I’ve been taking an online class through Willow Creek Association’s Leadership Institute for Transformation called The Leader’s Soul. It has been eye opening, heart opening and quite revealing all at the same time. The class, focused on the soul of a leader has challenged me in the way I care for my own soul while being in a so-called soul-care vocation, if you will. As a church leader it is an honor, privilege and blessing to walk alongside others in hopes that God may use me to care for the soul of another, pointing them towards Him… the Shepherd of our souls.
Yet if I’m going to be truthful, I would have to admit that it is far too easy to neglect my own soul in the middle of life. Kids, schedules, meetings, late night studying, piles of laundry, meal planning and the ever increasing collection of dust and baseball dirt in the house leave me with little but moments here and there to tend to this soul.
I want to spend a little time this week sharing what I’ve been learning in hopes that it may encourage you. The very first week of the course proposed two questions:
What are your symptoms of soul neglect?
What are your symptoms of soul health?
How do you know when you are neglecting the care of your own soul? How does it become a problem for you in your relationships? Your parenting? Does it effect your work? I know when I am neglecting my soul when my general attitude towards people becomes more snarky. I tend to have a dry sense of humor…witty…ahem… okay, I’m a little sarcastic. But the line is crossed a little too easily when I am depleted of every good thing that keeps my heart and mind focused on the right things. I get snarky. Sarcastic at the wrong time with the wrong people. I also am tired very quickly… I want to check out, shut down and go to bed.
But when my soul is being fed, nourished and healthy… I am far more patient, I laugh a lot more often and things are more peaceful at home. My soul needs regular moments of quiet. Time in the word, not just reading but thinking and writing and asking God to change me.
Mindy Caliguire, who is one of the instructors of the course pointed out that just like care for our physical bodies through eating right and working out, our souls need care to be strengthened and nourished. Not only that but every day we make a choice one way or the other to care for our souls or neglect our souls.
The Leader’s Soul class has challenged me in my choices… there are many things about life that cannot be changed and many things I would not wish to change. I really believe that if we care for our souls and stay on course with Jesus, He gives us a grace for whatever He has for us in life. It comes down to choices in how we are going to be faithful to that which He has given us. For me, where I gain my perspective, from Whom I draw my strength and the way I choose to use and give my first fruits of time and energy MUST change.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
What about you?
How do you know when your soul is healthy?
How do you know when it is being neglected?