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What’s Controlling You? Spirit or Soul?

“Do you ever feel like you might have a dual personality? You can be sweeter than cotton candy to your pastor, your neighbor, and the women…”

I nearly jumped out of my skin when these couple of sentences popped up on my phone. The YouVersion Bible app had sent its morning reminder for the “Guide Your Mind – Guard Your Heart – Grace Your Tongue” reading plan I had started (by Just Joy Ministries) and this was the teaser to keep reading. I couldn’t open my phone fast enough.

I won’t leave you hanging. Here’s what the first couple of paragraphs said,

Do you ever feel like you might have a dual personality? You can be sweeter than cotton candy to your pastor, your neighbor, and the women in your prayer group; however, when confronted with your husband’s messy ways, your children’s lack of discipline, or your mother’s controlling inter­ference, you become a screaming shrew with absolutely no evidence of the fruits of that delicious Holy Spirit! 

Let me assure you that you do not have a dual personality; you are simply a woman with both a soul and a spirit. 

WOW! I needed to hear this. This. Right here. Those very words are how I feel way too often.

I have doubted myself and my sanity. I’ve questioned God on how I can be so sickening sweet on one hand and so fiercely unkind on the other. This devotional answered my long-asked question of “why am I like this” oh so well.

The answer boils down to one hard truth:

“The things that you elect to ingest emotionally will determine how healthy your soul is when life becomes challenging.” – Just Joy Ministries

Ouch. A little hard to hear, but very true.

Breaking down the difference between soul and spirit, the devotional gave a clear picture of the role each plays in our life:

YOUR SOUL (mind and heart): “Under the influence of the fallen human nature, the soul is lower than the spirit and often feeds on the calories of temporary issues and circumstances, trying to chain you to your emotions and lead you away from the character of Christ.”

YOUR SPIRIT: “The aspect of your being upon which the Spirit of God exerts its primary and life-changing influence. It is also the part of you that is assigned to guard your heart, or soul. Your spirit always tries to imitate the truth of the Bible but will never force you to choose Christ over your disruptive emotions.”

In other words, those times when I’m less than lovely with my hubby and kids, running out of patience and unkind… it’s evidence that I’ve been starving my soul.

The health of my soul is a direct result of what I’ve been ingesting.

While I should be satisfying my soul with the bread of life and consuming God’s word which is rich in nutrients, I’ve been feeding my emotions ice cream.

Ice cream is sweet. It goes down easy. I can pick whatever flavor I’m in the mood for. Besides the occasional brain freeze, ice cream seems harmless enough. But if we consume too much, our waistline is going to tell the story of a diet gone wrong.

Ice cream cannot compare to the bread of life.

If we’re not filling our hearts and mind with the bread of life, our emotions, our actions, our reactions, and our ability to show love and grace and gratitude will show that our spirit has gotten off track.

Get where I’m going here? We need to fuel ourselves properly.

We have to make the intentional decision of what we want to control our life… our spirit or our soul. 

Are we going to allow the world to rule our emotions? Are we going to let circumstances determine our heart condition? Or are we going to shine up our spiritual armor and stand firm in God’s truth?

I challenge you, friend, to get so good at being in God’s word and consuming his goodness that when a challenging situation arises, your sassy little soul takes a back seat and allows your spirit to shine!


Moms, do you ever just want mom-life to be easier? Alisha helps moms simplify their lives and homes! Out with overwhelm, in with ease! Visit MsAlishaCarlson.com for ways to stop living in survival mode and start living out your God-given passions adventurously! Also, check out Alisha’s podcast, Real Mom Talk, a show that brings a little sanity, help, and humor to the insanity we feel as a mom!


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