How Your Soul Gets Depleted
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6 and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. 8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. —Psalm 42:5-8
While Psalm 23:2 tells us God restores our souls, sometimes we aren’t even aware that our souls need restoration. And sometimes we echo today’s Psalm realizing our soul is cast down, but not able to figure out how it happened. At times we are in absolute turmoil and don’t know how we got there. Note the range of feelings in the verse between cast down and in turmoil. The difference between feeling wiped out and knocked off our feet, or having those nagging troubled thoughts, reminds us that our souls respond in various ways to what is going on in our lives. Either way, we end up depleted. Let me lovingly warn you about five things that deplete our souls.
First, people deplete our soul. It’s great to have good, fun and godly people in our lives, but they can be too much of a good thing. We can have too much public exposure and not enough private time with God. Even the people we want to have around us most can become a drain if we aren’t having moments alone with God. Jesus took some time with the Father every day, despite the constant demands on Him (see Mark 1:35).
Second, certain people really deplete our souls. I confess I’ve been on both sides: ministering to draining people and being a draining person. People who have acute needs, poor social skills, or a demanding nature siphon off our strength and resources. God can help us wisely limit the number of draining people we allow into our lives.
Third, busyness drains our souls. Even people who manage to work fewer hours end up filling their lives with multiple and conflicting commitments that leave little time for the things that replenish our souls. With all that’s been said about the value of saying no, we’re not very good at it. Too many good things can be as draining as too many good people (and they often come in a package). Being too busy depletes our souls as we run from one commitment to another.
Fourth, problems leave our souls decimated. Health concerns. financial shortfalls, conflicts with others—our problem portfolios may vary, but the pile drains away our strength. Can you feel the drag on your soul?
Fifth, coveting depletes our souls. I need a better job, a marriage partner—and children! Once we start a list, it keeps expanding. I want, I want, I want—insatiable desires for promotions, raises, and new stuff drain life. If our strongest desire isn’t for God and His glory, we are setting ourselves up for a down cast soul in turmoil.
God’s answer? Trust in Me.“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvationand my God” (v.5-6).David knew what to do! When you are down cast or in turmoil, even if you can’t figure out why, return to God, worship Him, and allow Him to restore your soul. Get your eyes off the situation and back on “[your] salvation and [your] God.” Spend time with others who can encourage you as you praise God together.
- Which of those five soul-depleting things gives you the most trouble? Why?
- How would you describe the condition of your soul right now? Where’s your hope?
Lord, forgive me for being easily distracted by the lure of passing things that cannot feed and nourish my soul as You alone can. Give me ears to hear Your Spirit whisper that I’m leaning too heavily on what will not hold up. And when I find myself depleted, when I come once again to the end of my rope, meet me there, Heavenly Father, as always with Your grace and mercy to restore my soul. In Jesus’ name, amen.