As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2
“Never tell a child,” said George Macdonald, “‘you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.’”
- Grab your Bible, a pen, your journal, something delicious to drink, and go to the place where you meet with God. He longs for you to know He is with you and never tires of hearing your voice. Calm your heart as you begin, and focus your mind on the fact that Jesus is right here with you.
- Read Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 84:1-2, Psalm 63:1, and Isaiah 26:9. Pray and ask the Lord to speak to you about cultivating your soul.
Cultivating a Healthy Soul
How is your soul?
What is a soul, anyway?
Down in the deepest part of you lies your soul. It’s the part of you that’s you—your mind, your emotion, and your will. It continues to live on, even after you die (Genesis 35:18 NASB), and it’s the inner part of you that is as real as the ground you stand on and as necessary as the air you breathe. It’s the deepest part of you which has longings and desires needing attention.
An unattended soul is like a body uncared for and breaks down similarly just like your body would if all you ate was candy and soda. Like our bodies need fresh air to breathe and water to drink, your soul has needs too. These desires are just as important, and a lack of soul-filling sustenance will cause your inner-man to become ill and weak, and your life will begin to reflect its unmet needs.
How on earth do you feed a soul? I mean, we all know what to feed our bodies to stay healthy, but what does our soul need?
To find the answer to this question, you must look to the “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls,” Jesus. (1 Peter 2:25) He knows what is best, and, after all, invented our faith in the first place (Hebrews 12:2).
Before we examine this list, I want you to know, dear mama, that the Shepherd of your souls knows you have children in your home, and would be eager for me to encourage you to feed your soul well, even in this busy season of your life. A busy mama needs to cultivate her soul in a way that doesn’t require her to get a sitter or have complete silence in her home.
Don’t get me wrong; you need a soul retreat at certain times in your life, but real life must be lived in a real fashion which doesn’t require perfection and a life apart from your family.
That said, here is my list:
-Jesus made time with God a priority (Mark 1:35). This is the most important piece of tending your soul. Your inner- man needs to be with Jesus; it longs to be with Him. (Psalm 42:2) Don’t neglect time with your God. If at all possible, get up a half an hour earlier to pray and read your Bible, when your house is a bit quiet. If the baby awakes, hold her while you feed on the Bread of Life, the Holy Scriptures. If you are in a season where your children get up at 5 am, invest in a waterproof Bible and read it when you have a moment in the shower, or you could always read a beautiful children’s Bible to your precious ones as you snuggle on the couch together.
-Jesus worshiped (Matthew 26:30). Keep worship music on as much as possible in your home and your car. Sing along with your children in worship together. Play fun songs such as “Wee-Sing Bible Songs” and revisit the hymns of your childhood, or do like I did and learn them alongside your children for the first time.
-Jesus told beautiful stories. Read beautiful books so that you may draw from a deep well. Read them out loud to your children to feed their souls as well. I love the book, “Honey for a Child’s Heart” and “Books Children Love.” Both of these titles feature beautiful books which bring beauty and joy to your whole family!
-Jesus gave thanks to God and knew He was with Him (John 6:11, 11:41-42). Notice God’s presence and goodness in your life. Get in the habit of “checkpoints” throughout your day. When you wake up, ponder His goodness and at lunchtime, before you eat. And remember Him when you lay your head on your pillow at night; thinking back on the moments of your day where you noticed God being good to you. Take a moment to thank Him and fill up your soul at the same time.
-Jesus Forgave (Luke 23:34). This was perhaps His most amazing example to us. Even after He was crucified and hanging on the cross, He still forgave the ones who put Him there. Forgive. There is no room for unforgiveness in a happy soul. Let. It. Go.
-Jesus made time for people and community (John 15:15). Jesus spent lots of time with his friends- the twelve disciples. All across the gospels, we see Him eating, traveling and having meaningful conversations with His dearest companions. We need community as well. If you don’t have a friend or two with whom you can share your soul, pray and ask God to bring them to you. Be an initiator. Ask people over. Schedule a playdate or coffee-time with a new mom at church. Put yourself out there. Who knows, maybe you’re the answer to someone’s prayers for a friend too!
Questions to Ponder
Pray and ask God to show you anything in your life which might be discouraging your soul. Write them down and pray for them. Ask God for help to change any habits and avoid things which do not bring life to your soul.
Examples of these might be:
-Comparing yourself to other moms who seem to have it all together. You don’t know how they act on their bad days with their kids. No one is perfect!
-Prolonged internet surfing- reading anything which causes fear to rise in you or make you upset or discontent with your life or your children.
-A constantly messy house. Your home doesn’t need to be “House Beautiful,” only what is the right standards for you and your family, but a house which is in a constant state of disarray can bring you down. Even adding one positive habit, like the 5 o’clock pick up, where you set a timer, play fun, energizing music, and everyone runs around cleaning everything everywhere for 15 minutes.
-Watching violent or sexual movies. Your soul needs peace and goodness in your life. That said, we all know what feels right to watch and what doesn’t. If you don’t know, ask God (Philippians 4:8).
-Marital disharmony, or an uncultivated marriage. Plan time with your husband whenever you can. Try to put the kids to bed early once or twice a week and have a special time together. Pray for God to bring you moments in your life where you can spend together talking, laughing, having fun, cuddling or being intimate.
Faith filled idea
Begin to ask God to show you His goodness to you and be aware of His presence throughout the day. Plan to establish three times a day where you intentionally stop and look at how God has worked in your life that day. Did you save money at the store? Was your child extra cuddly? Did you get a phone call from a supportive friend? Thank God for every single good thing you notice. This one habit will help increase your faith.
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I remember going into my daughter's room night after night and kneeling beside her bed and crying my heart out to God because I didn’t know how to be a Christian mom; I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. You know what? God is so faithful! He answered me and simply said, “Spend time with me, Deb.” And so I did. I began arising 15-30 minutes earlier each day so I could read my Bible and pray, and plan out my day with my family.
If there was one thing I would love to share with you is that God is personal and loves you as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by our amazing God! Come as you are! His loving presence can be practically known and experienced. He is not a God who is far away, He is near and easily found. He longs for you to come to Him!
Randy and I have been married for 28 years and we have two grown children, Christie, and Jack, and one answer to prayer son-in-law named Alex. And now I get to be a Gigi to my sweet little grandbaby, Aspen! Yay!