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Day 197: Book Review: Soul Keeping by John Ortberg

Not many books have touched me the way this book has. It is powerful, captivating, and truly important of every person alive today. If you have a soul, you desperately need to read this book word for word. Every chapter offers incredible, life changing material that will sweep you off your feet and reach directly into the most important part of who you are. . . your soul.

The book begins with a story about a town, a river, and a man who has dedicated his life to keeping the river clean. The story goes like this: The town was at the bottom of the alps and it laid near a beautiful, clean stream that came down from the mountains. Long ago a man had been hired to live in the mountains and spend his time taking care of the stream. For as long as anyone could remember he had been there, until one year when the town council decided he was on longer needed.

So the man left his post and the stream began to collect twigs and branches and other debris that he had once kept at bay. For a while nothing changed in town until one day the stream became muddy and only got worse with time. The town depended upon the river and the river depended upon the old man. So they put him back to work and soon the stream returned to its sparkling beauty with the help of the caretaker.

“The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper.”

The rest of the book is divided into three parts. Part one describes what the soul is and it is best described in this way, “Your soul is what integrates your will (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values and conscience), and your body (your face, body language, and actions) into a single life.” Part two describes what the needs and divides it into nine parts, the soul needs a Keeper, a Center, a Future, to Be with God, Rest, Freedom, Blessing, Satisfaction, and Gratitude. Part three describes what it is like to have the soul restored.

Written in a style that is equal parts beautiful and simple, this book takes you on a journey of realization. Realization that the most important part of who we are is so often neglected and soiled. We may be the keeper of our very own stream, but most of us may not realize just what kind of work needs to be done in order to have a healthy soul.

Without a healthy soul, we will be nothing. Our soul is our very foundation and if it is hurting our wills, our minds, and our bodies will be hurting as well. They are supposed to work together in beautiful harmony, but without a healthy and God-centered soul every part of ourself will be in disarray.

One of my absolute favorite parts of the book was in the chapter “The Soul Needs Gratitude.” In this chapter it explains how the fundamental mind-set of the life of the soul is gratitude and in this chapter we are given two experiments to try in order to create gratitude in our lives. The first experiment sound truly incredible and I would really like to try it some time. In this experiment/activity you write a letter to someone who has had a deep influence on your life, whether that be a friend, mentor, etc.

After writing this gratitude letter, try and meet with that person without explaining why you want to meet. Once you’re together open the letter and read it to them aloud. It may feel incredibly awkward, but that is because we so seldom express our gratitude toward others. The practice of “writing and then reading your gratitude letter will lift your soul in a remarkable and unforgettable way.” I cannot wait to try this activity.

The journey of reading this book was incredible. Each page was better than the last and it had a way of filling your with a realization of all the times we’ve gotten it wrong, but with an even bigger sense of hope for being able to change everything around. Many sentences left me with actual goosebumps and I will never forget how impactful this book has been. So please, please read every page of this book and learn how to thrive in communion with your Creator as we were created to do.

Rating: Five Starts 
Re-readability: Extremely High  
Get It Here

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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