Summer Heat Soul Retreat

With the heap of hype about self care currently rumbling around the interwebs, it’s no wonder our culture is dumping such enormous amounts of time, effort, and money into internal investment.

Okay, that’s theoretical. Let’s make it personal. In the last month, how much time have you spent on investing in yourself/your family:

  • physically (grooming, exercise, doctor visits, healthy meal planning/shopping/cooking, etc.)
  • emotionally (formal counseling, playing, visiting with friends, etc.)
  • mentally (reading books/blogs/articles, taking classes, etc.)

Being good stewards of our bodies, hearts, and minds is part of our kingdom role here on earth. Self care isn’t a bad thing, an unbiblical thing. But if we neglect the most crucial piece, we’re building a house of cards.

Your soul is the most important aspect of who you are, according to John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping. He notes, “If your soul is healthy, no external circumstance can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstance can redeem your life.” Whoa. How’s that for a wake-up call?

I’ll admit—caring for the core takes some effort. It requires honesty about where you are and where you’re meant to be. But here are two good reasons to pay attention to your soul: it’s the piece of you you’ll be forever, and God is in love with it. With such great incentive, let’s get busy.

How would you rate your soul’s health at this moment? Why? Which words come to mind when you evaluate what’s going on at the deepest level of who you are? Is your soul weary? angry? satisfied? grieving? longing? dry? What does it need more of? What does it need less of? How can you make the most of this precious part of you?

I’ve been sensing lately that it’s time I took a soul care staycation. Needs shift, but right now, a couple of quiet days in the sunshine with no responsibilities, meetings, technology, or drama sounds really nice. I’ll find a good playlist that prompts peaceful worship, light up a bonfire, and have my own little glampout.

Because I’ve been in a season of pretty intense intellectual productivity, my soul is feeling a creative thirst. We’re talking about shameless, purely wasteful fun here—craft glitter, a hot glue gun, pom poms, feathers. A chance for my insides to remember that I wasn’t put on this planet merely to punch a clock and then die.

Other features of my retreat I’m looking forward to: making time to journal, enjoying a tea tray in bed, mixing up a huge bowl of fresh fruit, and using all the spa products I’ve accumulated for a rainy day. Chances to exercise and explore, intentional prayer rhythms, deep rest, and a big fat permission slip to indulge wisely should round out what my soul has been craving.

Soul retreats don’t have to cost much. (Thank goodness!) I’ll be perfectly happy roasting cheap hot dogs and watching the sunset as I soak in the presence of my Father, simply enjoying Him and being enjoyed.

Our souls can quickly get drained in the daily grind of life. Isn’t it time we paid a little extra attention to them?

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