It’s so magical even when it’s ridiculously hot outside like it is now, here in Portland. Our bodies awaken from a winter slumber, our energy spikes, we start planning trips and hikes, and watch our gardens grow. We move at a different pace during these months and much of it is focused on rest and play. And yet, even with a new, slower pace I still find myself saying
“It’s mid-July!! Where did my summer go?!”
Summers can be a great season to start new habits as well especially when it comes to our health. We are more active in the summer, eating more fresh produce especially here in Portland where the Farmers Markets are plentiful! But summer can also be a time where we start to let other habits slip.
For years I have woken up early to make my morning coffee, read my Bible and journal. There have been seasons when I did this out of cold tradition, other times from a place of desperation and pain. Either way, I created a habit to start my day in silence with my journal and Bible and talk to God. I never expected this practice would be my greatest source of resiliency when I first began. I just thought I was doing my “Christian duty”. I never would have imaged a simple practice like that would enable me to walk through the darkest parts of my life with a radical sense of trust in God. Yet, even with this strong conviction, I let this habit slip when the sun is high and I am in full-blown vacation mode.
In a sense, I have found myself vacationing from my spiritual practices, exchanging spiritual care for beachsides and Margarita’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the beach and a solid margarita (on the rocks with lots of salt) but our souls need more than this. They need a deeper level of care that only a loving, present Savior can provide.
What is soul care? (and what isn’t)
When I’m talking about soul, I’m talking about your heart, emotions, mind and the thought life that inevitably flows from them. Our souls are the deepest part of our being and let’s just say it now, many of us are just partially acquainted with it. There are parts that are still a mystery to us. The physical world is far too tangible and we easily get caught up in whatever season we find ourselves in. Then we are completely mystified by an “outflow” that springs from us in the form of apathy, fear, control, or whatever ugly thing that breaks through the surface of your poolside vacation. These are the outflows of a soul that is being starved of what is most essential.
After dealing with infertility for five years now I have just recently discovered something big. It has nothing to do with my hormones or physical problems but everything to do with my soul. I was completely disconnected from it! For the past 2 years, I have treated my infertility as a goal to accomplish completely ignoring my feelings. As a 3 on the Enneagram, feelings tend to slow me down and so I stuff them for the sake of getting shit done. Now I am realizing how important the mind and body connection is. This past year I am being reintroduced to myself.
Hello, it’s so nice to meet you…I think.
You see there’s a big difference between soul-care and self-care. These two could ultimately be interchangeable but soul-care really gets to the heart of what is really needed. My soul doesn’t need a pedicure (though my feet desperately do!) or a mimosa brunch with my girlfriends, it needs connection to a Savoir more than anything else.
Put down the margarita…(well, at least for a moment)
Perhaps you feel like you don’t have the bandwidth to start something new this summer. You’re tired from an already maxed out summer and feel completely incapable to even begin. Where does one even start caring for one’s soul? (it’s mid-July for crying out loud!) But there’s Good News, my friend, you don’t have to do it alone! As believers in Jesus, our soul care is grounded in our connection with God. He knows what we need before we even discover it ourselves. He already knows of the undiscovered places, the untapped potential, and the hidden vices. He knows where you need to find true peace this summer.
So I encourage you to slow down (you still have over a month of summer) and take time to look inward. It’s never too late to open up your Bible, start a new journal entry and spend time talking to God. I will be sharing some simple practices you can start this summer in Part 2 of this blog “Spiritual practices for the summer brain”. I will dive into the Spiritual Practices that have been around for hundreds of years and give you a few easy ideas and ways to implement them this summer.
Till next time, may you be found in Him.