I think there are two aspects to soul care. Caring for your spiritual well-being and caring for your mental well-being. In my last soul care article I talked about three ways to gauge where you are at with soul care and how these ways are based on how you are interacting with life. Please take the time to read it if you have not done so already. In this article I want to talk about what to do when the tank is empty or how to keep the tank full by breaking away from the craziness and doing things that give you life. Some people call it a hobby; some call it “ME TIME”. The best way to look at it is like this: when I, (fill in the blank with an activity), I feel God’s immense pleasure and satisfaction towards me.
Carve out time. If you don’t schedule time for soul care you won’t do it. When we are talking about spiritual upkeep, quiet time with Jesus, reading His word, reading a book that draws you toward God, spiritual disciplines, all of these take time. Get in a regular habit of having this time. When it comes to mental well-being it also takes time. Find things that give you life: walk on the beach, go for a bike ride, go camping—things that are tailor made for YOU. What can you do both spiritually and mentally that help you feel God’s pleasure with you? Like the famous quote from Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
There are two areas where this is true in my life. I feel alive when I am working with my hands and when I am writing curriculum. These areas change from time to time, but when I sit down and ask myself, “when do I feel God’s pleasure?”—these are the two areas that stand out the most right now. I personally love building and creating from wood and recently out of metal barrel bands. Knowing what refreshes you is only half the battle. The other half is actually carving out time to do what is life-giving. About 6 months ago I got an itch to build barrel furniture. Thanks to our good friend, Pinterest, I was able to find dozens of examples. When I build, I enter the zone where I am focused and creative. Most of the time I can build from a picture; I can see how things have to be made in order to work. The best part of this is that I feel God’s pleasure for me as I’m working. Almost as if The Father is saying, “That’s my son doing what I created Him to do.” I am made to make things. Likewise, when I am writing and creating curriculum for our high school and middle school groups I am in the zone and creating in a different way. Looking up scriptures, creating examples, games, and finding YouTube clips I feel God’s immense pleasure. Both of these activities fill my tank and bring me life. It causes me to feel close to God as I creatively try and capture specific glimpses of Him for others to experience and know.
Life certainly has its challenges. The sun rises on the good and the evil. We need to find what works in every season, but the more we know who we are, the better we can navigate what fills us and gives us life as long as we actually take the time to do so. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”