Spirit vs Soul, Part 1

I have noticed that very few people talk about the different parts of ourselves that are unseen. Most people acknowledge that there are at least 2 parts of us – the part everyone can see on the outside (our body) and the hidden part inside of us (our inner being). But I have discovered that our inner being is comprised of at least 2 parts, which I refer to as Spirit and Soul. In reading what others have to say, I’ve noticed there is no universal language to describe it – each author uses different words (which adds to the confusion, I’m sure). Rather than try to pick words that fit all the different expressions of this reality, I’m going to stick to the words I’m familiar with from the Bible. It helps to give me a foundation from which to build. It also connects to the ancient traditions of the Christian faith, which I value. I’m going to try to express what I have seen, heard and experienced in my own life and in those I have helped. It has made a HUGE difference in my life.

I discovered a doorway to peace and joy and love that I never knew existed.

Spirit vs Soul

You are a spirit and you have a soul (Hebrews 4:12, I Thessalonians 5:23). Your spirit carries your spiritual DNA – that’s part of your identity. Your spiritual DNA is the way God made you for His specific purposes to be fulfilled in your life time. When you become a follower of Jesus, your spirit becomes one with His Spirit (I Corinthians 6:17).

Your soul carries your natural identity – who you are on the earth. This would include your personality, your likes and dislikes about natural things (i.e. I love chocolate). Most of our daily lives revolve around the soul. This is what feels most comfortable to us – it comes naturally.

Some people define the soul as containing the mind, the will and the emotions. I’m not sure it’s that simple because we also carry “the mind of Christ” in our spirit (I Corinthians 2:16). Our spirit has intelligence, creativity and intuition. It also seems to be the seat of our conscience (our sense of right and wrong). You could say the soul contains YOUR mind, will and emotions whereas your spirit carries the mind, will and emotions of the Holy Spirit (if you are one with Him).

Your spirit and your soul were each created with their own purpose. They are not the same. Your soul was created to do certain things. Your spirit was created to do certain other things. They are both valid. They are both very important. Sometimes what causes us to struggle is when we try to get our soul to do what our spirit was created to do and vice versa. It causes confusion for us – especially when we don’t get the results we were expecting! This has happened to me many times. Once I learned the difference between the two and how to switch between then, I got much better results. As I have shared this with others, they have told me what a game changer it is! So that’s why I’m trying to share it here.

If you let your spirit lead your life, you experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit every day – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). You experience this wonderful fruit in all your relationships, both at home and at work or school. You experience the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10).

If you lead your life by your soul, you may feel anxious, uptight, or unsure of what you’re doing. You worry about what people are thinking about you. You worry about the future; you dwell on the past. It’s easy to get “stuck” in your soul. This is perfectly natural. Most mental health issues are in the soul. That’s where we primarily need healing in order to be happy and healthy.

In order to move from living by your soul to being led by your spirit, there is a process that can help you. I learned this from Arthur Burk in his series, Nurturing Your Spirit. I will summarize the main ideas that helped me. Some of this is my own insights and some of this is from his series. Arthur tells people when he teaches, “Look – here are my ideas about this topic. You take it and run with it!” So that’s what I’m doing.  🙂

Your spirit is a very real part of you. If you have ignored it for most of your life (like we all have done), it will take a while to make the change. First, you have to become aware of your spirit through daily practice. What you want to do is

a) Become aware of your spirit

b) Acknowledge your spirit’s place

c) Strengthen your spirit

d) Let your spirit lead

Become aware of your spirit

The first step is to become aware of your spirit and to begin to connect with it. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to recognize your spirit. Close your eyes and take a few slow deep breaths. Focus on the way the air feels as it flows through your chest. Imagine your spirit filling you on the inside just like your breath fills you. Stay with the feeling for a few minutes. Focus on your breath and just “be”.

It takes a lot of practice to become aware of your spirit. I recommend that you take a minute and do this breathing exercise every day. You can do it when you first wake up, or when you are waiting at stop light in traffic or anytime you remember to do it. The point is to practice and pay attention until it becomes easy for you to recognize your spirit.

Acknowledge your spirit’s place

As you begin to connect with your spirit, you will recognize what value it has. God created it for a very specific purpose. He will show you that purpose, to encourage you and strengthen you. Acknowledge to yourself that your spirit has a right to be expressed. That there is something special inside of you that deserves to be known to the outside world.

