LISTEN TO YOUR SOUL Deep within you, your soul is constantly speaking, and you can choose to either embrace or ignore its voice. The more you trust in God for your sense of security, the more you can hear your soul as it points you toward all that is real and true. But if you rely on anything or anyone other than God for your security, you'll end up with a falsely constructed life on the outside that doesn't match the integral life your soul is calling you to on the inside. Here are some ways you can avoid hypocrisy and begin living as God intends: * Take your needs for self-esteem, love and reconciliation to God, and let Him meet them. In prayer, ask God to transform your fear, shame and doubt into peace, confidence and joy. * Listen to your conscience, which is part of your soul. * Realize that you can grow spiritually each time you take responsibility for your actions. * Understand that people will always be imperfect and somewhat self-centered in this world, but that God will always be able to relate to you in perfect ways. * Rather than just pursuing knowledge about God, seek to encounter Him through experiencing His living presence with you. * Commit to living your whole life for God - every aspect of it. * Before acting on a decision - whether big or small - consider how God would want you to act. Pray for His guidance. * Pay close attention to maintaining integrity in small decisions, since moral lapses in small matters easily lead to lapses in larger ones. * Admit that you are powerless to save yourself and rely on Christ to save you. Also trust in God's grace rather than your own strength as you deal with any situation in life. * Realize that God will accept any step you make toward Him. He will meet you there. * Don't try to impress others or worry about what they think of you. Just strive to be faithful and concerned about what God thinks of you. * Humbly acknowledge whatever parts of your past life have shattered, and trust God to pick up the pieces to craft them together into a new life for you. * Join a group of people who commit to encouraging you and helping you stay accountable in your new life. * Stop trying to get God to do your will. Instead, pray for the wisdom to know His will and the strength to do it. * Regularly listen for God's voice, and write down what you hear Him saying. ----------- J. Keith Miller is the author or co-author of 23 previous books. He has a seminary degree, as well as a degree in psychological counseling. Adapted from The Secret Life of the Soul, copyright 1997 by J. Keith Miller. Published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn.