Nurturing Your Soul

This month my Recalibrate Life read is The Worn Out Woman: When Your Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty by Dr. Steven Stephens and Alice Gray.

I think it has been well established that many women feel overwhelmed and long for nurturing. Gray says that when this nurturing goes unattended “the longing for it deepens.”

As Christians there is a deep yearning in our hearts for depth of connection with the Lord. We need for Him to meet with us, to lead us, to comfort us, to restore us, and to give us rest, just to mention a few needs that often fill our hearts and souls. These are ways that He nurtures us.

When we read Psalm 23, we sigh with that yearning for the rest promised to be found in the green meadows and for the peace that we find as we are led beside still waters. We want what David found there as a shepherd boy. There under the stars just talking to the Lord, breathing deeply, and finding rest in the midst of the struggles that a shepherd has with unruly sheep.

Where can we find the quiet that creates space for that kind of intimacy with the Lord? Last week we considered the option of a mini-retreat as a way to help us gain direction as we evaluate our lives and reroute our life to follow His purpose. While that is great, we still are left with the day-to-day, how can our souls be nurtured in the busyness of the day-to-day?

We need the Lord. We need consistent time with Him, we need to be available so that we can grow in knowing Him and His character more. We need Him to help us in building our faith. And all of that takes time.

I know from personal experience this does not just happen apart from doing some planning. Life’s busyness often squeezes out the little time we thought we might have with the Lord. Each of our lives have different schedules, different people, and different expectations clamoring for our attention. The authors of The Worn Out Woman explain it best as they say that “finding time to nurture your soul is a unique quest for each person.”

This book gives many different suggestions as to how to find time to spend with the Lord despite life’s craziness.

Finding time to spend with the Lord may mean taking time to talk with Him in the midst of your chores. Maybe that is at the kitchen sink as you wash another sinkful of dishes or maybe it is in the laundry room as you put another load of clothes in. These places that we regularly find ourselves in can become our very own “prayer closets.”

You may do best to schedule an appointment on your calendar, setting aside a certain block of time to just spend with the Lord. Or as another suggested, schedule a “Jesus date.”

It may even be an option for you to find an opportunity for your “mind and spirit…to commune with the Lord while you are exercizing.” Meditate as you do your morning stretches. Or pray as you bike. Your exercize time can become a time to draw near to Him. 

Along with finding a time, it is also important to consider what place seems nurturing to you. This choice of places is obviously dictated by what your life allows. But you can meet with the Lord anywhere. Maybe you will choose your garden or your porch, maybe you enjoy sitting in a special rocking chair or possibly there is a corner of your dining room table where you want to meet with the Lord as you sip your coffee or tea. Or as we mentioned earlier maybe it will be on your bike or exercise mat. Or it could be that you meet with Him on your commute to work. I know there was a time in my life when bath-time was my time with the Lord, I read and prayed and even journaled in the tub. It is what life dictated at the time.

If at all possible, make it a place you love so you will want to go there often. Once you find that place you may want to put together a basket of items that you want to use in your time with the Lord. I have my Bible, my prayer journal, sometimes a study I am working on, or a devotional I want to read, as well as pens, pencils, and highlighter (actually I often use colored pencils).

When the weather is conducive I enjoy spending time on our patio in the morning when the sun has just begun to warm the air.

I also have enjoyed wonderful peaceful times on the beach in the morning, of course my coffee has to come with me. It is so relaxing to listen to the waves splash on the sand, as I read my Bible or devotional and jot notes or prayers in my journal. Sometimes I just shut my eyes and soak in the warmth of the sun and feel the Lord’s love for me.

Another option that I have delighted in is taking a neighborhood walk, praying and listening as I go. Or spending time in meditation or breath prayer on a hiking trail. I have found such peace fill me as I go, I feel such deep closeness with the Lord walking and talking with Him.

In the cold, inclement weather at times I have just propped up my head on a stack of pillows in bed as I read and journal enjoying the coziness of my blankets and favorite quilt. The Lord meets me in the quietness there often.

One of the most important points shared in all of this is that we need to find moments to really linger. I have often found this to be a struggle as my to-do list races through my mind and the clock ticks away the minutes. Settling in with the Lord takes time. but I am continuing to learn to linger. I shared about this in a post from earlier this year which you can find here, The Luxury of Lingering . It still can be a struggle but I know the wonderful rewards when I truly do linger, so I find myself reaching for that more often.