Each day ask God’s Spirit to come and fill your spirit and wash it. Take a few deep breaths and see if you feel anything. Sometimes it feels like you are standing in a rain shower. Sometimes it may feel like a soft blanket of peace or love. Sometimes you don’t feel anything, but it is still happening. God promises to give His Spirit to anyone who asks.

God’s Spirit is the provider of all the resources you need to fulfill your destiny. When you invite Him to come and fill you, He begins to direct your day and lead your steps (and you notice it). At first, it may seem surprising. After a while, it becomes very comforting.

I’m going to stop there for today. This is a lot to take in when you first read it. Ponder this concept of being a three part being – body, soul and spirit. Practice the breathing exercise and see if you can recognize your spirit. What does it feel like to you? How would you describe it? Spend some time each day paying attention to it and begin to acknowledge your spirit and its value.

If you have some insight you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below. I will continue this topic in the next post.

Why Should I Forgive?

The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life

Forgiveness is an essential key to finding freedom.

Unforgiveness is like an emotional prison – we lock up our negative feelings about a person and we hold onto them. It actually ties us to that person – even if the person is someone we’d rather forget.

The good news is – we hold the key to the prison doors. By an act of our will, we can open the door and release what is being held. What we often don’t realize until later is that the one who is being set free is ourselves.

Forgiveness Key SW smaller

Carrying a grudge (another word for unforgiveness) actually weighs us down internally. We think we are holding the other person in the prison cell, but in reality we are holding a part of our soul, mind or emotions in that cell. Forgiveness unlocks the cell and releases the negative association we have with that person.

Many people have a misconception about forgiveness. They assume that if they forgive, they are saying that what happened didn’t really matter or that the fact that they were hurt is insignificant. That’s not true. Forgiveness starts with an acknowledgement that what happened was hurtful. It assigns responsibility for the pain. By acknowledging what happened, you can begin to release the negative emotions associated with the pain and in time, you can choose to let them go.

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” – Suzanne Somers

You may think, “What they did to me is unforgivable – how can I let go of it just like that?”

First of all, you don’t let go of it “just like that”. Forgiveness is a process that takes time and effort. Depending on the depth of the pain, it could take days, months or sometimes even years to release it. Each person’s process is their own – it takes as long as it takes.

Yes, what they did was really bad. Somehow we feel that by holding onto the offense, it somehow “makes them pay” for what they did. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The other person is not the one suffering – YOU ARE.

Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher.

Internally, what you really want is justice. What happened was wrong – and your soul wants it to be recognized and acknowledged. Too often the person who hurt us is not willing or able to do this – but we can do it for ourselves.

Do you need to “feel forgiving” in order to forgive? No. Forgiveness is an act of your will. Sometimes you will feel compassion or understanding later, but you do not have to feel a certain way to forgive. You only have to be willing to forgive.

When you are ready …

1. Acknowledge the pain. Write it out or tell it to a trusted friend. Specifically think about why it hurt. What message did you receive from this negative event?

2. Recognize responsibility. Who did what and how did it make you feel? Even if you are by yourself, it can be very freeing to say it out loud. Imagine you are talking to the person who hurt you. Example: “I was offended by your comments about my recent weight gain, Aunt Susie. I respected you. Your opinion matters to me and that’s why it hurt so much. I felt judged by you.”

If your emotions come up at this point, let them out. You can cry or beat a pillow in anger. It’s important to respect your right to feel hurt. You matter!

3. Offer forgiveness. Saying it out loud is especially helpful here – it confirms to your soul that you really mean it. Example: “I forgive you, Aunt Susie, for making me feel judged and ugly by the comments you made about my weight. I release you from the harm you caused me. I choose to let go of the anger and shame I felt.”

Note: Sometimes forgiveness takes time. You might need to speak your forgiveness out loud or in your mind each time the memory of the pain surfaces. Eventually, the hurt will recede and all that will be left is a painless memory. Forgiveness is an act of your will – your emotions eventually will follow.

Should you tell the person who offended you that you forgive them? Not necessarily. If you are in a close relationship and the person has acknowledged their fault in causing you pain, then it could be very healing to let them know when you’ve forgiven them. However, in many cases, the person is no longer around. They don’t need to know – this is for your benefit, remember?

After you’ve forgiven someone, does that mean you need to continue the relationship? Keep in mind that choosing to forgive someone does not necessarily mean you need to continue your relationship with them. If someone has proven to be untrustworthy or hurtful towards you, you don’t have to associate with them. Forgiveness and trust are two separate issues. Forgiveness does not “magically” make everything okay.

