It is summertime in Illinois and the temperatures have been in the 90’s this last week. It’s hot out there! Everything is still green and lush and alive with the summer colors, but… if we don’t get enough rain, things will start to die. The summer heat will beat down on the earth and deplete the moisture out of everything. Green grass will turn brown and flowers will shrivel to a dry crisp. Each homeowner will make the choice to water their lawns or let them die.
This picture is true for all of us. Over time, if our souls are not “watered”, they will shrivel, lose their luster for life, and eventually die. If we aren’t careful to care for those inner needs, we will find ourselves tired, worn out, and lacking color and our zest for life. It’s easy to “just keep swimming”, as encouraged by Dorie the fish of the movie, Finding Nemo, and never stop for a little inner refreshment. But when we do stop and allow our souls a little care, we discover a renewed sense of energy, vision for life, and fresh peace emerges.
Caring for your soul begins by understanding that you have an inner being that is deeper than the externals people see. Your soul is where your passions, creativity, will to live, unique expressions, and true identity are rooted. Many people who do not care for this deeper part of their being often feel lost or lonely, even if they are involved and participating in positive activities with others. In arenas where “dying to self” is encouraged, there can be confusion about this type of “self care”. Denying and oppressing the needs of our deepest being won’t make them go away. Holding them, acknowledging our difficulties with them, and inviting God to care for those parts of us that need help can lead to the rejuvenating and healing of our sun-scorched, dry & thirsty souls.
Ask yourself what you can do to make a regular practice of watering the lawn of your soul. Perhaps, you’ll discover that taking time for prayer, meditation, journaling, or taking a walk in a park or woods brings that refreshment for you. Experiment with some different ideas, but let the goal be to intentionally acknowledge and feel what’s going on underneath the visible landscape of your life. Then, invite One who cares for your soul in. Ramrodding through life will not make the longings of your soul go away. Practicing care of your inner being will help clear away the weeds and grubs, allowing the lawn of your soul to thrive.