Soul-Care is different than Self-Care

A stream leads into a village with clean and clear water. Up in the hills lived a man who was the keeper of the stream.  He kept it clean by removing the trash and fallen branches for the stream.  Honestly, most of his work was unseen.  The town decides to budget cut and this man is let go.  Now the stream was left unattended and branches fell and blocked the flow.  No one noticed immediately in town but over time, the water became dirty and people in town were getting sick.

 “The life of the village depended on the stream, and the life of the stream depended on the keeper. The Stream is Your Soul.  And You are the Keeper!” 

This quote is from John Ortberg’s book, *Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.  On the Depth podcast, Karen Ehman shared this was one of her life changing books, so I could not wait to read it.  Friends, it has so much depth to it!  I highly recommend it.

“Soul-Care” is different than “Self-Care.” 

Self-Care is taking care of your body by eating healthy and exercising.  Maybe scheduling time to connect with friends or a long hot bubble bath helps free your mind.  Slowing down and taking care of yourself is important.  But as I started to read this book, I realized that “soul-care” is just as important.

In the book, John shares a story where he had hit a low.  He had become increasingly frustrated and impatient, so he drove out to see Dallas Willard, his mentor.  John says, “I was operating on the unspoken assumption that my inner world would be filled with life, peace, and joy once my external world was perfect.”

How many of us have done this same thing?  We think that once our external circumstances slow down or the stresses of life are gone than we can have peace and joy.

I love the advice his mentor shares, “You must arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.”

Being with God is what brings life and joy to our soul.  

John begins each day with a challenge called the Soul Experiment: “How many moments of my life today can I fill with conscious awareness of and surrender to God’s presence?” 

Friends, let’s exercise some “Soul-Care” and do the Soul Experiment today! 

Remember “The Stream is Your Soul.  And You are the Keeper!” 

Love, Jodi

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Suffer Strong

Sometimes life does not go as we planned.

Perhaps you have lost a loved one, or your family member has just received a cancer diagnosis.  Maybe you are walking through a heartbreaking divorce and now are raising your kids as a single parent.

In their new book, *Suffer Strong, Jay and Katherine Wolf define suffering as “the space between what we thought would be and what is.”  Maybe you find yourself in that place.  If so, I want to encourage you today.

What if “the breaking of our hearts becomes the making of our hearts?”

What if the brokenness you are experiencing right now is the very thing that God will use to grow your faith in ways you never knew possible?  Friends, I believe this is true.

In their book, Jay and Katherine share about a special gift, a unique vase made by kintsugi, a Japanese art.  “Instead of throwing away the broken beloved pottery, they fix it in a way that doesn’t pretend it hasn’t been broken, but honors the breaking—and more so, the surviving, by highlighting those repaired seems with gold lacquer.” 

Isn’t it beautiful?  Each crack and broken place has been filled with gold. All the holes have been redeemed and made more valuable as the broken pieces fit together.

I want you to imagine God doing the same for you.  He takes your broken heart and pieces it back together.  He takes your broken story and turns it into a redemption story.

Friends, your brokenness does not have to define you.  In God’s hands, it can refine you into something stronger and more beautiful than before.

I don’t know about you, but this brings me hope.  Hope that God can use these difficult circumstances in my life.  Hope that my broken story can help another hurting heart.  Hope that God never wastes one tear.

I know this is not easy.  I pray you feel God’s comfort and love each day as you lean on Him.  He wants to walk with you through your suffering and bring purpose to your pain.

I want to end with a favorite quote from *Suffer Strong: “Life defines us, but suffering redefines us. Ultimately, hope refines us, transforming us from within in ways we never could have imagined.”

I believe God specializes in redeeming broken stories!  Hope this encourages you today.

Love, Jodi

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