I almost missed it. It hit me while I was out on a walk enjoying the beautiful sunshine and listening to my Jesus music. If I hadn’t taken the time to engage in soul care (a new discipline for me) I might not have realized how God had answered a prayer I had been praying over the last few months.
To back it up a little… I spent the last year studying the life of Elijah. In August my next women’s Bible study will come out titled Elijah: Spiritual Stamina in Every Season. Elijah was a prophet who got weary. He came to a point in life and ministry where he said, “I have had enough.” Yet later in his life, we find Elijah mentored Elisha, called down fire from heaven on some army captains trying to capture him, and finished very well. How did he have the stamina to keep going when he wanted to quit? I discovered several key practices that contributed to his grit that became the six chapters of the Bible study.
One of these was soul care. When Elijah got weary, he ran to Beersheba – a place where Abraham, Issac, and Jacob all had encounters with God. He rested and ate. Then he took a slow journey where He listened for God’s voice. God showed Elijah a whirlwind, fire, and an earthquake but spoke in a gentle whisper. I have found that I must be intentional when I am weary to find ways to run away and encounter God. I must find things that nourish my body, soul, and spirit. Usually I want to watch Netflix and eat ice cream when I am tired or frustrated… but soul care is very different from escape. It is being intentional in connecting with God so He can recharge our spiritual batteries as only He can.
Soul care can be different for different people. I find I need to usually leave my house. So today I went on a long walk. I listened to the Bible with my Youversion app and then listened to worship music. I set my thoughts on God and talked to Him and listened for His voice.
As I was reflecting and processing and engaging with God, it hit me. I had been asking for Him to reignite in me a love for someone I had been struggling to love. I laughed and then cried as I walked (hopefully no one in the neighborhood was looking outside at the crazy woman seemingly talking to herself). It happened so slowly over the last few months, I hadn’t noticed what God had done. He had answered my prayer.
This caused me to not only praise God but also to remember the power of prayer. It encouraged me to keep asking for big things and then taking the time to slow down and notice when God showed up.
I’m not sure what type of season you are in right now? Maybe it’s a busy, demanding time or a slower pace. Perhaps it is time of healing, grief, or celebration. In every season we must carve out time for soul care. Here are a few guiding questions as you look for restful practices to care for you soul:
- Do I feel closer to God after I engage in this practice?
- Could I recommend this habit to others that I love?
- What impact does this activity have on my body, soul, and spirit?
I know I don’t want to run so hard that I miss seeing God at work in my life. Soul care is one of the ways we can maintain spiritual stamina in every season.
I’d love for you to leave a comment either on social media where you found it posted or this blog about some of the restful practices that you engage in for soul care! If you do, I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free copy of Elijah: Spiritual Stamina in Every Season that I’ll mail to your home as soon as the study releases the first week of August.