Things I wish I knew earlier…

by David Nunez

I needed a break from writing. I had received a call one Tuesday, June 16th to be exact- a day before my wife’s birthday - telling me that my grandma was getting ready to pass. It has been a month since that point, and yet, I sent a message to one of my greatest friends - a friend in whom we experienced and met Jesus Christ for the first time together. I told him, “You know, after all this time, I don’t believe I have allowed myself to grieve properly.” A current status update on myself - I am doing better.

Our human spirit was the topic of the last blog. How we are all born of Adam, born in his likeness (body, soul, and dead human spirit). Not that we did not have a spirit to begin with, it’s just as if it were a room with everything that it needed to express light but without a light source to do the expressing. We learned that when we are a believer, God’s Spirit is fused with our human spirit, or going back to the room analogy, our Source of light came to dwell in that room, and through that room will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). No longer are we meant for the grave; no longer are we headed to the dump to collect our daily rations. See, when we receive the life of Jesus Christ, we receive eternal life - no longer slaves to anything less than righteousness, and we have a seat at the table for the feast of our daily bread.

So if we are thinking of going down our three parts, next would be the soul? Right? Remember Hebrews 4:12 says,” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…” So we must recognize that our soul and our spirit are totally different, and here is why. Our spirit is solid, unchanging, a still and secure place of refuge for believers. An anchor if you will. Your soul however, is what is your personality (Psuché). It is what we see in our friends, family, people at school, people at work, etc.

Some people’s souls don’t mend well with ours, and that is more apparent than not: like the Ned Flanders to a Homer Simpson, or Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow from the T.V. show, Family Matters for example. What we will find later in the blog is that our Soul is a mirror. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Our Soul is where we are able to think or believe about certain things (What do you think: mask vs. no mask?) (Thinker).

We also have the ability to feel emotion, whether we display good or bad emotion - God created us with a full range of different ways to show how we feel (Ever watch Marley and Me? We dog owners can relate.)(Feeler)

Finally, God created us to have the ability to choose (Chooser) - to choose how we react to certain stimuli, choosing to forgive, choosing to trust God or choosing to trust our old way of doing life (the flesh).

Disclaimer- while our Soul is good and is going to heaven when we leave this temporary home. It is important to know that our feelings have the ability to sway and move us in directions that actually can derail us and cause us to stumble. In the end, truth is what God says regardless of how I feel. Certainly, our feelings are good - and God gave them to us for a reason. - Even for the moments where it feels like our emotions begin to dictate how we function, and shortly begin taking over our lives. We must recognize that when our emotions go toe to toe with our Creator; He stands tall every time.

Surely, we have been walking through several months where it becomes easy to run our lives through the storm raging in our soul. Have you experienced it yet? Every commercial I see now says, “In a world of unknowns,” or , “We have walked through uncertain times.” Absolutely, we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. We also have run off of fear, worry, and doubt for several months now. But our God has said in Matthew 6:25-34,” Do not be anxious about your life.”

It’s easier said than done, right? Like we have heard, “Let go and let God.” It sounds good, but how? There is rest for our souls [see Matthew 11:29], and before we get there- we need to recognize something first. We have a spirit- as believers we are fused with the Holy Spirit, [See Ezekiel 36: 26,27]. We have the ability to choose to walk by the Spirit [Gal. 5:16] - then we begin to believe that our Father God has us in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16) and we don’t need to respond out of emotion, and we can feel safe. When we reach that conclusion, God reminds us that we can choose to be safe, believe we are safe, and feel that we are safe. See how I did that? Our soul operates in three distinct factions, our Thinker (Mind), our Chooser (will), and our Feeler (Emotions).

Our soul is a mirror of our spirit, and we have a God-given ability to choose to function out of our new human spirit, and can express the Light of life through our soul to anyone who comes into contact with us. They will experience the outpouring of our Father inside of us. God calls us a new creation in Christ Jesus [see 2 Corinthians 5:17], and in being a new creation we can be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13) and the aroma (2 Cor. 2:14) of Christ to all.

So how did this translate in my grief over my grandma? Again, like I said, I hadn’t grieved well. In my soul, I played out being “the comforter.” Let me explain. I believed that I needed to be a bringer of the truth to my hurting family. Which was desperately important in extending grace and love toward my family, especially to my grandpa.

However, I felt as though I needed to do more than I needed to receive. As well as my initial reaction was anger - my wife’s birthday was the next day! It pains me to say that I had this lie in my mind saying, “Couldn’t you have died next week?” Clearly it was a lie from the deceiver, a thought that I would take captive (another choice). In all the chaos in shipping me up to Denver to console my family, and being there with my grandpa, I knew… in my haste for selfishness, through all of the voices telling me I should be with my family - was the voice of my Father, speaking over me saying,“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)

Angry and frustrated, kissing my weeping wife and hugging my daughter, I chose to believe that my Father God was bringing me to my family to mourn and also share in fellowship with them. The beauty of it all was, instead of focusing on our loss, we celebrated with tears of joy and laughter over my grandmothers life! Amongst my family, I was also able to share the majesty and the beauty of my Savior and King Jesus in the midst of peril.

I always believed that I wouldn’t have any regrets as I grew older. I am only 24, but I find myself saying what I have heard my entire life from older men - what I wish I knew earlier - and for me it’s this: I realized a while ago that I don’t need to live out of my soul. I wrestled with anxiety for the better half of my marriage - financial issues, where we would live, how we would get from point A to B, what we would eat. Yet, what I have learned is, Philippians 4:19,” And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Everything that I had spent worrying over, functioning out of my soul, gratifying the desires of the flesh - all of it - doesn’t work. Instead, rest in the Spirit, believe that God will guide you (Isaiah 58:11), feel like you function as a three-part being (spirit, soul, and body), and choose to trust that your soul can be a reflection of Jesus Christ. [1 Corinthians 13:12]

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