Soul Care

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  ~ Mark 8:36 
Caring for your soul should be a consistent discipline of the spiritual leader’s life. In fact, it should be the highest priority of every follower of Christ. Caring for our soul involves understanding that the Holy Spirit is working deeply within our soul/spirit to lead, heal, restore, and motivate us to become more Christlike, loving, and sensitive to the voice of God. 

The soul is the most neglected part of the leader in today’s world.~  Steve Macchia, Leadership Transformations

The Scriptures, rather than the culture of our world, must inform our lives as we endeavor to be healthy leaders. Caring for our soul will bring us balance as well as sensitivity to the voice of God. Soul care focuses on our walk with God, and our deeper intimacy with Christ. When we have this intimacy – our Christlike person will have great impact on the people around us.  

Some thoughts about caring for our soul:
·      Isolation – loneliness: Isolation can be a dangerous. To care for our soul, we need trusted people with whom we enjoy deep friendships and confidentiality – men with men, ladies with ladies. As leaders we can easily become lonely and drift into isolation. We tend to hide when having thoughts or behaviors that battle against our soul. All of us need other godly, and wise friends who pray for us, listen to us, and give us wisdom from above.
·      Exhaustion: Caring for our soul is being obedient to God’s will for us to rest. Sabbath rest is an area that the majority of Christian leaders fail to observe. Some say, “I don’t have time to take a Sabbath.” This commandment from our Father  is for us – it creates balance, healthy thinking, and deeper spiritual insights, while enabling God’s presence to be part of our lives. The term Sabbath is mentioned over 60 times in the Bible as it describes the commandment to rest.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh dayis a sabbath to the Lord your God.   ~ Exodus 20:9-10

For many, the soul is the most undeveloped part of us. Some ways to take care of your soul could be:
 ·     Personal meditation, reflection, and praying in the spirit
·     Slowly reading the Scripture and permitting the Holy Spirit to speak through the Word
·     Self-examining and soul searching practices
·     Writing or recording your revelations, dreams, and reflections from the Scripture
·     Developing sensitivities to the voice of the Holy Spirit
 ·     Seeking Godly advice and understanding that there is wisdom in the counsel of others.
·     Spiritual friendships: loyal, confidential, trustworthy, and willing to speak the truth to us, in love, about concerns they see or sense

Deep within us, our soul cries out to be known, to live and to be loved by God and others. The sensual, obsessive, sinful world that we live in, says that we can be satisfied by its pleasures.  Not so ! The deepest needs of our lives are satisfied by knowing God and understanding His amazing love for us.

Practical ways to care for our soul:Practicing spiritual disciplines is different from having a disciplined life. When we desire to become a healthy soul we develop disciplines, behaviors, thought patterns, and attitudes that are pleasing to God.
 ·      We need sleep: God has made us in his image, we need to get the right amount of sleep. All of us have a rhythm that is unique. Some need 7 hours of sleep, some need 9, but all of us need to sleep the necessary amount that our body needs. Like observing a Sabbath, sleep is an energy producer, and will revive us to accomplish more for His kingdom.
·      Physical care for our soul: Our body is the only one that we have. Eating healthy, developing an exercise program, sleeping, and resting will bring greater health to our soul.
·      Having fun as we care for our soul: This has been a difficult one for me. My wife understands “fun” much better that I do. However, I am getting better at having fun, and have noticed that this has a positive impact on my soul/spirit. I have found that many Christian leaders are not happy, they don’t know how to have fun, or just enjoy God’s creation.  A cheerful heart is good  medicine , but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.   ~ Proverbs 17:22

Creating boundaries as we care for our soul: When we work beyond our limits and are constantly in a hurry we will eventually become exhausted and burned out. As a result we can become bitter. There is a law of limits that we need to observe. We can do only so much and often we go way beyond what we can adequately do. When we live within our limits, we can sense the presence of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit more clearly. Part of that is understanding how to say “no.”

Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.~ Dallas Willard

Our time alone with God : God is always ready to lead us into new ways to listen and obey His will. When we read the Scriptures, we can ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us – and then we patiently listen and obey.When we care for our soul, our hearts and minds become healthy. We will notice that the Lord’s presence becomes part of all we do. The fruit of the Spirit will become more apparent in our lives, and we will grow from grace to grace as we conform to the image of Christ. Our minds will become transformed as we have the mind of Christ. 

You are a leader. Your soul is precious and the care of it is critical.  
I am always . . . 
Your friend and servant in Christ.

Dr. Wayde Goodall