Ten…Errrrr Five Ways I Take Care Of My Soul

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Today’s vacation post is from one of my very best friends, Herschel.  I asked him to write me a 10 Things post.  He wrote me 5 things.  Not only is Herschel one of my best friends (which makes him infinitely cooler), but he also puts up with me playing djembe and singing with him and his my guitar while we lead worship at church. It’s okay that he plays my guitar.  The djembe is his, so it’s a total give and take relationship.  I keep trying to get Herschel to start blogging full-time.  He’s got some pretty good stuff to say.  I think you’ll agree.  Enjoy his 10 5-Things List!

'Bible' photo (c) 2005, Nicholas B. - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Recently, I have traveled around the Midwest, going to and from various job interviews at churches.  I hadn’t applied for a job at a church in a long time, and all of a sudden I had four interviews in a short three-week period.  While at one of the interviews, I was asked a question by the senior pastor.  He was a kind, humble man, intent on helping others, myself included, have a deeper relationship with Christ.

“How do you take care of your soul?” he asked.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know how to answer.  In all my interviews I have never been asked anything like that, before or since.  I hadn’t anticipated it.  In my nervousness, I said something to the effect of making sure I take time alone for myself and God.  Not a terrible answer, and partially true, but it barely scratches the surface, now that I’ve had time to seriously reflect on the question.  Here now are ten ways I care for my soul.

1. Retreat.  It was the first thing to come to my mind in the interview for a reason.  It is important to me to get away from everyone and everything from time to time and enjoy life alone.  Sometimes this includes prayer.  Sometimes it means going on a solitary walk in the cemetery.  Sometimes it means putting my iPod on and sitting in the backyard by myself.  The point is to get away from the world for a little bit.

2. Music.  Music has been a love of mine my whole life.  Now that I’m, ahem, 31, I can see how much music I have missed out on in my life.  Classical music for example, eluded me in my younger years, as it does most people, but now I find it to be among my favorites.  I can sit and listen and be swept away in the beauty of it all and forget what troubles I may have.  More often than not, the beauty is enough in itself to recharge my soul.

3. Laughter.  I laugh every day. Whether it be at Larry David, or my dog Wiggins, I seek out and find opportunities to laugh.  Sometimes it may not be at something appropriate either, but that is a different conversation for a different day.  The point is, make sure you’re laughing.

4. People.  From my parents to my friends, I surround my self with people who I care about, and who care about me.  I have people in my life who aren’t afraid to be honest, and that makes all the difference.  Surface relationships are for amateurs.

5. Rest.  This is crucial to a good life.  So often I hear people say “I don’t have time.” another one I hear is “I’m just so worn out.” Often, these people forget that their minds, bodies, and souls need rest.  This is similar to retreat, but different in that you don’t have to get away to do this.  They key here is what I call, “turning it off.”. You make yourself stop worrying.  You make yourself focus on a dumb t.v. show instead of your work.  You exercise.  You focus your mind and soul away from whatever is your soul’s concern.  I know everyone reading this might disagree, or think this impossible.  It’s not, and it’s not bad for you.  It takes practice.  You have to be intentional.  You have to say, “I’m not going to think about that right now.”. With time and practice, this can work.  And what it enables you do is to recharge and refocus.  You see things differently.  You regain your passion.  You do things better.  Even God rested.  Even Jesus took retreat.  What makes you so important that you can’t?

So there are my ten  five ways I take care of my soul.  Let me ask you the same question now.

How do you take care of your soul?

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  • rojopaul

    One of the ways I love to “get rest for my soul” is music and worship at church. I find it really helps me erase the craziness of the week and recharge me for the coming week. I like your list too. I’m pretty good at the laughing and the resting part. Retreating is something I should work on. Thanks for sharing your tips!