One person most people need to forgive and yet often “forget” to do so is … themselves. This is an important step in finding freedom. And for those who were raised with a faith tradition that made certain things “God’s fault” (i.e. someone’s death), you may need to forgive “God”. It may feel silly doing so, but if you find that you are very cynical and bitter towards matters of faith, chances are you are holding negative emotions against the concept of God that was presented to you as a child. It’s time to let that go too. Your heart will thank you.

The article above is an excerpt from Sandy’s book, Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life. For more information about forgiveness, including how to order the book, please click here. This excerpt also appears in 30 Days to Freedom which can be found here.

Please feel free to forward this page to someone who needs the freedom that forgiveness brings.

“When a deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive.” – Alan Paton

Overcoming Anxiety & Fear

Fear and anxiety are the basis for so much of what we struggle with on a daily basis. Fear is the emotion or negative energy we experience when we are concerned about the possibility of something bad happening to us over which we have no control. Anxiety is experiencing the combined energy of multiple fears – they may be conscious or unconscious. Overwhelming anxiety leads to anxiety disorders and depression – the most common mental health issue in the world today.

baby startled

When we are babies, we do not have many fears. Studies have shown that newborn infants primarily demonstrate fear of two things – being dropped (they demonstrate a natural clutching response) and loud noises (they appear startled and often cry). Other than that, they are fearless.

Fear is a learned response to life experience. We were not born to fear – we were taught to fear. This is good news – this means we can unlearn fear. We do not have to be driven by fear in our day-to-day lives.

Fear goes by many names: 

Feeling . . .

anxious

worried

concerned

apprehensive

nervous

insecure

Which one describes you?

Fear surrounds us in society. Notice the headline news – it is usually based on fear. Think of the many things we do to deal with the fear – we talk about the news, we tell others the news we heard, we talk about what we would do if we were in a similar situation. These are all ways we are trying to process the fear we are experiencing. But these actions don’t remove the fear from our hearts.

Very often if you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do, you will find fear as the root of them. Even simple actions can be grounded in fear. Think of the last time you got dressed for a social event – did you look in the mirror and then decide to wear something else? What motivated that decision? We might think, “This doesn’t look right” or “I look fat in this”. In reality, we are often striving to fit in by wearing what we believe others will think is acceptable. Why? Because we fear being rejected, ridiculed, criticized, etc.

The Step: Fear Finder can bring clarity about any fears you discover you have. Finding the root of the fear is the first step to removing it from your life. Choosing to forgive those that taught you to fear is one way to release the hold that fear has had on you. Try it and see what happens!

If you suffer from anxiety, determine what the primary fear is that bothers you. Start with that one. As others come to your mind, work through the Fear Finder Step on each one individually. If you do not know what it is that you fear, then start by asking, “Spirit of Truth, what am I afraid of?” This will bring clarity.

freedom butterfly cropped

“I have more peace and what I can have in exchange for my fear brings light and a joy to my life. I’m going to hold onto that exercise for future reference. Thank you for the resource.” SR, website visitor

Step: Fear Finder

Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.

Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, go to a different step – this may not be the right time for this step.

Focus on a specific fear you have and ask,

“Spirit of Truth, where did this fear come from?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“Who taught me this fear?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I forgive _(name)_ for teaching me this fear. I release them from the harm they caused me. I forgive myself for allowing this fear to control me. I no longer choose to partner with this fear. I let it go.”

Take deep cleansing breaths, release the negative emotions and let them go.

“Spirit of Truth, what can I have in exchange?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I receive _______ in exchange for my fear of ______.”

(pause and open your heart to receive)

You can do this step with Sandy on YouTube: Overcoming Fear


The article above is an excerpt from Sandy’s book, Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life. For more information about the book, please click here.

Please feel free to forward this page to someone who needs to overcome fear. It might be just what they need to hear today.

Are you ready to get rid of that fear? You can do it, if you want to.

You don’t have to be controlled by fear anymore.

There is hope! You CAN be free from your fears, if you are willing to let go.

Give it a try today!

What Lies Do You Believe Unconsciously?

We all believe lies unconsciously – we just don’t realize it. Lies have power if you believe them.

Let me give you an example from someone I know personally. Amanda had a good job at a large corporation. In time, she was promoted to a new position. However, in this new position she was required to give presentations before a group of her peers and supervisors periodically. She was terrified of public speaking. This was a big deal to her. Her first presentation left her sweating and miserable! Her stomach was full of butterflies and she was sweating so profusely that she was very embarrassed by how wet her clothes were. It was noticeable to her coworkers and they commented on it.

