Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
I have an iPhone. I love it and I hate it. It's an incredible tool and it's a huge distraction. I can't live without it and I want to throw it in the blender and press puree. When it gets too full of stuff - apps, data, photos, songs, info... - it bogs down, creeps at a turtle's pace and sometimes crashes all together. My visceral reaction is frustration. “It's not supposed to work this way! Why is this happening!?” Then a little message pops up that says something like, “Memory or storage too full - delete something.”
Soul Care - the care and feeding of our soul, our inner self, our spirit/heart - is all too similar to this.
Soul Care is a really big subject. There are whole books and courses and seminary classes on the subject.
I think there are healthy souls and unhealthy souls.
An unhealthy soul looks an awful lot like my phone - too busy, overwhelmed, exhausted, burnt out. It’s a life too full of stuff that begins to bog and slow and maybe even crash.
No one sets that as the goal but too many of us get there too often. But how?
Our neurotic celebration of busyness?
Real, legitimate responsibilities like family, work, relationships.
Outside influences that vie for our time and attention - they are legion (screens being the clear leader today)
My ego - the need to matter more, to be better than, to prove myself to...
I’m sure there are more.
So what does a healthy Soul / heart look like?
I think it's more than just the opposite of the list above: (not busy, well rested, underwhelmed, always fired up.) I think most of us would look at this and say that it is unrealistic.
Maybe a healthy soul looks more like balance. (thank you Mr. Miagi)
-Busy, accomplishing a lot but not overly busy. A life with margin, with some things deleted.
-Energy well-used, well-expended. Not letting your battery go so dry so often that it can’t hold a charge any longer. Able to rest, to stop.
-Life full and challenging but not in an “Atlas carrying a crushing world” way.
-Spent - but energized by how and on what you have been spent.
We all know that this sure doesn't happen by itself. It requires attention, effort, discipline, making a priority of and valuing what one author called “the invisible work of caring for your soul”. Spiritual discipline is good...very good (as we talked about last month). But I would submit that it only works, it only lasts if there is a deeper why. I think that why includes gratitude for the free gift of mercy and grace, a deep and deepening love and hunger for more of the One who gives it. THAT has staying power. THAT is motivating. That will help me stay at the task of caring for my soul.
Father, you are described as the “Lover of my soul”. Would you press that truth into me more and more and allow the truth of it to be the fuel and the deeper why that enables me to care well for my soul. Show me where my “storage is too full” and how and where to make change, to make movement towards You, the fruit of which will be a more healthy soul. For your glory and pleasure. Amen.
Can you identify some of the things in your life that threaten the health of your soul?
Identify and write down some places of health in your heart/soul - either currently or in the recent past. How can you feed those?