Growing up summer was a time to play and daydream, filled with friends and laughter. These days, summers look a bit different. I realized I needed a large serving of summer soul care. I was going too fast and not spending the downtime in a meaningful way that would breathe life into my soul.
Vacation was a gift this year. I enjoyed every minute and planned a week balanced with activities and time alone. I realized during my quiet moments, my soul was thirsty.
It is hard to lead and inspire others when our own souls are parched.
Let’s approach the last days of summer with the intention to make the most of the time we have and enter fall feeling renewed. It’s fun to write out our summer bucket lists full of all the things we want to do. We schedule our time with back to back adventures, in the nooks and crannies of our week. Instead what if we balance whatever time is left with space to be quiet, spend times with friends and approach it with intention.
There wasn’t one big defining moment that pointed me to need for a little summer soul care this year. It was a series of tiny little instances, where I could see I was depleted. Soul care is something we all need more of in our life. Dallas Willard said, “Your soul is not just something that lives on after your body dies. It’s the most important thing about you. It is your life.” We excel at taking care of everyone and everything else and often forget to take care of ourselves.
Life is so fast-paced as we try to fill it up with work, church, family, friends and an endless list of need to do’s. How often do we take time to stop, listen and hear from the Lord? How often do we sit and just think about how we are feeling about things? We can fill our week doing good but not accomplish what we need to.
My quest to take better care of myself began on vacation. The salt air and the sound of crashing waves heals and energizes me. Walking along the beaches of Santa Barbara was everything. Time to think, process questions I have, examine emotions I have been feeling. I was doing a little research and found out the spray of ocean water or a waterfall creates negative air ions that boost our mood. No wonder it medicine to my soul. We all need to move to the beach!
Watching my dog Max run in and out of the ocean was therapeutic. Sitting with a latte, journal, and Bible I talked to God, spent time in gratitude and reflected on how blessed I am. I came home feeling like that was just the beginning of a summer of soul care.
If you are hungry for some soul care here are a few ideas to get you started.
Make time for soul dates through the summer. What are soul dates you wonder? Soul dates are times you intentional spend renewing your soul and getting true rest. They can look different each time. Sometimes I just need to be still, others times being at the beach or doing something creative energizes me. Figure out what energizes you and what quiets your soul when the noise gets too loud. Calendar times to be still and carve out times to get away. Go to that favorite coffee shop or walk along the beach.
• Reading a good book and savor every word
• Take a social media fast
• Early morning walk or hike
• Listen to music
• List 10 things to be grateful for right now
• Cook yourself a simple meal and take time to enjoy every bite
A Soul Audit is where you take an emotion and spiritual inventory of your life. Set aside an hour or two. Reflect on where you are and look at the direction you are going. Are you where you want to be or do you need to redirect and prioritize. Stay tuned for more on this.
This spring one of my co-workers, Greg, led an Equipping Huddle on the book 18 Minutes. We left inspired to review our goals and reset our calendars reflect those. For a more creative person like me, it is a bit of a struggle to stay on track but my days are always more productive and fruitful when I do.
The book helped me focus and look at how I am spending my day.
• Am I getting the quiet time with God I need?
• Am I actively listening to Him?
• What season am I in right now?
• What situation do I need to lean in to right now
• Does my calendar reflect what I say is important?
Sit down to write out your observations to the above questions. Consider what changes do you need to make to have a healthier soul. Is your calendar filled with your priorities or your should do’s?
Spend time in prayer, asking God to give you wisdom and direct your path. Ask Him what his will for your life is. What do you need to see, that you are missing in the busy of your life? Ask the Lord to direct your path.
Proverbs 3:6 says, Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (NLT)
Spend time listening. Hold up all your dreams, your pains, your hopes and trust that He has a plan. Journal how you are feeling.2