This is episode 72 and in today’s episode, Lauren shares 3 ways we can care for our souls! With the new routines and various commitments the fall season ushers in, it is easy to forget to care for our souls which leads to feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. However, there are some simple ways we can prioritize our spiritual health that will help us flourish!
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Quotes from this Episode:
“While we provide high-quality care for the special hearts entrusted to us, God desires for us to entrust our heart into His care.”
“As I list out the things concerning me, it realigns the posture of my soul to remember I am a steward, not an owner. God is the one sustaining me, my family, and carrying all of my concerns.”
“When we remember God, we see our circumstances through a higher perspective.”
“Release the temptation to micromanage your soul-care and just focus on the God who is with you while you do it.”
September 30th – 3 Ways to Care for Your Soul This Fall
Hi friends! Welcome to Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver! I am Lauren Crow, one of your co hosts. On today’s episode, I am sharing three ways we can care for our souls this fall.
Friend, I don’t know about you, but when our family begins a new season my normal rhythms can feel a bit off or like they don’t fit anymore. I have to figure out how to integrate the rhythms that care for my soul into the new season’s routine. During this adjustment period we can experience overwhelm and burnout if we aren’t intentional in caring for our souls as we care for those we love.
With the fall season there are areas in my children’s lives that are more emphasized when they return to school. ARD meetings and IEPs highlight areas of challenges. New teachers, new classmates, pandemic protocols, and new drop off and pick up routines can add additional unwanted stress and anxiety.
And with every new season that comes it seems like I end up with a new list of things that weigh heavy on my heart. While we provide high-quality care for the special hearts entrusted to us, God desires for us to entrust our heart into His care. So the first way we can care for our souls is by casting our cares.
Many times we walk throughout our days feeling tense, weary, discouraged, and burdened. Yet, if we sit down for a few minutes and begin to list out what is weighing heavy on our hearts and minds from the smallest things to the biggest things it is a way of unburdening our souls and surrendering what we cannot control. We weren’t meant to carry these heavy loads. We were meant to steward. Steward means to take care of someone or something, not sustain someone or something. Stewardship is not ownership. As an owner the weight of responsibility and sustaining those you care for is upon you. And that is not our job. That is God’s job. As I list out the things concerning me, it realigns the posture of my soul to remember I am a steward, not an owner. God is the one sustaining me, my family, and carrying all of my concerns.
In 1 Samuel 1 we learn about Hannah. Hannah was married to Elkanah and he had two wives. Hannah was barren, but Elkanah’s other wife was able to bear children. Hannah was deeply distressed about her inability to have children. In chapter 1, in verse 10 of 1 Samuel it says Hannah “was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” Eli, the priest, had witnessed her doing this and in verse 13 and 14 we see that the state of Hannah’s soul made Eli think she was drunk, not praying, and so he told her to stop drinking. Yet, in verse 15 & 16 Hannah answers him, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” Vexation can mean frustration, anger, and trouble.
What we can grasp from Hannah is that when she was casting her cares upon the Lord it was not in a neat and tidy way. It was not a religious act she was fulfilling to become “good enough” or to go through the motions. She was being honest, vulnerable, and her complete true self in front of God. She was casting her anxiety, anger, frustration, disappointments, worry, and troubles upon Him.
In verse 18, after Eli encourages Hannah, scripture says, “Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” At first the posture of Hannah’s soul was grief and now it was hope. Friend, may we not minimize what God can do within our hearts when we cast our cares upon him.
Friend, the battle is truly within us more than it is outside of us. Dr. Alicia Britt Chole says, “The reward is never in the scenery. The reward is always in the Company.”
Friend, whatever it looks like for you to cast your cares upon the Lord, do it unapologetically and honestly. God can handle it. He already knows you better than you know yourself and He delights when you come to him just the way you are.
As I pour out and list the things that concern me, often the Spirit of God will meet me there and remind me of His truth and I write it down next to the list that concerns me. Like in Psalm 138:8 where the Psalmist, David, says, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”
And then I pray and offer my list to God and pray his truth over me. I created the Cast your Cares guide to help…
The second way we can care for our souls is by remembering God.
