Every spring I begin those sunny May days way behind on my bush and tree trimming. Over the winter, when others took time and energy to whack back those dead branches or trim the hedges in order to get them ready for a colorful spring, I didn’t. It’s not that I don’t care for my hedges, trees, bushes or flowers – I just forget. Or if I’m really honest with you, sometimes I don’t know the best way to take care of my yard. Right now, in cold January and February, I am not thinking about those warm days of May when my yard should look beautiful and healthy.
The same can be said of my soul. The soul is the totality of who we are in our inner life. Some say our soul is the combination of our heart, our mind, our body, and our spirit. Whatever definition you may work from, the soul is you, your inner you. And if you are like me, so very often I am not thinking too much about my inner me. I am thinking about our church family, my own family, biking, fly fishing, my hair thinning, how God can stop this Covid-19, the Olympics this summer, my next trip to get ice cream. As you can see, often I am thinking about many important things besides my won soul, ha-ha!!
Yet, as John Ortberg writes about in his book, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You, our soul is the deepest part of us as human beings. He writes, “Your soul is what integrates your will, (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values and conscience), and your body (your face, body language and actions) into a single life. A soul is healthy – well ordered – when there is harmony between these three entities and God’s intent for all creation. When you are connected with God [in Christ] and other people in life, you have a healthy soul.” (pp. 43)
Now, wowzer, that is heavy stuff! What is Ortberg really trying to say to us non-intellectuals? This is what he is saying: We are most healthy at the core of who we are in our soul, when we are connected to God in the person of Jesus Christ and with others. Outside of that, we are not healthy.
Every spring I look back and wish I had spent time tending to my yard in winter, so that everything is healthy and growing well. Every year I look back on my spiritual life and want more for my soul (my mind, my heart, my will, my body) as the new year begins; yet so often I find I just didn’t spend time with our soul gardener, God.
If our inner life, our soul, is the most important part of who we are, then why don’t we do whatever it takes to take care of it?
Consider this a confession and in invitation to start anew, now. Here me now Church of the Holy Spirit family; let’s start this week tending to our closeness to God as the most important thing in life. When times are hard in this pandemic, it’s the best time to draw near to God in Christ. Jesus alone promises in Him we can have life, no matter the outer circumstances.
So, what can we do then to tend to our souls with God in Christ? As Quigg has said so often in his wisdom, make it a priority in our lives to spend time with God. Engage these three easy steps:
- Time: Find a regular time when you can pray, read and study the Bible and get to know the gardener of your soul: our God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Place: Create a place in your home where you can sit regularly and just be with God. Perhaps it is at work on your lunch break.
- Method: Find, create, download a method of how you are going to spend regular, intentional time with the God who loves you. You can go here to download various options of bible reading plans. I find these help me a lot.
Lastly, ask for “help.” Ask God to help you be with Him. Ask Him to fill your soul with more and more of His love and grace. Ask Him to show Himself to you as you pray, as you read the Bible. Then, just watch as your soul flourishes come springtime in a harvest of Christ-likeness.