Have you ever been in the middle of a beautiful worship service and wondered what was wrong with you? I sang with the congregation not too long ago, but I felt like I had a chainmail vest that made it impossible for the beautiful worship lyrics to penetrate my heart. The chains of the vest were ones I’d been constructing for weeks: worries and doubts, weariness and self-pity. It wasn’t until after the time of worship that I realized what was truly needed: soul care. I’d been so busy for months trying to take care of others that I had missed the needs of my soul entirely.
Have you ever felt that you were going through the motions with God, and it wasn’t cutting it? Did you see that singing louder or smiling didn’t help? It’s time to unload these burdens onto Him. We don’t need self-care. We need soul care.
When was the last time you cared for your soul? I’m not talking about self-care, where you get a manicure, have coffee with a friend, or read a good book. Soul care goes deeper. Soul care considers our emotions and needs to figure out what’s happening. Soul care pauses to consider what’s happening deep inside and seek God to make your heart happy in the Lord.
While self-care may bring a sense of peace for the day, we live thriving lives only through happy hearts and nourished souls. Anything less is just going through the motions.
But how do we genuinely care for our souls? We’ll start by looking at how we get soul care wrong and then discover the one right thing that changes everything.
How Moms Get Soul Care All Wrong
1. We believe soul and spirit are the same.
An authentic connection with Jesus involves connecting with Him on three levels. First, we physically control our actions and honor God through our actions. Second, our spirit joins with God to validate who we are. Finally, our soul, which includes our personality, emotions, and values, must also be surrendered to God. What is the goal of the soul? To humble ourselves and give Jesus the access and ability to do a makeover in every part of us, including our personality, emotions, and values.
2. We believe soul care to be the same as self-care.
As an author of more than eighty books, a speaker, podcast host, and homeschooling mom of ten children (and caregiver to my grandma!), people ask me how I do it all. The answer is this: I take time to nourish my soul. I do this through Bible reading and prayer. I do this by pausing to enjoy life—not just rushing through it. I do this by using my gifts and talents—doing the things God designed me to do—and joining Jesus at work around me.
Soul care happens not because I’m practicing all the right things, but because Jesus within me changes things—and changes me. Therefore, getting our souls into a happy state so that our inner man (or woman!) might be nourished infuses our tasks with new life, strength, and happiness.
3. We believe soul care is one and done.
Every small decision to tend your soul and turn your heart to God WILL bring change. The Middle English root word for “tending” means “to move or be inclined to move in a certain direction.” The goal here is not to perfectly practice soul care by forcing oneself to be happy in the Lord. I guarantee there’s nothing perfect to my tending. Instead, the goal is to make positive changes to cultivate a happy heart.
Tending our souls and focusing on being heart happy isn’t something we’ll figure out overnight. In a world of quick fixes, tending takes time. But instead of being discouraged, let’s consider this good news. We can lower our expectations concerning suddenly “being fixed.” Instead, we can make small shifts that tilt us in the right direction. One small change leads to another change, and then months from now, you can look back and smile at the positive shift.
4. We believe soul care depends on others.
No one in your life is as concerned about how well your soul is tended as you are (or should be). If you don’t prioritize soul care, no one else will. I promise you that.
How to Get it Right!
While each of these things can keep us from tending our souls, there’s one simple fix to get it right.
You have to take the time to care for your soul. Schedule it. Make a date. Create a plan.
For me, this includes getting up early to have time with Jesus. (A daily habit now!) It also includes taking time to write, read, and watercolor paint. I set aside times for these on my calendar. What part of your life could flourish from a nourished soul? The possibilities are endless!
Want to learn more about soul care and having a Happy Heart? Heart Happy: Staying Centered in God’s Love through Chaotic Circumstances will inspire you to stay tethered to the Lover of your soul. By taking time to make your heart happy in the Lord, you’ll grow closer to the Heavenly Father, fostering true transformation from the inside out. Peace and joy can be yours—no matter what life dishes up.