In our culture, soul care probably falls toward the end on most To-Do lists. I’ll be the first to admit that tending my soul struggles even to make the dreaded To-Do list at times. And that’s strange since soul care is as critical in my life as exercise is for my body and learning is for my mind.
As a busy woman who cares for her family, a mom in hospice care, and a host of animals, how do I intentionally find time to slow down and listen to what is rumbling way below the surface? One of my non-negotiables is practicing spiritual direction.
Here are five reasons why I keep my spiritual direction appointment every month.
I stop thinking about my To-Do list and catch my breath. As I sit quietly in a comfy chair, my body relaxes. Slowly the door of my soul opens, and the Spirit comes with God’s love. I know God loves me, even though life sometimes makes it seem like he doesn’t.
I stop being the caretaker for an hour and tend to what I need. My primary role is caretaker. I am endlessly pouring into others. Sometimes to the expense of my well-being. Spiritual direction is like “putting the oxygen mask on first” so that I can continue to offer loving care for those depending upon me.
I identify areas that are draining energy from my life. In the past, I said yes too often resulting in burnout. Now, through spiritual direction I have time to discern important decisions, which helps me create and maintain healthy boundaries in my life. I discern more effectively what is life-giving and what is life-draining for me; choices more in line with who I am. I am free to choose without feeling guilty or pressured.
I stop and reflect on what I’ve been doing the past month. Life races along so fast that I miss the hidden presence of God around me. My awareness weakens. My peace lessens. Joy evaporates. Each month, I pause and reflect on where God has been in the circumstances of my life. As I recall an event, my director gently invites me to sift through my feelings, discerning the presence of God. Sometimes I notice a gift of his grace and love. Other times I see an unhelpful belief which has kept me stuck. Through this process, I learn to hear and trust God’s voice.
I see myself and my life in fresh ways and leave with a new sense of purpose. Questions and uncertainties often cause me anxiety and fear. My spiritual director listens to what’s happening in my life and offers a different perspective. She always points me to God and the goodness within me. I leave encouraged and empowered to keep going!