She seriously considered going back to her old position because she HATED giving presentations. We talked about it. I asked her why she hated it so much. She said, “I don’t want to look like a dork!”

This was an accomplished professional woman – what made her think she would look like a “dork” by giving a presentation? We did one of the “heart exercises” from my book together to find out. She discovered that she developed this fear of public speaking from a distortion she believed about herself – a conclusion she came to in middle school. Can you believe that? She came to a faulty conclusion about herself and about “how life works” when she was 13 years old and it was still holding her back in her thirties!

Yet, no one had ever asked her what she believed about herself. She never even thought about it. It was simply her view of the world and of herself. She assumed she saw things clearly.

That Lie was majorly distorting her ability to do her job and enjoy it. It was creating a LOT of stress for her and making her very anxious. She was miserable – all because of a little lie she believed.

Thankfully, she was ready to give up that lie and find out the truth – which is not always easy, you know? We did the “heart exercise” and she got the truth she needed. The next time she did a presentation, I was eager to hear how it went. She called me as soon as she got back to her desk. She was thrilled! She did her presentation very well without a glitch and she didn’t even sweat a drop!

The Lies you believe about yourself are very powerful – they are also very sneaky. You don’t even realize they are there. And yet they can really wreck your life.

Here’s a real good indicator that you may believe a lie – look for fear, anxiety, worry or stress. Start with the negative fruit that a lie brings you and you’ll generally be on the right path.

Most of the lies we believe are things we don’t even think about – we just assume our perspective on the world is accurate and we base our decisions on this assumption. Because of this, I’ve discovered (by working with my coaching clients) that we need a way to access these unconscious distortions that does not rely on our ability to identify them.

I’ve developed the following “heart exercise” to help people identify lies they believe – specifically about themselves. And it works. People are astounded at the lies they uncover and the truth they receive when they do this exercise. Try it yourself!

This exercise and others like it are in my book, Freedom through Forgiveness.

Step: Lie Detector: Self Concept
Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.

Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, go to a different step – this may not be the right time for this step.

“Spirit of Truth, is there a lie I believe about myself?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“Who taught me that lie?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I forgive (name) for teaching me this lie. I forgive myself for receiving this lie and allowing it to influence my thoughts. I release myself from this lie. I give it up and let it go.”

“What truth do I need to hear?” (pause and wait for an answer)

“I receive the truth that (the truth).”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’ve personally done this exercise over and over and each time I discover a new lie I believe – and I find the truth! It’s really wonderful – I highly recommend it. 🙂

Help Me, Holy Spirit!

“Help Me, Holy Spirit!”

I have found this to be the BEST prayer for everyday life. The Holy Spirit is referred to as our Helper in John 14:26:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. – Jesus Christ, The Bible

Oftentimes we don’t know what to pray. Life situations can overwhelm us. We can get so tired or so busy that it seems like an effort to connect with God.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us by the Father. The Spirit has many functions – one of which is to help us! Isn’t that cool?

I don’t know about you, but I need help every day.

When I’m trying to figure out what to cook for dinner and my mind is drawing a blank, I say, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. Pretty soon a dinner menu drops into my mind with the ingredients I need (or already have on hand). I know what to make and I know how to make it. Instantly! Sometimes when my family asks, “What is this?” I tell them, “This is a new dish – never before seen on the earth! It’s a new creation. I hope you like it.” They dig in and usually love it! But don’t ask me to make it again because I won’t remember how I made it. It’s like art – you can’t mass produce it and make “prints” from it. 🙂

When I haven’t slept well and the day seems challenging with all that I need to accomplish, I have often found myself walking toward the store saying, “Help me, Holy Spirit.” I discover the energy I need to accomplish all that is on my list to do that day. When I fall into bed that night, I am often amazed at how much got done. I whisper, “Thank you, Holy Spirit, I know that was YOU.” The Spirit can quicken our mortal bodies to have the energy we need to finish our daily race (Romans 8:11).

When a friend calls with a serious relationship problem or a deep question about the meaning of life, I silently pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”, as I listen with my heart. Miraculously I open my mouth and say things that seem to help. Often times I’ve never even thought of the things I say – I learn even as I’m speaking! It’s really cool – instant download of new revelation from the Holy Spirit. I call that “hands-on training”. One minute I had no idea what to say and the next minute I sound like I have all this wisdom to help my friend. That’s the Holy Spirit!

