Soul Care Reflection: We Are Accompanied
A Life Accompanied
A life where you know that you're accompanied by God will deeply inform the moments when you feel all alone.
You matter to God: soul and body. You're not a fraction of a being, where only parts of you are noticed and nurtured; you're a whole being requiring the attunement of the whole self unto a benevolent God who profoundly cares about you. He cares about the totality of your flourishing soul and body — within (spiritual) and without (physical) — they're intertwined and they're only disconnected at the point of death. It so matters that we honor their friendship (sorta speak).
Attuned To The Story
No matter what it is that we cannot control or change in our environments, we have been graciously accompanied with such a vast amount of God's love and empowerment that there's always a remnant of audacity that grace mobilizes.
Since our internal and external activities are meant to be mobilized in unity, it's possible to attune ourselves in our various environments: spiritual, physical, communal, financial, etc. Our environments aren't defining or determining our successes or our failures, rather, they're part of the unfolding events in our life story, authored and narrated by Someone who is deeply intimate with all of our humanity from the inside-out — beginning, middle and end. Ironically, our story is about persistently listening to and believing in Abba's story, which includes His inexhaustible love for our entire selves: our being and our doing.
Admittedly, there will be many who will want to illegitimately edit God's love story for us: well-meaning folk and some mean folk. Interestingly, the most illegitimate editor isn't the devil, although he is influence is real and harmful, he uses tactics that instigate and amplify the fears and insecurities that the self brings to the table. This is why sacred, personal care is so needful, so critical.
Both/And: Soul and Body
Although soul care attunes to the interior life (belief systems, attitudes, paradigms, etc.), it addresses the whole self, your entire life. Soul care salutes self-care, therefore, soul care respects and anticipates the cooperation of our physiology. Soul care and self-care are beautifully intertwined.
Choosing to honor both will nurture your well-being There's a greater transformational impact when we rest in nurturing both. Abundance whispers, "both/and" and "grace over grind". Scarcity shouts, "all-or-nothing and "either/or."
Dirt & Divine Mark Us
A benevolent God breathed into the clay body of the first human, and he became a living soul with a body — Dirt and Divine — You are a soul and your body compliments it. Equally, your soul (all of who you are) and your body (God's temple) matter, they're gifts. They both have a beautiful design. They both encounter dilemmas that make them vulnerable. They both require care and cures.
Self-Care, Soul Care
Think of self-care as the art of self-initiating a health that opens one up to shalom (well-being, wholeness, and peace). Think of soul care as the art of engaging life that opens one up to health from an inside-out approach to shalom.
Self-care is not merely about a physical workout, flossing, drinking water, lighting a candle, showering and eating... These are good practices, but there's more. Christ reveals to us a better way, a stunning truth about how to pay attention to ourselves.
I'm not talking about self-absorption, rather, I'm talking about how you apply grace to your own life without bypassing yourself. It requires an ongoing renewal of seeing yourself as you are seen by the Father of Lights.
Soul care is not merely about spiritual aspects. It's about life care. And life care or soul care is first and foremost God-referencing. It's about Love (God is love) accompanying you in every facet of life.
The Key to Accompaniment is Hospitality
The key to accompaniment is to cultivate a hospitable heart towards Love's companionship. Once you've initially welcomed Jesus as your Beloved Redeemer, you keep welcoming Him to every chamber of your heart.
It's a relief that our perfection isn't in view, only His. This assures us that such an incessant welcome of His presence acknowledges that He's with us for the long term to make all things new in their proper season.
Although there's no scarcity problem in Him, He will incessantly address any and all scarcity patterns of thinking in us. Some of these patterns of thinking attached themselves to us in our childhood and in life's traumas. But freedom choices await us.
Single step by step, we welcome Love in every square inch of our life, it's a welcome that we've already been ushered into, wholeheartedly.
Grace over Grind
God is enough and He's given us enough of everything to live out life. He's maturing us by growing us in grace so that we'll relinquish to Him what is His to heal and receive from Him what is ours to cherish.
And yes, we'll be tempted to grind it out, whatever "it" is, but He'll remind us who we are... human "beings" doing many influential things, whether in the mundane or in the miraculous of life.
And He'll remind us Whose we are... His.
As we go about living, let's not forget that rest is part of the program, yes, even in light of hardships, especially in light of hardships.
Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.
Focus on the 1-3 questions that most resonate with you (or all of them, if you desire):
Who do you go to for your soul care or spiritual direction?
What connections do you see between soul care (internal activity) and self-care (external activity)? How are you respecting your physiology and your spirituality?
Overall, do you give focused attention to your soul care and self-care as a reward or as a way to love yourself?
How has God been tapping you on the shoulder about your routine or rhythm of soul care?
Have you noticed the kind of environments that create shalom and focus, internally and externally?
Have you sought to truly understand the kind of environments that create a source of stress or struggle, internally and externally?
Is your suffering (or the suffering of a loved one) ill-informing your soul? If so, what are you believing?
In light of suffering, how is being in fellowship with Christ informing your soul? (whether mental illness suffering, financial suffering, relational suffering, physical suffering, etc.)
How would you describe your overall perspective? (scarcity or abundance)
Defining our Terms
Here's what I mean when I say...
Attunement: harmonious agreement
Scarcity: shortage or sparseness, not enough
Abundance: fullness, plenty, enough
Self Care: initiating the care for oneself
Soul Care: life care from the inside-out
Shalom: wholeness, peace, well-being
Reward: conditional gifts (based on doing)
Love: unconditional gifts (based on being)
Environment: life conditions or personal contexts
Be Loved. Breathe. Ponder. Pace yourself.
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