Soul Care: Just Breathe

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Genesis 2:7 KJV

Ah! How to care for our soul, our inner person? We so often neglect our inside self until we are ready to go over the edge with anxiety, exhaustion, depletion, hole-ness ... often caused by failing to read the signals in and around us.

So my friend and guest branch Mary Petzinger returns today with her helpful insights into this very issue.

Welcome, dear Mary ... and thank you again for sharing what the Lord has given you!

Soul Care
In the last two months life has been relentlessly busy, and I’m ready to slow down. Last Sunday morning in my rush I knocked over a full mug of hot tea. While grateful that I was not burned, I was also upset that it took me half an hour to clean up the wet papers and the mess I’d created.
On the way to church that morning the trees were ablaze with color. It was a moment with God, when I suddenly knew that I needed to follow the rhythmic cycle of His creation.  Very soon the trees and the earth will rest. Lord, help me to do that myself – to know that you are God, to find my rest in being in you, and not always doing.  Today I stood outside in the sun, and just watched the leaves flutter slowly to the ground, so seemingly carefree. I’m remembering to “just breathe” when I feel rushed, to allow myself time to refocus.
Recently I reviewed some sermon notes on Soul Care, from our vacation in Denver.  It always seems a bit elusive to define the soul. My favorite biblical definition is this:
The soul is the spiritual part of a person, believed to give life to the body.
What we do with our mind, will, and emotions affects the body. According to the pastor, I am the keeper, the curator of my soul. To remain under God’s control, it is important to spend focused time with Him so I can guard my heart, mind, and emotions to stay in tune with His. This also resonates with the words that our local Pastor, Travis Simone shared with us when he returned from his Sabbatical this summer.
My constant prayer is “Lord, temper my heart with your grace.” Since I am prone to emotional intensity that often sends me into overdrive, I am trying to step back a few paces from myself, while trusting God to strengthen me. I recall Travis describing hurry as Soul Sickness, and am learning from my husband Ken to “waste some time” just gazing out the window while the water boils instead of doing countless little chores in the kitchen.
A further thought from Travis’ Sabbatical Reflections has caused me to dig deeper:  “I need to unpack habits and routines that keep my mind endlessly churning, and to face the deeper root causes of these routines and habits, mainly fear.” What are the thoughts, fears, messages from the past that cause me to relentlessly drive myself? Travis follows this thought by saying “the best sabbatical is a sustained approach to daily living….coupled with weekly Sabbath rest."
Each morning I want to be intentional about beginning the day in my sanctuary, reflecting on God’s word and hearing his instructions for the day. Often I need to just breathe slowly and pray for my mind to clear enough from random thoughts. Better still, when my first waking thoughts are of Him before I even get up, worship and praise will set my mind free, and I am enabled to follow the leading of His Spirit.
In the words of Hannah Whitehall Smith,
Let us cease our restless striving, sit down inwardly before the Lord, and allow the divine forces of His Spirit to silently work things out.
From my Friend Deena Walls“Just Breathe”
Sometimes we hold our breath and push through, without pausing, breathing. Sometimes the cyclone of busy tramples the wisdom of calm.
Sometimes the whirlwind of thoughts overcomes the spirit of calm (my addition).
Just breathe, and let God speak calm back into your day, His peace back into your spirit. (Soul)