This post is to continue the discussion of Spirit vs Soul. The first part of the post is here – I recommend you read that one first or else this might not make sense (you have been forewarned). 🙂
Quick summary: You are a spirit and you have a soul. Your spirit and your soul were each created with their own purpose. They are not the same. Learning to switch between them can change your experience of life dramatically – you can have much more peace, joy, love, patience, etc. There is a process in learning how to make the switch – it starts with learning the difference between the two. Most of us are clueless – I know I was! The process is:
a) Become aware of your spirit
b) Acknowledge your spirit’s place
c) Strengthen your spirit
d) Let your spirit lead
Last time we discussed the first two points, this time I will cover the last two. Here we go!
Strengthen your spirit
Strengthening your spirit involves learning what your spirit can do. It is an education for your soul in who you really are. Your soul may have heard many negative messages about who you are (i.e. you’re stupid, you’ll never succeed, etc.). As you learn who you are in your spirit – God’s DNA in you – you begin to see your own value, the value God put in you. You have a core value that no one can take away.
Think of all the negative things you have either heard or thought about yourself. Now write down some statements of the opposite of those things. For instance, if you tell yourself, “I’m dumb and I can’t remember things”. Then the opposite would be, “I am intelligent and I have a good memory”. Once you have a list of these, begin to say them to yourself out loud each day.
It feels like my soul is drinking in the words.
I like to look at the list while I am reading them (versus memorizing the list and recalling it from memory). First, I ask God’s Spirit to come and fill me and wash me. Then I read my list out loud to myself. I use the pronoun “I” instead of “you” because it helps me to “own” the statement of truth.
Below is an example of some of the things I have said to myself. I start with, “Spirit of Sandy, I call you to attention. You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. These are some of the blessings you have:
- I am free and I give others their freedom.
- I am accepted and I belong.
- I am appreciated and acknowledged for my contributions to the world.
- What I say is important, valued and received with honor and respect.
- I am loved for who I am.
- I receive love and respect from other people.
- I have faithful, loving, close relationships. I am a blessing to others.
- I am compassionate and I am able to receive compassion from others.
- I am worthy. I am trustworthy. I am faithful.
- I trust God to order my steps and to take care of everything that concerns me.
- I have everything I need to fulfill my destiny.
- I rely on the Holy Spirit to show me things.
- I am confident and secure. I am FEARLESS!
- I am welcome to demonstrate who I am. The world is waiting for me with anticipation and joy.
You can borrow any of these statements that feels true to you or you can write your own. Write them without using negative statements. Instead of “I’m not dumb”, you would say, “I am intelligent” or something similar that is positive. Choose your words carefully because it makes a difference. You are learning to speak kindly to yourself and that’s very important.
Now I’m going to be honest – when I first started doing this, it was tough. I would read my list out loud and my soul would react and say things like, “Yeah, right!” with this sarcastic tone of unbelief. Saying things like “I am accepted and I belong” would cause my soul to immediately remind me of how rejected I felt the day before because of something a friend did to me. But I kept doing it – because I wanted to CHANGE the conversation in my head. My soul needed to acknowledge my spirit’s place and my spirit was not going to feel confident to step out if it was constantly listening to the negativity coming from my soul. This step really helps you to experience the difference between the two. At first, my spirit was quite weak. I simply read my list because I was desperate to change. I didn’t feel confident or strong or fearless. But I had a tiny bit of faith and a whole lot of determination to see things change. And they did!
I will also say that helping your soul heal from the wounds of rejection and fear is also a big part of becoming whole. I didn’t know how to do that when I started this process, but a few years later I did. The exercises in this book called Freedom through Forgiveness helped me tremendously. Healing the soul enables you to switch between your spirit and soul more easily.
Now for the last step ….
Let your spirit lead
The last step is to work with your spirit and your soul each day as the need arises. I would not try this step until you have done the previous steps for several weeks, maybe longer. You will begin to feel different inside as a result of those steps. Then you’ll be ready to move forward with this process.
Your soul is like a little child that needs protection from harmful influences. Your spirit was designed to do that. When your soul feels sad, lonely, fearful, rejected, etc., your spirit can give it what it needs in terms of encouragement, support, security, acceptance, etc. because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your spirit.
