good for the soul.

If I were to be honest with you, I would tell you that lately, my life has held a heck of a lotta crazy. With a bit of confusing, and more than a dash of overwhelming. But mostly, I've been up to my eyeballs in cough drops, tissues, and NyQuil. And in the midst of it all, there's been time to think. Especially from my perch this week on the couch. To think about life and love and where I'm going, and just the now. And you know, in my prayers and quiet moments of prayer, the Lord has been really speaking to me - in His still, small way - about my soul. About how I treat it, how I neglect it, and how sometimes, I abuse it. We as a culture tend to be so conscious about our bodies and our minds. We exercise and eat "clean", we try to get enough sleep and drink lots of water. We attend school and read books to stretch our minds. But what about our souls? My soul gets lost in the shuffle most days, and I want to change that. Yet, souls are tricky. They're that deep down place far beneath the surface of our outer clothing and skin and hair and bones. Our souls are intangible, really - we cannot see them. But oh, can we feel them. They are the basis, the core of who we are. And they will last far beyond these physical bodies. I remember a friend of mine used to say, "That was good for my soul" after a particularly refreshing walk in the park, a fulfilling and complete conversation with an old friend, or even a song heard on the radio. And you know, these past few days of confinement to the house in my "sicky" state, I am determined afresh to tend my soul. Like an invisible garden... which is oftentimes dying from lack of care, water, and good food. That's gotta change. I'm tired of neglecting my soul, my inner self, the part of me that only God sees - that holds all my hopes and dreams, pains and fears, faith and past. 

I don't think caring for your soul is just going to church or reading more Bible. Those things can be some of the best food, of course. But I think caring for our souls is so intricately tied to every part of our lives, really. Our souls are woven in and out of the fabric of the every day. So I want to start asking more purposefully, "Is this good for my soul?" And friend, I want you to ask too. Is the music you listen to good for your soul? Is it feeding you? Pushing you further, making you happier.. better? Are the words you read good for your soul? Do they send daggers of lust and discouragement to your heart or do they build you up in truth and strength? What about the images you view on the Internet? The websites you read, the blogs you visit? The TV shows you watch on Netflix every night after work? Are they feeding your soul, making you more beautiful inside? 

Something to think about. 

Today, I unexpectedly fed my soul. At the sea. And it felt good, healing, free. Watching the waves methodically yet freely play on the shore, dancing back and forth. The sun gleaming on the foamy water. A boat lazily passing by. Chatting with the ones I love. The soft, cool sea breeze. These things are good for my soul. 

                                                      You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor on Grooveshark

What are things that are good for your soul, friend?
For me, things like journaling and reading the She Reads Truth Plan.
Lemon tea with honey.
James Taylor music.
Cleaning my desk and lighting a candle, 
and then sitting down and writing a real letter to a friend.
Playing the piano, like I used to.
Reading the Psalms.
Talking a walk in the afternoon sunshine.
Eating a bowl of strawberries.
Mod-podging something, crafting something pretty.
Calling my grandma.
Blasting the country music radio and singing loud, alone in the car.
Making a healthy smoothie.
Watching an old romantic black and white movie.
Painting my nails red.
Maybe we can't always go to the beach or have some fabulous vacation, but those extravagant things are not what really truly feed our souls. 
Our souls are really fed by the simple things. By enjoying the small things.
By embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly - and giving it all to God,
who wraps us up in all our messiness and holds us close.
May your soul find rest in God alone this Thursday.
Love y'all.

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God, 
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; 

pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge." 
Psalm 62:5-8