Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;”-Lamentations 3:17
Welcome to Week 2 of our mini-series on life-changing listening. A close friend recently encouraged me to “lean into pain.” I knew exactly what she meant when she said it, even though I had not heard the expression before. She was offering me wise counsel as I continued to wrestle with the fact that my father was no longer here.
That conversation led me to the Old Testament book of Lamentations, written in a memorable acrostic pattern with 22 verses in four of the five chapters and with the middle chapter having 66 verses, a multiple of 22. The author moved between despair and hope, current reality and future vision. His comfort was in Divine love and mercy, notwithstanding the existing struggles.
Have you ever felt disquiet in your soul? Something within just doesn’t feel right. Maybe it was caused by a relational conflict, a mistake you regretted, a difficult decision you need to make or a conversation you have been putting off. When inner peace is absent, so is real happiness. This was the experience of the author of Lamentations, cited above.
I commend the pursuit of peace by Dele Alli, a former player on England’s national football team. He chose the path of radical realness, as he spoke openly about being sexually abused as a child and the internal turmoil he faced after such trauma. His performances were inconsistent as he battled with his private life, sometimes leading to unjust criticism by those who simply did not know what was really going on.
In short, Alli’s soul was bereft of peace. Yet, transparency began the healing process. It opened the door to renewed soul health. Walking in the light invited further light and so healing began. He did not muzzle the voice of his soul. We can learn from him.
I invite us to listen to our souls more closely. To a large degree, soul health is true health.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.