Here’s an example. I have often felt anxious about facing new challenges. Whenever I notice that my soul is anxious, I say out loud, “I come out of agreement with anxiety and fear. I release peace and trust in the Lord into my soul.” This is my spirit ministering to my soul. It actually makes me feel better, usually within a few minutes. When I have felt sad or lonely, like no one understands my troubles, I will tell my soul, “It’s okay. You’re not alone. Jesus said He would never leave you or give up on you. Lord, open my soul up to receive Your love.” Then I will wait expectantly – soon I feel God’s love fill my soul. I soak it up by just being still and letting His love fill the sad, empty place in my soul. I’m tapping into my spirit where God’s Spirit is. Peace will come over me and I let it permeate my entire being, including my soul – the place that felt sad or lonely just a few minutes before now feels happy and full.
Once you’ve 1) become aware of your spirit, 2) acknowledge that it has a right to be expressed and 3) you’ve strengthened your spirit by embracing the truth, try letting your spirit lead. On a day when you have to face something you don’t really want to, ask your spirit to come to the front and ask your soul to go to the back and sit down. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Then walk into the uncomfortable situation. You will probably notice that you are functioning better than you expected. Most people are amazed at the results. They tell me that they went from being fearful to being confident in less than 30 seconds. This is because they had been strengthening their spirit and when they needed it, the strength was there.
Practice calling your spirit to lead whenever you feel weak or overwhelmed by life’s demands. This is what I usually say, “Spirit, I call you to attention – please come forward and lead. Soul, please go to the back and rest. Holy Spirit, I need your help – please guide me now.”
Try it out in different situations and see what happens. If you try it and you don’t see the results you were expecting, it may be that your spirit is not yet strong enough in that area. If you felt intimidated when you wanted to feel confident, maybe you need to concentrate on “I am secure and confident” for a few weeks and then go back and try it again.
There are many different ways to apply this concept. I may do some future posts on this because it seems to come up a lot. How will you use this new idea? Can you think of some scenarios where switching to your spirit would enable you to face some things you’ve avoided?
Here’s an example from one of my clients: She had an important business meeting coming up. She was meeting with an influential person and had to give a presentation on a new business idea. She was hoping to get this person’s feedback and ultimately their support (maybe even do some work together to start a new product line). She was very nervous – it was a big deal to her. She really wanted to see it succeed. She was afraid her anxiety would interfere with the meeting – the other person would pick up on that and it would likely cause them to hesitate to work with her. I taught her this principle of Spirit vs Soul and she worked for weeks on strengthening her spirit in being confident and secure. She also worked on some areas of inner healing regarding negative messages she had received in the past about herself. On the day of the meeting, she called her spirit to attention and walked into the room.
After the meeting, she called me. She was AMAZED at how smoothly everything went. She said she had such clarity and was able to communicate exactly what she wanted to say. The other person was impressed at how well she had thought through the new idea and immediately congratulated her. They also agreed to work with her and were happy to support her in launching the new product. She couldn’t believe how successful and confident she felt. It was a complete transformation from the way she used to be.
Now please keep in mind – this is not an overnight process. It takes TIME and EFFORT. But it is really, really worth it. Are you ready to try? Go to Part 1 of this post and start. It’s not that hard, but it does take persistence and practice until it becomes natural. Then you’ll have your own story of amazing breakthrough!
Any questions? Please feel free to contact me or comment below.
(My contact email is on the About Me page if you’d prefer to contact me privately.)
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.
What Is A Soul Tie?
Human relationships can be a little taste of heaven or a little taste of hell, depending on the health of the relationship. Often we experience unhealthy relationships because our soul is trying to get another person to meet our needs. People do meet some of our needs for companionship, comfort, love, etc. But when we look to them as our Source of Love – that’s when it becomes unhealthy.
When we become intimate with someone – whether emotionally or physically – we build a bond with that person. We draw strength from the connection. This is what forms the foundation for family and a sense of belonging in a home or community. Some refer to this bond as a soul tie.
There are healthy soul ties and unhealthy soul ties. A healthy soul tie enhances your life – it makes you a better person, it provides strength and support for you to become all that you can be. You might see this kind of healthy soul tie between a husband and wife or between a parent and child.
Unhealthy soul ties have a negative effect on your life. You feel tied to someone in a way that sometimes pulls you down or holds you back. At one point in your life, the soul tie might have been a source of strength, but now it is not. Often this happens when a child grows up and the parents (or the child) have a hard time letting go. The child wants to move on with their life, but they feel a tug or pull to stay close to mom or dad. This can happen even if the person is no longer living – their memory or their desires for your life can still pull on your heart in an unhealthy way.
Another common unhealthy soul tie is with a person with whom you had a past intimate relationship. This could be an old boyfriend or girlfriend, a past roommate or even a best friend. Someone that you spent a lot of time with and shared your life with – especially if you were physically intimate with this person – there’s a good chance you have a soul tie with them. If the relationship is over, but you still have a reaction whenever you hear their name or you still dwell on memories of them, it is likely there is an unhealthy soul tie there. Some part of you is still connected with them and it may be holding you back from fully enjoying your life now.
