The Soul Experiment
Here is another quote from John Ortberg's book, Soul Keeping. I am recommending this book for summer reading. We will have several copies available at church. You can also purchase kindle versions from Amazon.
While there are no magic formulas for being with God, lately I have been conducting a little self-test that I call The Soul Experiment. It's a simple way of focusing my soul on God throughout the day. I begin each day by challenging myself: How many moments of my life today can I fill with conscious awareness of and surrender to God's presence? Then I try to deliberately imagine myself doing that at home, at work, in my car, when I'm online, when I'm watching the news, when I'm with others. Can I do the "with God" life all the time? I've been trying to make this the goal of my day as opposed to a list of things I have to get done. Can I just keep God in my mind today, regardless of what I'm doing? Here's a little picture of how it works for me.
One day I had a meeting with my staff that lasted about an hour and a half. When it was over, I realized I had failed for an hour and a half at this experiment. I had not thought about or listened for God a single time in that hour and a half - and I work at a church. Then I had to drive somewhere, and I was grousing in my spirit because I felt like I had too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Do you ever have that kind of thought? I was feeling hurried, impatient and ill-tempered.
Then this thought came to me: "John, let's look at the next two hours. You will go through those two hours of your life with me or without me. You can continue doing life without me and feel stressed, pressured, angry, sorry for yourself, impatient, and be a pain in the neck to the people around you. You can do those two hours that way. Or you can do those two hours with me. You can be glad you're alive. You can be grateful you were given a life. You can be joyful you actually have work to do, and you can recognized that I, not you, am running the universe. Actually, I was doing pretty well with it before you were ever even born, and I'll probably be able to manage whether or not you think you get your list of things to do done in the next two hours. What's it going to be, John? The next two hours with me or without me?"
When you look at life that way doesn't it make sense to say, "Yes, God. I want do do life with you. My soul needs you more than it needs my frustration and impatience."
The "with God" life is not a life of more religious activities or devotions or trying to be good. It is a life of inner peace and contentment for your soul with the maker and manager of the universe. The "without God" life is the opposite. It is death. It will kill your soul.