Is Your Mouth Writing Checks Your Soul Can’t Cash?

Thanks to a gift from my friend Dan Webster, I am reading a book titled Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg. John is one of my favorite writers. He has this way of cutting through the clutter and speaking to the places where I am living. This read is no exception.

I know why Dan sent me the book. It is a reminder of something he has challenged me with on many occasions in the past. “Make sure your mouth isn’t writing checks your soul can’t cash.” Ouch! There’s a reason I call D-Web Yoda. Who thinks about stuff like that?

Actually, I hope you will. As a leader, is your mouth writing checks your soul can’t cash? The answer to the question most likely has much to do with whether or not you are in a hurry. God prescribes for us to be still if we are to know Him, and ultimately enjoy life.

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In Soul Keeping, Ortberg quotes his mentor, the late Dallas Willard who was one of the great spiritual thinkers of the last century. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life .... Hurry is the great enemy of souls in our day. Being busy is mostly a condition of our outer world; it’s having many things to do. Being hurried is a problem of the soul. It’s being so preoccupied with myself and what myself has to do that I am no longer able to be fully present with God and others. There is no way a soul can thrive when it is hurried. And nobody will come along and un-hurry your soul for you.”

So how’s your soul? Do you find your inner life preoccupied? Are your days characterized by stress and stuff ... hurry and worry? If so, you can’t delegate this one. This one’s a self-leadership deal.

My neighbor has a swimming pool. While he has a filter to keep the water clean, the filter is not enough. He also has a net on a long pole to skim debris from the surface.

As leaders, we are a lot like swimming pools. Every day or two stuff surfaces at a soul level and needs to be skimmed if we are to remain healthy and vibrant toward those we lead.

For the next few weeks, I intend to put time on the task of skimming ... and not on my neighbors pool. No, my focus will be on slowing down, eliminating hurry, and sifting out the junky, gunky, build up of my inner life.

Why? Because I don’t want my mouth to be writing checks my soul can’t cash.

Is it time for you to do some Soul Keeping too?

Leadership Begins at Home,


How much time do you think a leader should spend working on his soul, and what practices do you use to keep yourself fully present with those you lead?

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