Here are some common symptoms of an unhealthy soul tie:
- You feel emotionally tied to the other person even when you do not want to be.
- You can’t stop thinking about the person even though the relationship is over.
- You have an emotional reaction that is unpleasant when someone mentions their name or if you run into the other person unexpectedly.
- You feel like you can’t move on with your life; you feel tied to the past with the other person.
Can you have both an unhealthy soul tie and a healthy soul tie with the same person? Yes, you can. Breaking the unhealthy soul tie can bring freedom to the relationship so that it becomes stronger and healthier for both of you.
Some of the benefits of breaking an unhealthy soul tie are:
- You experience inner peace (instead of turmoil over what they may think about you).
- You feel free to express who you really are.
- You can make decisions that are best for you, without the pressure to conform to someone else’s expectations.
- You are able to move on with your life (if the relationship is over).
Forgiveness is an important part of breaking an unhealthy soul tie. If you are holding a grudge against someone, it ties you to them emotionally. Forgive them from your heart and let it go. Then you can break the unhealthy soul tie. If you try to break the soul tie, but you don’t forgive them, you won’t be able to break the power they have over your life. You’ll still feel connected to them, even if that person is someone you’d rather forget. If you need help choosing to forgive (you know you need to, but you are having trouble), here’s a helpful article.
How to Break a Human Soul Tie
When you are ready to break an unhealthy soul tie, here’s how you do it. Say these things OUT LOUD.
1. Forgive them: “I forgive _(name)_. I release him/her from the harm he/she caused me. I let it go.”
2. Break the tie: “I break the unhealthy soul tie between me and __(name)___. I send back any part of their soul that I have kept and I take back to myself any part of me that they kept. God, please wash me of this connection and restore my connection with You in this area of my soul.”
Excerpt from Freedom through Forgiveness: The Power of Forgiveness Can Change Your Life, Second Edition © 2012. Reprinted with the author’s permission.
So what’s in the Unseen Realm? There are quite a few things. Perceiving them varies depending on the situation and your ability to discern them. Obviously, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to show us what is there and why.
Here’s what I think of when I think of the Unseen Realm.
Elements of the Unseen Realm
God the Father
The Holy Spirit
Angels – guardian angels, warrior angels, worship angels, healing angels, etc.
Demons – evil spirits of every kind (i.e. unclean spirit, lying spirit, spirit of adultery, spirit of fear, etc.)
Powers – both good and evil ones
Principalities – both good and evil ones
Anointings, Giftings, Callings, Mantles, Spheres of authority
Blessings – current blessings or generational blessings
Curses or assignments – current curses (like a word curse) or generational curses from the past
Objects like listening devices, tracking devices, a sword, a scepter, a crown, armor or clothes, etc.
Structures like portals, doors, windows, etc from this realm to another one
Locations like Sheol, the Second Heaven, the Third Heaven, the Throne Room, etc.
Beings in heaven like the four living creatures, seraphim & cherubim, 24 elders, etc.
Other miscellaneous things like the Tree of Life, Living Water, the River of Life, etc.
I’m sure I’ve left something out – please feel free to add it in the comments below. There is so much in the Unseen Realm – people are often amazed to realize how much we are unaware of.
When I began to perceive the spiritual realm, I wasn’t really sure how I “knew” the things I knew. Part of me was convinced that when I sensed something that it was really there and part of me tried to rationalize away the feeling and just dismiss it. We have all probably experienced that.
I learned from Arthur Burk in his series, Nurturing the Spirit, that our soul tends to rationalize away the impressions we get in our spirit because they don’t necessarily make logical sense. For instance, when I was a child and I sensed that there was something scary lurking at the end of the hall or under my bed, my natural eyes could turn on the light and see that there’s nothing there in the visible realm. “See, you’re just making things up!” my mind would tell me. Or as most children are told by adults, “There’s no boogey-man under the bed or in the closet. See?” They open the closet and look under the bed just to convince you. But as soon as they leave, what do you believe if you can still “feel” them in the room? Does it mean you are crazy?
Anyway, during my studies of trying to figure out how this “sensing” the unseen realm stuff works, I came across a book. I can’t recall the title, but the concept has stayed with me. The author suggested that since we have 5 senses in our physical body, perhaps we have 5 senses in our spiritual body. Since that time, I have met people who have experienced the unseen realm through their spiritual senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. Then there’s that “sixth sense” where you just have an inner knowing, but you can’t exactly explain why. Either your senses are picking something up and your brain comes to a conclusion so quickly that you are not conscious of it or perhaps the Holy Spirit gives you the information through a word of knowledge. Somehow you just know.
