There is a beautiful devotional series I subscribe to called Just Between Us. And they send me refreshing morning devotionals and scripture and its such an amazing way to start my work day. As I'm trying to find balance, body, mind and soul, I read this piece by Cathy McIlvoy this morning and just waded in the comfort of knowing that God holds it all. He holds my mind, my body and my soul. It's what I do with the lessons He teaches and the paths He directs me towards that can ensure I do what I can to be healthful in a balanced way. Enjoy this lovely little piece, it's quite a read, but worth it.
Truth. (Dwell on it.)
We need to be purposeful about keeping the truth in us because, throughout the day, that which is untrue is set before us in large portions: “You will be satisfied when you make more money;” “Plastic surgery is the answer to your low self-esteem;” “Keep busy, busy, busy with ministry so God will be pleased with you;” etc. In Phil. 4:8 Paul exhorts us to think about “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…”
In her popular book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Anne Ortlund offers a practical formula. “Eliminate and concentrate” is her method of obtaining an efficient, clean closet, a productive schedule and more. Her theory is that by eliminating what is unnecessary, we can see what is truly needed and use our time and possessions wisely for the Lord. Sometimes I find it helpful to reverse the formula. I don’t always recognize the lies that are bogging me down. Deception can be subtle. We begin to lose our joy. Peace is replaced with anxiety and irritability. We must first step back and take a good look. Concentrate. Examine. Pray. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts…” (Psa. 139). Listen to the Holy Spirit and godly people you trust. Read and study God’s Word. Memorize Scripture. Then we can better recognize when deception is being dished up. Once identified, we can go through steps to eliminate it and get it off our plates.
Fellowship. (Commit to it.)
Whether you are by nature an extravert or an introvert, there is an ingredient essential in life to keeping your soul supported - a true friend. We need to be vulnerable with someone. We need a friend who will be vulnerable with us.
People in leadership and ministry often do not want to appear weak. We think that if we keep our shortcomings and struggles to ourselves, others will believe that we are truly worthy of our position. The truth is, none of us is worthy. God uses us in spite of ourselves. We all need regular, true fellowship to keep our soul nurtured with encouragement, exhortation, and companionship. We need to be that safe place for others as well; we need to feed each others souls.
Pleasure. (Do what you love to do.)
In the movie Chariots of Fire, Olympic athlete and missionary to China Eric Liddell, is quoted as saying, “…when I run, I feel His pleasure!” You may not think there is anything spiritually nourishing about running. But Liddell knew from whom his ability came, so he ran his fastest and believed it pleased the Lord. I do not enjoy running, but God has given me an appetite for other activities. He has given all of us abilities, talents, and desires for different types of activities. By making the time to partake in what we enjoy doing, we refresh our soul and therefore nurture it.
Maybe you need to spend time gardening, playing a musical instrument, or going to the art supply store to buy some watercolors and brushes. Fix a special meal and invite others to enjoy it with you. We serve a creative God who makes unique and creative people. Commit to experiencing an activity that brings you relaxation and gratification. God will meet you there. You will lose track of time, appreciate the Lord more, feel His pleasure, and bring nourishment to your soul. Ken Gire, author of Windows of the Soul, writes: “We reach for God in many ways. Through our sculptures and our Scriptures. Through our pictures and our prayers. Through our writing and our worship. And through them, He reaches for us.”