The Lord is a God of restoration. David tells us from personal experience that he found his soul restored with the Lord. The Lord is very clear in His Word that He wants to touch our lives intimately but it is up to us to set aside time and find a place where we can be available to Him. He is always with us, but we are not always aware and listening and really being present with Him.

I hope that you are encouraged to spend time with the Lord and really enjoy the soul-nurturing that takes place as you deepen your relationship with Him.

Next week we will look at how a worn out woman can deal with the difficult things in life. I hope you will join me again as I continue my journey in recalibrating life.

*The photo of the wildflower meadow was taken by Annie Spratt and found on Unsplashed.

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Rekindling: 5 Ways I am Intentionally Drawing Close to the Lord

James 4:8 “Draw close to God and God will draw close to you. Wash you hands you sinners, purify your hearts you hypocrite.”

Did you come away from the holidays feeling exhausted? Were your days busier than you expected or desired?

I noticed that through the holidays my time with the Lord was reduced by the busyness of preparations and celebrations. Reduced, both, in depth and in the amount of time. It seems that although my intentions were good, my to-do list overwhelmed me and the tyranny of the urgent took over.

The beautiful thing about a relationship with the Lord is that He doesn’t leave. He waits for us and desires us to draw near. He is never too busy for us.

Do you feel the need to rekindle the flame in your relationship with the Lord? I know I do.

Satan loves nothing better that to pull us away from the Lord and Savior whether it be by busyness or tiredness.

James tells us that we are to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. I am choosing to be intentional about drawing near to Him. How do you intentionally draw near to the Lord?

I have five specific ways that I am drawing near, seeking the Lord in relationship. Some are daily parts of my quiet time, others once or twice a week.

  1.  I am doing an 18 months Read through the Bible plan. I record the portions of Scripture that speak to my heart in my prayer journal.
  2. I am seeking to know the Lord more through Lectio Divina with Summer Joy Gross in her Slow Word Movement at A Thirst for God. It is a short time of scripture reading, meditation, and prayer. (A more thorough description is found at www.biblegateway.com/blog/2013/09/lectio-divina-divine-reading/)
  3. I am also digging deeper into the Scriptures through Jan Johnson’s book Meeting God in Scripture. Another practice of Lectio Divina. (*see  note at end of post.)
  4. I am making a point of choosing to have a heart of thankfulness writing a daily gratitude list of 3-5 blessings each day.
  5. Prayer is another facet of my intentionality in seeking the Lord. Prayer is interspersed through all of these practices as well as in writing out my personal prayers in my prayer journal, and praying through my prayer list. I use the idea of the Prayer of Examen (this link has information about Lectio Divina also) to go through my day and think about my attitudes, actions, responses and reactions.

The most important part of all of this is it is a means, not magic. I  only want to know the Lord more through His Word and prayer. I am not legalistic about any of it. When I begin to look at my time with the Lord as an obligation, I miss the relationship. More than anything I want to know His presence.

The remainder of James 4:8 speaks of our sinfulness. It seems all too often that this is the part that is overlooked. We need cleansing. We are called to confess and repent. To confess is to tell the Lord of our wrongdoing. To repent is to turn away from our sinful choices. It is helpful to think back through your day before the Lord asking the Holy Spirit to help you remember your thoughts, attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions. Our snide responses, angry reactions, and selfish attitudes are often dismissed in our minds but are detestable before God.

I want to live mindful of what the Lord desires of me. It is so restorative to speak with the Lord about it all and know His grace is there for me. It is like a nice hot bath before bed, washing off the dirt of the day, both cleansing and refreshing. We can find grace and mercy at the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

It is only when I am intentional in seeking the Lord with my whole heart that He tells me I will find Him. He wants to meet with us.

How will you rekindle your relationship with the Lord? There is nothing more important than drawing near to the Him.

* Note: It is very important to know that as we seek to learn more from the Lord in His word through any kind of listening to Him that we:

1- protect our minds and hearts with a prayer, that the Lord alone may lead and guide us in our understanding.

2- take anything that we think we hear and search the scriptures to make sure that it does not go against anything in God’s Word.

Satan desires to deceive us and mislead us in any way that he can. We must be mindful of this and be sure that we are seeking the Lord. Don’t put yourself in danger of being misled by the Deceiver.