Some people who “see” in the spirit say they can see the unseen realm with their natural eyes just like they would look at you or me. Blake Healy in his book, The Veil, describes his sight that way. For me, I “see” things in my mind while my natural eyes are looking at the location where I sense a presence. It’s like I’m seeing in my mind the exact same picture I see with my natural eyes except there is an added element there, such as an angel. I learned this (or was strengthened in it) through Gary Oates’ teaching called “Open My Eyes, Lord”. Both of these materials are listed on the Resources tab above. In Blake’s book, he says he encourages people to increase their perception through whatever way they normally use to “hear” from God. Is it through pictures in their mind or a feeling or hearing words in their thoughts? Whichever way God speaks to them is a sense they have learned to trust, so he says that’s a good place to start when learning to sense the unseen realm. His book has exercises to help you “practice”.
I don’t often hear things, but I have met people who do. Touch is the one I guess I relate to the most – I “feel” things often, everywhere I go. I am also very sensitive to the presence of the Lord and often “feel” His presence. Taste and smell are the most unusual ones – not too many people mention these. I have smelled anointing oil in a service that was thick with the Presence of the Holy Spirit. I have read of people who get a bad “taste” in their mouth when certain demonic spirits are nearby. I’ve never experienced that one, have you?
One other thing I realized recently – I think we sense things differently in our spirit versus in our soul. For instance, my soul can easily detect anything that is evil or unclean. And it usually freaks me out – my soul doesn’t know what to do with the information. However, my spirit does know what to do – so I have to remember to consciously choose to connect with my spirit and then use my authority to remove anything evil that’s bothering me (in my home or near me in a public place).
I also have very sensitive discernment when it comes to dealing with people. That’s a gift in my spirit. When I look in someone’s eyes, 9 times out of 10 I can see their soul. My gift is emotional healing so I see clearly their soul wounds. I can often also see their gifting or original design from the Father. Sometimes I can also discern if there are evil spirits oppressing the person. As you can imagine, I have to be very cautious not to reveal all this information on my face when I’m introduced to someone I’ve never met. I get it all pretty quickly. Being in a party full of people can sometimes be pretty overwhelming to my senses, receiving all this information at once.
So, how do you sense the unseen realm? As I shared on another post, what helped me was finding someone who sensed things using a different method than I did. We would go places and share what we were each aware of. By comparing notes, we grew exponentially both in confidence and in accuracy in being able to identify what we were experiencing. So if you naturally “see” in the unseen realm, go find someone who “feels” and vice versa. You’ll be glad you did.
When I was about 12 years old, I had a very unique experience. I was outside our house in the country – in the front, near the steps that led to the front door.
I suddenly realized that I was much “bigger” than my physical body. I had a mental picture of wanting to reach out to people and touch them with my hands and somehow connect with their true inner person. I realized I couldn’t do it because of the limitations of the physical body. I suddenly realized that my soul (or spirit) was meant to connect to others’ souls (or spirits) and I could not because I was “trapped” in this physical body.
I looked at my hands and could feel the life force flowing through them. But realized at the same time that I was limited in how I could touch people. I could physically touch them, but I could not really connect with them as I longed to.
I can’t really explain it – it was a pretty deep revelation for a 12 year old. For some reason, at this age, I suddenly understood deep mysteries. Adults would come to my house to talk to me – for hours. I would sit outside on the steps or on the patio with them and they would talk to me. They would ask for my insight on things. To me, it seemed natural at the time. Now as an adult, I think this is quite unusual. I remember entering a contest at school where school children were asked to solve the problems that the president was currently facing. I wrote my answers and could see how clearly they would solve these problems. So did the school because they gave me the award for the best essay in the contest. I hope the president read it – there probably were some nuggets of wisdom in there! 🙂
Anyway, from the day of that unique experience of feeling “trapped” in my physical body and knowing that my true core self was much “larger”, I began to understand that this world was not my home. I belonged somewhere else. I don’t think I had learned much about heaven yet. I had become a Christian that year so I’m not sure when I learned about heaven, but intuitively – I KNEW. I knew that THIS was not my “home”. There was somewhere else where I was meant to exist that allowed me to be ME without the limitations of the physical body I now had.
I asked my husband and he said he remembers feeling this way as a child also. Some people are afraid of what happens after death – even some Christians. This conviction that my soul (or spirit) was meant for another realm has given me a great desire to “hurry up and go home” to the place where I belong. 🙂
Have you ever felt this way? Feel free to comment below and share your experience.