It is a poignant reminder of the importance of the condition of our soul and its affects on our mental peace.
“With the physical body there are basic vital signs used to determine the inside condition: heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and body chemistry. There are also certain vital signs of the soul to measure spiritual health and symptoms of disease. In his book Soulshaping, Douglas Rumford discusses fourteen symptoms of soul neglect. These symptoms are meant to be tools for examining your heart. The list is suggestive, not exhaustive, but begins to give an idea if your personal reservoir is running low. He suggests that our prayer life may be slipping if we see clusters of the following symptoms in ourselves:
WHAT ARE THE FOURTEEN SIGNS OF SOUL NEGLECT?
Busy but bored
Loss of control over life’s routine (work in disarray)
Loss of responsiveness to others (apathy)
Withdrawal from responsibility and leadership
Preoccupation with projects of lesser importance
Restlessness and dissatisfaction
Resurgence of unhealthy habits (diminished impulse control/resistance to temptation)
Guilt and shame
A hard heart (loss of spiritual sensitivity/callousness)
Increased irritation/insensitivity with others
You conform, not transform
Loss of urgency in our prayers
You feel good about your spiritual progress
These are symptoms of soul neglect that result from ignoring or shortchanging our souls. These red flags are warnings that our prayer life needs attention. Once a red flag is waved, our work may involve painful intervention, but it is better than letting the condition deteriorate further. Our call, then, is to rediscover prayer—God’s strategy for releasing the streams of living water which His Spirit provides within us.
As we assess the condition of our souls, we are taking the first steps of spiritual renewal. When we have the faith and courage to take that inner look, we are able to discover those things that drain our spiritual reservoirs, as well as those things that replenish it. We examine our hearts not only in times of crisis, but in order to avoid crisis. When we are regularly looking at our souls, we are able to engage in spiritual activities that will build our souls and put us on a path to spiritual vitality. When we experience spiritual vitality, we are able to enjoy God in the midst of life. A life of spiritual vitality shines, radiating hope and purpose in a dark and confused world.
So how do you know if your soul is healthy? What does spiritual vitality look like in the day-to-day routine of life? Consider these qualities:
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A HEALTHY SOUL?
A continuing experience of grace
A sense of expectancy that is rooted in faith
The ability to respond to and see life from God’s perspective
Resilience (ability to recover from misfortune or adjust to change)
Zeal (holy energy)
Spiritual vitality cannot be reduced to systems and methods. It is an adventure of love. Even as we grow in our knowledge of prayer, it can never become a ritual substitute for the spontaneous and authentic interaction and intimacy with our Lord.”