I have certainly enjoyed beginning this New Year with you exploring the topic of soul care. We started out the month looking at its purpose and importance. From there we considered some effective ways for caring for the health of our soul.
As we wrap things up this final week of January, I thought it would be a great time to share some of my favorite soul care tools.
10 Tools for Soul Care
1. Journaling Bible
A journaling Bible is formatted to provide plenty of room to write. Many have wide margins down the sides. Some are even set up with every other page blank!
Journaling Bibles are excellent for engaging with Scripture. There are so many options for using all that space:
- Illustrate your interactions with the Bible text in the space – draw, doodle, use creative lettering, stamps, stickers, whatever fits your style.
- Record your thoughts, reflections, and questions.
- Make bullet lists.
- Create charts and diagrams.
- Summarize or rephrase.
- Dig deeper into your weekly sermon or small group notes.
2. Journible Method
This idea was originally inspired by Robert J. Wynalda’s Journibles: the 17:18 Series. Since that time, many different publishers have released their own versions. (See Crossway’s Illuminated Journals for example.)
I sometimes think of these little books as “bite-sized” journaling Bibles as most contain a single Bible book. Other than that, they are just like journaling Bibles in that the text is printed on one side of a 2-page spread, leaving the other page for journaling.
Of course, these journals are a wonderful tool just as they come. However, I find that most often I prefer to add my own twist.
- Read straight through the selected book of the Bible first to get the main idea.
- Grab a composition book from the cabinet.
- Copy the Scripture by hand onto the right-hand page of the notebook skipping at least one line between each line of the text. (NOTE: There is no set amount of text that must be copied at each sitting. I tend to vary it according to my needs. For example, if it’s a book I’m studying for a weekly small group, I will concentrate on that week’s passage.)
- Use the corresponding left-hand page (and lines between) to record any thoughts, reflections, questions, definitions, and such that arise as I study and ponder the passage.
I love this method because writing out the passage myself provides me added time and opportunity to spend with the text. (You can read more and hear a personal little anecdote about this method in this blog post.)
3. Verse Mapping
Dig deeper into Scripture by mapping verses. As a former intermediately grades Language Arts teacher, this one reminds me a bit of the old diagraming of sentences. Unlike diagraming, however, verse mapping is NOT rules-bound and there is no teacher standing over your shoulder!
To map a verse, simply write it out leaving plenty of white space around it. Then go to work – define words, locate synonyms, make connections, ask questions, whatever comes to your mind.
4. Prayer Resource Guides
Scripture based prayer guides help me pray more specifically and consistently. They are also wonderful tools for helping me stay focused.
A quick Google or Pinterest search will turn up a multitude of these resource guides on a wide variety of topics. Here are two of my go-tos related specifically to soul care:
5. Squish-it Journal
This is a personal journal that contains beautiful, meaningful items that help turn your attention toward God. The best items will, of course, be reminders to you of who God is and can include things such as Bible verses, quotes, graphics, and song lyrics.
To use your journal, simply sit and turn the pages. As your eyes fall on an item, use it as a prayer prompt and talk to God about what comes to mind.
My favorite thing about Squish-it Journals is their ability to foster communication with God.
This tool is discussed in more detail in the blog post Creative Journaling: Part 3.
6. Self-reflection Questions
One of my favorite sets of questions for self-reflection can be found in the article titled, “Consider Your Ways.” This insightful piece written by Donald S. Whitney contains 31 questions to ask at the start of a New Year. And, yes, they are powerful questions to ask yourself at the beginning of each New Year, but they would be equally powerful asked on a birthday or at any other time. Thought-provoking, these questions are an extremely valuable tool for soul care.
7. A “Thanks” Journal
One of the most effective tools for soul care, that I know of, is a “Thanks” journal. The many positive effects of gratitude on our well-being simply cannot be denied.
Consider your personality and life season, then choose a way to record your thanks that works for you:
- Record a specified number of things you are thankful for each night before bed.
- In detail write about one thing each day.
- Set a goal and aim for a target number. Perhaps you would like to record 5,000 “thanks.”
- Bullet journal.
- Photo journal.
- Journal on a phone app.
8. Spiritual Markers
Exercising Spiritual memory is crucial in the Christian life and in the care of one’s soul. The gathering of Spiritual Markers is a wonderful way to exercise that memory. Additionally, the gathered markers are a unique tool for sharing your journey and personal God-story with others. More on Spiritual Markers can be found in this post: Spiritual Markers: Remembrances and Opportunities.
9. Soul Friends
A soul care tool with skin on!! I treasure my few intimate, life-giving relationships that help me pay attention and respond to the activity of God in my life.
Life needs a soundtrack, for there is Power in Song. No matter what medium: Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, make sure to create some playlists for your life.
As you go about creating playlists, you may want to gear some toward certain activities. How about a playlist for journaling, exercising, or cleaning? In addition, it’s good to have topic specific playlists. For example, I have one called The Cross Centered Day, one focused on Grace, and one titled Awe and Wonder.
To get you started, here’s one of my absolute favorites — Jesus, Only Jesus (Billingsley, Penrod, Cottrell, O’Brien). To be honest, it shows up on several of my playlists!!
There you have it – ten tools that I find to be essential in the care of one’s soul. I’d love to hear from you. What tools do you find invaluable in caring for your soul?
This 2-color book offers a multitude of ways to intentionally nourish and care for our soul including: prayer practices, using scripture, building relationships, listening & solitude.