Dr. Gail Seidel’s post on soul care is a taste of her free video series Soul Care produced by Beyond Ordinary Women.
Because the “heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19: 2-3) and because the Lord Jesus put His Spirit within each one of us who believes (I Corinthians 6:19) we know it is possible to be aware of Him deep within our souls. We know He will never leave us but sometimes we fail to even acknowledge or notice Him. Oh how He longs for us just to come and sit in His Presence and deep down inside we want that too.
The problem is that we are distracted 24/7 and forget to notice Him and His presence all around us, within us and within others whom we live and work and converse with. Our soul awareness capacity could use some exercise.
Thomas Moore in his book Care of the Soul offers “Care of the soul begins with observance of how the soul operates.” The soul:
• longs for God Psalm 42:1-2
• can be depressed, disrupted Psalm 43:5
• glorifies the Lord – Luke 1:46
• can be neglected and restored – Psalm 23:3
• can be quieted –Psalm 131:1-3
• responds to God and to others- Deuteronomy 6:4-5
• has capacity for intimacy with God and others – Luke 10:27
• is impacted by choices – Matthew 16:26
• is formed by rhythms- Psalm 119:164
• anticipates and waits for the Lord –Psalm 130:5-6
Consider these basics –
The soul can be neglected, depleted and dangerously tired – Psalm 42:11
Symptoms of soul neglect: self-absorption, shame, apathy, toxic anger, physical fatigue, isolation, stronger temptation to sin, drivenness, feelings of desperation, panic, insecurity, callousness, a judgmental attitude, cynicism and lack of desire for God
The soul can be nourished – Isaiah 55:1-3
Signs of soul health: love, joy, compassion, giving and receiving grace, generosity of spirit, peace, ability to trust, discernment, humility, creativity, visions, balance and focus. Mindy Caliquire, Discovering Soul Health, 14
Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart – “Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear its cries.”
Consider what could be soul nourishing for you from Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul:
• Pausing – deep breath
• Period of non-doing – essential nourishment to the soul
• Taking time – Soul cannot thrive in a fast-paced life, because being affected, taking things in and chewing on them, requires time; the soul basks in an extended sense of time.
• Role of art – arrests attention – important service to the soul; some people are incapable of being arrested by things because they are always on the move.
• Certain things which stimulate imagination – blossoming of fantasy might be a sign of soul.
• Ordinary arts practiced daily – rituals of washing, rinsing, drying; ironing; hanging clothes on a line; weaving, knitting, sewing encourage reflection and reverie.
• Beauty the face of soul – in a world where soul is neglected, beauty is placed last on its list of priorities.
SO, how do I begin to pay attention and have my soul noticing muscles strengthened? Some of it is just being more soul aware and noticing. Reflective questions can help jump-start the process. Alice Fryling suggests from Seeking God Together:
In the last twenty-four hours, what gave you joy, energy, delight? Sorrow, draining, boredom?
Who in your life (past or present) has given you a taste of God’s love?
What activities in your life seem to draw you to God? What activities in your life pull you away from God?When or where are you most likely to be aware of God’s presence?
When or where are you least aware of God’s presence?
In the last day or two, when or where were you most aware of the presence of God in your life?
Ask the Spirit to help sharpen your ability to notice Him and pray as Micah 7:7 prayed, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; My God will hear me.”