John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”
When I feel hopeless about a situation in my life, remembering God is essential. What I mean by that is, I pause and reflect to remember all that He has done for me. To remember how He has sustained me, carried me through hard times, filled in the gaps in my life, showed up in his power when I was too weak to go on, and the list goes on.
When I begin to verbally express all that God has done outloud or by writing it down in my journal, this transforms the posture of my soul from discouragement to thankfulness and from weariness to hope.
It reminds me that He is faithful and won’t stop sustaining me now. The enemy of our souls, Satan, wants us to be buried in circumstances, so we cannot fulfill what God has called us to. However, when we remember God, we see our circumstances through a higher perspective.
In Psalm 77:8-12, the Psalmist says, “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
The Psalmist shifted his soul from despair to hope by remembering all that God has done.
There is even research that shows that remembering happy memories actually increases serotonin levels. Friend, take a moment to remember what God has done for you and see how this changes the posture of your soul too!
The third way we can care for our souls is by moving.
Movement is healing, friends. And, I’m not going to tell you to sign up for a boot camp or go do a HIIT workout – in fact, I’d be the last person to say that! However, if that is something you enjoy, then go for it! But, what I will tell you is any kind of moment that gives you energy to your soul is good movement.
I love this quote by Gabrielle Roth: “Healing is movement. Disease is inertia. If you put the body in motion, you will change.”
Friend, when the tension of living in these in-between times of the original garden we were designed for and waiting for eternity, our eternal home, when that longing is more intense than usual, or waiting on a prayer to be answered becomes heightened, I just go take a walk. Even a short walk counts. Even if I go in my backyard because my caregiving responsibilities won’t let me go further, I do it.
And it changes something within me. Something about the sun on my face and breathing fresh air while moving makes my body resets my soul and the weariness of the day begins to melt away.
Now, I have been in a season that maybe you are in right now, when I could not leave my house because there was no one else to watch my son and I felt trapped at times. It was during this time of my life I learned that baking is a good movement for my soul. It renews my mind while I’m kneading dough and then smelling the aroma that feels my home as it bakes.
Friend, I want to encourage you to think about the things you can do to get moving while you are caregiving. I actually have a friend who deeply loves to vacuum. I know that sounds silly, but it is therapeutic to her. Why? Because she is moving! And the progress is quick to see! She’s one that loves to see those vacuum lines that say “Well done, you good and faithful servant, you have gotten all the crumbs up here!” I have another friend who enjoys crafting, another one who loves calligraphy. And then I have a friend who loves to organize anything, so just moving things around her house organizing gives her energy and resets her soul. There are so many ways to move during the day.
One of my favorite ways is by turning on some music and dancing…I do this by myself, or with my kids and husband, because dancing has been a sanity saver during a very hard season.
A word of warning though, we can become trapped when we turn this way of soul-care into a goal oriented program. Goals are great. But, this my friend is soul-care. And it cannot be measured by how many times we do it, how long we do it for, or any other stat we can come up to measure it with.
Release the temptation to micromanage your soul-care and just focus on the God who is with you while you do it.
Well, friend, I hope that this episode encouraged you to take inventory of your heart and invite Jesus into caring for your soul. As we end today, I want to pray for us as we take steps towards soul-care during this season.
Father, We thank you that you care for our hearts while we care for those you have entrusted to us. As we steward the responsibilities we have been given, may we not neglect the care of our souls. May we fill up our cups with your truth and love, so we can pour it out to others. If any of us feel heavy today, give us the grace to cast our cares upon you, to remember all that you have done for us, and to have the strength to move our bodies in a way that is life giving to us. We love you. Amen.
I am so grateful that you spent this time with me today! Next week, both Sandra and I will be back for another genuine conversation together! In the meantime make sure you connect with us through the Abiding Caregiver Facebook group and download your Cast your Cares Guide! The link to both are in the show notes. See you next time, friend!