Today’s post comes from a fellow twenty something, Barefoot Church’s Communications Director, and my friend, Amanda Zecher. Full of spunk, courage, and a product of grace, Amanda has an incredible story reflecting the truth that strength is built in quietness and confidence—and she recently shared it here! Grab a cup of coffee and join us as Amanda shares what it means to live with unshakeable soundness…
Let’s time travel to January of this year. Back to New Year’s resolutions, to high hopes, bold goals, and wild ambitions for the days ahead. If you were anything like me in this moment in time, you didn’t feel ready to embrace all that January had to offer. I was neglecting much needed reflection time, and as the days slipped away from January 1st, my long list of hopes, goals, and ambitions became daunting.
Weeks passed and I stumbled on a devotional a friend had completed on the YouVersion Bible app. A claim that there could be one defining word for your year caught my attention. One word. You guys, I’m a words person. I knew all the words it would take to string together my fitness and health goals; my hopes to be a better daughter, sister, and friend; my financial goals; the ambitious new routines I wanted to implement—there was no way one word could be all-compassing.
I moved on, but this “one word” idea stuck with me for days. Searching through my arsenal of words for something that just might cover it all, I was dissatisfied. I asked God to help me find this word, if it even existed. I searched scriptures and tried on words like outfits. Nothing fit quite right.
Nothing, until a journaling frenzy on January 30th blazed a trail. I was reminded of the familiar scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Being raised in church, I heard this verse enough times in enough translations to realize, and maybe for the first time, a significance in the wording from translation to translation. Power and love, pretty straightforward, never really change. That last characteristic listed, however, takes on different terms when it describes the nature of God’s spirit in us: self-discipline, self-control, a sound mind.
Physical (self-discipline), emotional/social (self-control), and mental (a sound mind) all seem to be wrapped up in whatever word was used in the Greek text. How could that be? I could nerd out on you with word studies here, but I’ll keep it simple. The original writer Paul penned the word “sōphronismos”, meaning a calling to soundness of mind, to moderation, and self control. From there, I began to question if I even knew what “sound” and “soundness” truly meant, so as all great young scholars of today do, I Googled it.
The results rocked my world. Allow me to highlight for us a few definitions from the word “sound”:
- In good condition, not damaged, injured or diseased
- Enjoying health and vigor
- Based on reason, sense, or judgement
- Marked by the ability to withstand stress without structural damage or distortion
- Financially secure
By golly, I had found my one word. Every decision in pursuit of my goals and dreams could be filtered through this principle. If I take that next step in a certain direction, is it moving me towards or away from what’s described here as the fruit of sound living? Achieving goals and making decisions go hand in hand. And though I’m no master of it yet, the simplicity of holding my life up to the light of sound living has been paramount in exposing where small tweaks can lead to significant change.
I think we all can admit one of those five components that could use a little reinforcement in our lives. They’re a snapshot of the life our great God has called us to live. It’s whole, not hurting from past wounds or diseased with regret. It’s making healthy decisions so we have the energy to accomplish all that He has planned for us. It’s using wisdom and good judgement in our decision-making. It’s standing up strong under the pressures of everyday life. It’s being obedient with our tithe and stewarding well the resources He has given us. A godly life is a sound life.
God calls us out to make bold moves and be brave in His love for us as we take on life’s challenges. His lifestyle causes us to make tough decisions, to work towards peace with others, and to operate out of our comfort zone at times. A revelation on soundness allows us to have a grip on joy, stability, and balance while on the adventure, even in the midst of chaos. We are given God’s spirit for the journey, and it’s perfectly equipped to handle it all with unfailing love, matchless power, and unshakable soundness.