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help us by teaching us all things. He also said the Spirit would bring things to our remembrance. That is very comforting – especially as our minds age and we start forgetting things. Whenever my husband or I misplace something (i.e. keys, wallet or glasses), we cry out, “Help me, Holy Spirit!” and guess what? The missing item shows up. Every time.

I remind people who are in school that if they are struggling with a specific subject (i.e. Calculus, for instance) that they can pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. They will receive supernatural “teaching” to help their mind comprehend what is necessary. And it can’t hurt to pray that same thing just before a test, asking the Spirit to bring to your remembrance the material that was studied. I often experienced supernatural memory recall when I was studying and taking tests for my Masters degree. It reduces your anxiety about big tests when you rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you. 🙂

There are so many situations where this simple prayer can help

  • making decisions
  • parenting children
  • choosing a career
  • planning a vacation
  • making new friends
  • developing a business idea
  • making sales calls
  • writing a proposal

I encourage you to practice saying this prayer this week and then watch to see what happens. Please come back and tell us what you experienced!

I love this simple prayer! It cultivates in me an attitude of reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me, teach me and help me. 🙂

FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real

Q37 Look for Proof

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real – Look for Proof!

Most of us think our thoughts are accurate. We trust our own thinking so much that we do not think to question our own thoughts.

That’s why I love this statement – FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Often when we are afraid, it is not based on reality. It is based on assumptions and on inaccurate information.

When my clients express a fear, I ask them for proof. They pause, stammer a minute and then realize that they don’t have any. We are so used to just believing everything that comes to our minds that we lose the ability to examine what is at the root of our fears. I don’t want them to look silly (being unable to prove that their fear is based on reality), but at the same time, I want to teach them to question their assumptions.

For instance, a lady came to me once and said she wanted to become a confident communicator. She was afraid to start conversations at parties because she didn’t feel confident. We worked on some communication skills to help build her confidence. She improved and was ready to try out her new skills. However, she still felt afraid of “looking dumb”.

So, I asked her to prove it to me. “Are you dumb?” I asked. She gave me a shocked expression and said, “No, of course not!” Then I asked her if she had ever had trouble in school due to learning difficulties or speech impediments that made her “feel dumb” among other children. She said no.

“So how would you “look dumb” in conversation?” I asked her. I wanted her to figure out exactly what her fear was. What she realized was that “looking dumb” was a judgment. She was afraid that either someone else would judge what she had to say as “dumb” or she would think what she said was “dumb”. So we worked on these specific things. First, you cannot control other people’s judgment of you. She had to let that go. For her, the primary issue was judging herself as “dumb”. We did some work on that – to learn self-acceptance and self-compassion. And her fear melted away.

The next time she went to a social gathering, she emailed me to tell me how smoothly it went. She successfully started several conversation with strangers and acquaintances and never once did she “look dumb” in her estimation. Success!

Take some time to examine your fears. Can you find proof that what you imagine will happen actually has a good chance of happening? And if it does, then what? When we break down our fears, often we discover that they are based on a fuzzy sense of logic. By breaking them down, we can overcome them.

Try it and let me know how it works for you! ♥

Welcome home ♥

Welcome home ♥

. . . a place of refuge & refreshment for Christian leaders

Do you ever feel

  • alone and misunderstood?
  • frustrated by the lack of results?
  • held back from fulfilling your God-given dream or call?
  • discouraged and disillusioned?
  • ready to give up yet unable to deny the burning flame within?

Are you having trouble figuring out WHY things aren’t working out the way you thought they should? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Welcome home!

You are welcome in this place.

You will be encouraged and validated here. No criticism or judgment – no matter how discouraged you feel, no matter how far you feel you’ve gone.

Here you will be understood.

You will be listened to and acknowledged.

Here you will find CLARITY.

This site is dedicated to Christian leaders who need encouragement and support – a cup of cold water in a dry and weary land.

glass-of-water-in-desert

♥ WELCOME HOME ♥

 How does this happen?

Sandy Walker has been working with people for over 25 years. She has a unique gift of being able to support leaders who are in the process of walking out their destiny. She’s a gentle listener who can provide insight (by request) on what may be holding you back or blocking your success.

If you are looking for clarity on the next step, she can help you listen and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. If you want support in taking action on your dream, she can help you plan the steps to take.

Always ready to invite the Holy Spirit to any conversation, she creates an atmosphere where Truth Encounters happen effortlessly & you are empowered to walk in a new level of freedom you have never experienced before! It’s exciting and it happens quickly!

How the process works