We are hearing a lot more about self-care in these times. There are myriad blogs, books and videos out there to help us look after ourselves – and that is a very good thing. We need to look after our physical health and well being. But we also need something more to be a happy and healthy human being. We are not only bodies, we are also souls. As such, we need to look after our souls as well as our bodies. We need self-care certainly. But we also need soul care.
So how do we look after our souls? That might seem a bit tricky since our souls are impossible to see and difficult to visualise. We might have a basic understanding of how our body’s health is doing, but what about our soul’s?
At its most basic level, soul care is about reminding ourselves of God’s truth. Our souls wither when they are disconnected from God. We need to reconnect with the grace and truth of God, and we need to do this daily.
So what are the practical steps we can to look after our souls? They should come as a shock, or seem like rocket science. The building blocks of our spiritual life are things like Scripture, prayer and worship. These are the things that connect us with God’s truth and therefore care for our souls. We need to take part in these practises regularly since they are good for our soul.
The great thing is, there are lots of things out there to help with our soul care. Bible reading notes can be a terrific way to structure your daily time with God’s word, suggesting passages to read and giving some background to help understanding. You might consider The Bible in One Year (bibleinoneyear.org) which is offered free online or as an app. You can also buy the notes in a printed version if that’s more your style!
When it comes to helping with prayer, Lectio 365 (www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional) is a really helpful app from the 24/7 Prayer movement; the YouVersion Bible app (www.youversion.com) offers a range of Bible reading plans and prayer helps. The Church of England (www.churchofengland.org) also offers different resources, online and in print, to help with our own daily prayer.
When it comes to worship, during this pandemic we have missed the opportunity to sing God’s praises together as a church. We look forward to the day when we can do so again. In the meantime, take the opportunity as you are able to worship at home. Put on some worship music and sing out praise to God. If you don’t have some good worship albums on CD, tape, vinyl, streaming services or eight track (ask you parents or grandparents!), then YouTube is a great source of worship songs.
In saying all this, my aim is not to give you a long list of things to do or try, and make you feel guilty when we don’t do them or fall behind. The aim is for each of us to attend to our spiritual life, to care for our souls. Find the right resources, the right patterns, the right ways that work for you, and cultivate them.
This is actually a crucial time for us to attend to the care of our souls. As we move out of lockdown restrictions our daily rhythms and patterns are going to change. Perhaps you have been able to establish good habits of prayer, Bible reading and worship during lockdown. It’s going to be important to hold on to those habits as we move into a different way of life over the coming months.
Many of us may have struggled with daily Bible reading, prayer and worship over the past year. I know I have, and I don’t want to make you feel guilty if you have as well! But we have an opportunity to build new patterns and habits over the coming weeks and months that will sustain us in our post-lockdown life. Are there some practical steps you can do this week to start habits that will sustain your soul?