To nurture the soul…

This weekend I attended a retreat. It was a wonderful retreat with the theme of “Hungering and Thirsting”…looking at those things that we hunger and thirst for. Why? and how can we feed that hunger and quench that thirst?

One of the questions that was asked in one of the sessions was “What nurtures your soul?” We were given five minutes to write down as many things as we could think of that nurtured our souls, and then we were given a few more to write another list of spiritual disciplines we practice regularly. Then the question was, “What do you see when you look at the lists?” For some of us, the lists were completely different. Some of us had one or two of the same things on both lists–and a very few found that their lists were very similar.

As we talked more, we began to realize that in reality, the things that nurture our souls can–and should be–the same thing as the spiritual disciplines we practice regularly. It’s not that there’s a huge difference between the two things–but the primary difference is doing them with intentionality.

That was an “aha!” moment for me.

As I had worked on my list, I realized that I had not put down any of the things that you might expect to see from a minister/preacher’s kid…i.e., going to church. But because I am involved in providing ministry on a regular basis, much of what I do in preparation (i.e., studying, practicing hymns and service music, writing) is something that also nurtures my soul…and can easily be a spiritual discipline.

But I also realized that the very first thing I had written on my first list was also something that easily gets shoved aside when other “important” responsibilities demand my time and attention. What was it? Writing poetry.

That is often how I make sense of what is happening in my life, in the lives of people around me, in my world. When I let it get shoved aside, I realize I am tamping down something that is at my core…a gift I have been given…a talent I need to honor.

We also talked about how easy it is to spend time on those things that nurture the soul when we draw apart for intentional focused time. But then Monday morning comes…what then?

We were challenged before we left to let this Monday morning be different…to focus on one spiritual discipline that nurtures our souls and to spend time doing it just this week–and at the end of the week, to evaluate what happened. How do we feel? What changed in us?

Monday morning is tomorrow. I have another busy week ahead of me…but I realize that feeding my soul is as important as feeding my body. So…

I’m going to find/make time to do some writing every day this week. I’ll share with you the end of this week how it went…what changed…and how my soul was nurtured. How about you? Want to join me?


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