5 Effective Practices for Tending the Soul

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, we see time again that He engaged in practices that allowed God’s grace to continuallyreplenish His spirit. For example, Jesus spent much time in prayer. He fed His mind with Scripture, and participated incorporate worship. He surrounded Himself with a close circle of friends. He took long walks and more. Jesus…

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Deborah Haddix

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During Jesus’ earthly ministry, we see time again that He engaged in practices that allowed God’s grace to continually
replenish His spirit. For example, Jesus spent much time in prayer. He fed His mind with Scripture, and participated in
corporate worship. He surrounded Himself with a close circle of friends. He took long walks and more.

Jesus learned and grew in the context of His relationship with His Father. Thus, His learning and growing were a result
of His abiding in the Father’s love. To Jesus, the most important thing was His time with His Father.

For Jesus, engaging in spiritual practices was essential to the keeping of His soul and His relationship with His Father.

Spiritual Practices

A spiritual practice (or discipline) can be thought of as anything that is intentionally done with the purpose of
helping one become open to and remain open to the ongoing work of God in their life.

Here is a sampling.

Engaging with Scripture

Engaging with Scripture as a spiritual practice means to study, read, meditate on, be shaped by, and connect with the
Person that Scripture proclaims (Colossians 3:16).

This practice includes the very familiar spiritual discipline of reading the Bible. It also includes among other things:

  • study of the Word
  • memorization
  • meditation on Scripture
  • attending organized Bible study
  • praying God’s Word
  • and the journaling of verses and passages.

Basically, this core discipline means to saturate your life with Scripture.

Prayer

I think we tend to make prayer more complicated than it is. Prayer is simply conversing with God about what we are experiencing and about what, together with Him, we are doing. It is opening our lives to God and acknowledging our total dependence on Him (James 5:16).

Prayer is a way of life.

  • Begin your day with prayer.
  • Set an alarm as a reminder to pray.
  • Whisper breath prayers.
  • Journal your prayers.
  • Pray Scripture.
  • Pray with others, including your grandchildren.
  • End your day with prayer.

Observing Solitude

As a spiritual practice, solitude is the intentional refrain from interacting with other people to be alone with God. And
in a culture steeped in noise and distraction, this can be scary.

Although it is a hard discipline to practice, solitude is essential to the well-being of the soul.

  • Schedule it.
  • Turn off your devices.
  • Be deliberate about your surroundings. Avoid distraction and clutter such as needy pets, noisy appliances, grocery lists, and unopened stacks of mail.
  • Go for a leisurely walk.
  • Make solitude part of your daily habit.

Expressing Gratitude

Gratitude is recognizing the good (Colossians 3:16-17). It is a by-product of the way we see things.

We are a hurried people, and a hurried life often fails to see. It fails to pause. As a result, the giving of thanks is seldom
offered.

  • Stay alert. Don’t give in to hurry.
  • Begin and/or end your day with expressions of gratitude.
  • Journal your thanks.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to another individual or to God.
  • Pray your own benedictions. Begin by making a list of things you are grateful to God for providing. Then go back and recite each one beginning with the words, “Blessed are You, O Lord….”

Practicing Self-reflection

Self-reflection (soul-searching) is the spiritual practice of paying attention to our “stuff” in order that we might grow
in our love for God and others (Psalm 139:23-24).

What is our “stuff?” It might be fear, anger, bitterness, a judgmental attitude, pride, selfishness, or worry. It could be
any number of things. Whatever our “stuff” is, the Bible calls it sin.

Paying attention to our “stuff” (sin) is very important to our soul’s health. This practice helps to reveal those things that draw us away from God.

  • Reflect nightly and at regular intervals.
  • Schedule a time of solitude in concert with your self-reflection.
  • Keep a self-reflection journal.
  • Use a collection of questions to guide your self-reflection.

A Healthy, Tended Soul

Again, this list is just a sampling of the many spiritual disciplines available to us. The important thing is not the list, but
that we become intentional, as Jesus was, to engage regularly in a variety of them. For this is how God replenishes
our needy soul.

We cannot give what we do not have. Thoughtful, intentional soul care is vital. It is the way we grow a deep and
intimate relationship with God. And it is this relationship that is foundational to each-and-every other relationship in our lives.

It is only with a healthy, tended soul, that we will have His love and truth and wisdom to pour into our adult children
and our grandchildren.


Caring for Your Soul

Life is busy and in the daily chaos it can be easy to neglect the care of one’s soul, but intentionality in its care is vital — both to our own relationship with God and to passing the faith to our grandchildren. The condition of our soul exposes where we place our trust and what we truly believe to be true. And this influences what our children and grandchildren choose to believe. With a careful look at the importance of soul care and many practical ideas for carrying out the work, this book is a helpful tool for grandparents.

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About the Author

Deborah Haddix

I am a child of God, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, niece, and friend who loves nothing better than spending time with those I love.

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