind tries to create a new false self for me to hide behind. With daily awareness of the egoic mind, continual surrender to God I am drawn closer to understanding who I really am. My soul and spirit are in step with the plan that God has designed for me.
What I've learned in this journey of life so far is that there is a plan greater than me and when I trust life, it will show me the way, no need to strive, just breath.
If you are reading this and feel lost, I pray you would let go, listen and trust. May it become well with your soul as well, happy travels!