“Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—” Deut. 4:9 (RSV)
Lately doubts and fears and negativity have been stronger in my life than God’s truths and victories, and I keep running into the terms soul care and soul tending. The words resonate. I imagine my soul and me at the spa, maybe the beach, refreshing, renewing: warm gentle breezes, meditation, a dewy glow about me as God builds back up things I’ve let fall down. But you might notice that, at the top of this website, the phrase on the menu isn’t soul care. It’s soul diligence, and it comes from the verse in Deuteronomy above. I think I’m way past the place where a spa day will fix my dilemma. I fear God and I have some serious work ahead.
My daughter is a massage therapist. I struggle with shoulder pain, and she can fix me up in an hour. With a couple sessions, I’m good to go for a few months. It’s restful, and I love it, and I would pay her almost anything when the pain gets bad and I can’t function.
My son is a personal trainer. Last January I started to train with him twice a week. It was hard. Painful and sweaty, and at first I was a wimp. But it got easier, and I got stronger, and I realized I didn’t have to go see my daughter as often. Sure, I still get sore and need a massage, but the two disciplines work together, strengthening and refreshing until I can move with ease through my days.
Soul care or soul diligence might have two parts, too. Meditation is calming and peaceful. Digging into the Word for truths is harder work. Together, they produce a stronger soul, one better able to deal with whatever comes. And we all know stuff comes. No road is clear and sunny and smooth all the time.
Personally, I have to have a plan. For years I read through the Bible once a year starting in January. Then a couple years ago, I didn’t read the Bible in a year. I decided I would try something else. But I didn’t plan something else, and that year I read very little Bible at all. And then I took that lack of discipline into the next year. And my soul was vulnerable to attack, to wounds, to lies and defeat.
This year, I intend to be diligent. I’m reading books on soul care, meditation, things of that sort, but I also have a plan for the sweat work. I’m going to read the whole Bible this year, and the plan I’ve chosen is a thematic one from BibleStudyTools.com. I wrote a post about Bible reading a few years ago, but the bottom line is don’t lose the sweat work. I can say from experience that it all falls apart after that, and it takes more than a soul day at the spa to put things back together.
Since I’ve not been disciplined lately, I know the first few miles are going to hurt–like running uphill with shin splints. I haven’t built soul workout time into my schedule for some time. Maybe you haven’t, either. But it will get easier, and pretty soon we can all lope along together stronger, wiser, moving at a good clip over the smooth paths, the rough paths, through the wind and the rain. And hey, I’m more than happy to share a few soul spa days with you all, too. This journey is long, so we’ll pace ourselves and enjoy the trek as we go.
So, I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t going to lecture. And this is a lecture. But I had to get this one out early, because I think it’s pretty foundational for my goal of finding God’s paths again, and apparently when I get excited, I lecture. (Mom thing!)
Anyway, I’ll race you to the next bend!! And maybe after that, we can share a soul spa day and enjoy the view.