24 Jun Episode 1: How is soul-care different from self-care?
June 24, 2020 | Susie Rock
What is the Difference Between Self-Care and Soul-Care?
Self-care has got to be one of the most common topics amongst women today. And we can understand that because as women we know what it’s like to feel depleted or weary, and we’re trying to figure out how to help that problem. I know I can relate myself because there have definitely been times when I have been weary or exhausted after pouring my life into someone else’s life or caring for my children or just a real season of busyness or maybe even loneliness, and I’ve needed some care. We want to know how to best do that; it makes sense that, after we’ve been pouring ourselves out, that we are empty. What we want to do is know how to best fill our souls up again in a way that will last in a meaningful way so that we can continue staying on mission for the Lord. I would suggest that as we’re looking at the difference between self-care and soul care the answer lies in the WHO and the WHY.
The Who and the Why of Self-Care
Modern self-care is absolutely true to its name. It is focused on self, and it is because “you deserve it”; and with this we find that self-care really is a lot about self-protection and self-preservation. Popular podcasts and media are quick to assure you that you are right in taking care of yourself first. “You do you.” Haven’t we all heard that? They will tell you to maybe, “go have a nap” or maybe the opposite, “go out and exercise; you’ll feel better. Eat healthy.” Maybe “go out with some friends” or “go shopping and go to the spa” or “go on a vacation” if it wasn’t for the fact that we have the current restrictions. But these things are all good things, probably things we’ve all enjoyed to some extent, and yet they only touch part of the reason why we feel weary in our souls. They can’t actually fix us. Temporary things like that give us a temporary feeling of joy or satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. I would suggest that we need to look at something different. I think soul care is something that we want to better understand because as Christians ultimately we realize that we are spiritual beings, and we want to take care of our souls. Certainly, we are God’s representatives here on earth and so, if we’re going to represent him well, we want to honor our bodies just as he has called us to honor him. With that then I think of Psalm 19:7 which says,
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The reality is we are going to be weary sometimes, and we’re going to look for revival, but we need to look for that in the Lord God and in His Word. That will bring that revival. So, when we feel weary the best thing we can do is to admit it and then look to him.
The Who and the Why of Soul-Care
So soul care then is different from self-care because it focuses on the “Caregiver of our souls.” You see soul care is all about God and knowing him, and it’s not because we deserve it, but because we want to bring glory to him and so the who of soul care is God and the why is for his glory. We want to fix ourselves in the Lord because that will bring true spiritual revival and rejuvenation. You see when our soul is fixed in the Lord that will also spill out into the rest of our lives meaning we are holistic beings. That means we have to take care of our minds; we have to take care of our bodies; we have to take care of our relationships and our emotions. But all of that is found in having a healthy soul that is alive in Jesus Christ. Just to summarize then:
Self-care – modern self-care – is focused on the self because you deserve it, but it is only temporary.
Soul- care is focused on God, to bring him glory, and it is permanent and ongoing.
Condition of Your Soul?
And so we have to ask ourselves, “What is the condition of my soul today?” Are you feeling depleted and weary, or are you fulfilled and satisfied? Your answer is probably an indication of how well you have been taking care of your soul and how well you know how to do that. You see many women probably don’t even really know how to do that because there’s way too many women walking around thinking, “I’m tired, I’m exhausted, I need out of here, I need a vacation, I need a break.” But they don’t know how to find rest for their souls, and so we need to know how to do that. First of all, we need to recognize the very first thing that we need for soul-care is a relationship with Jesus Christ. That happens as we acknowledge that we don’t have it all – that we are actually sinners. We’ve offended a holy God and so we need to repent of our sins and trust Jesus actually paid the full penalty for all of our sins. And the moment that we put our faith in him and him alone, we have a new heart, a new soul that is alive in Jesus Christ. And we were set on a new mission so that we can live for the glory of God and to honor him with our whole lives. You see, as a church, we actually have a mission to glorify God by making disciples. A disciple is someone who worships, works, and walks with God. When any of those areas – those three categories – aren’t functioning well it’s probably because there’s something going on in our soul.
7 Reasons Your Soul may be Depleted
I listed seven reasons why our soul could be depleted because sometimes it is, and when it is, we want to figure out why so we know how to help it.
- The first reason of course is no faith – someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. The response to them is come to Jesus, repent of your sins, and have faith in Him. You can read more about that in Romans 3:16-18.
- The second reason for a depleted soul could be fearless or hopeless faith – the person that is living in constant fear or the person that maybe has even gotten to the point of no hope. So this is the person that needs to learn to trust in God. Psalm 42:11 and Proverbs 3:5-6 have some great things to tell you.
- Thirdly there’s the uninformed faith – the person that believes in Jesus but really just doesn’t know how to live out their faith. They need to study God’s Word and learn to apply it. They can study their own Bibles; they can listen to biblical preachers and teachers so they can learn more.
- Fourth, there’s the independent faith – the person that thinks they can do it all on their own. The person that thinks that they can serve because they are energetic or talented or gifted and they’re relying on their own strength more than on God. And so for that person they need to learn to abide in Jesus Christ and John 15:4-5, has a lot to say about that.
- And then number 5 is unrepentant faith – the person who has put their faith in Jesus Christ but is currently living with unconfessed sin in their life. Maybe they’re struggling; they don’t know how to overcome it. Maybe they aren’t even acknowledging the sin right now or just ignoring it. This person needs to be called to repentance – first of all to God and, as necessary, maybe they need to confess their sins to another person and get the accountability that they need. You can look at 1 John 1:9 and James 5:16 to get more insight onto that.
- And then number 6, is misaligned worship faith. This is the person who has lost their first love for the Lord and has gotten drawn into idolizing and worshiping the things that they can actually see and achieve. So this person needs to humbly go before the Lord and repent and say, “I have messed up and I’m going to once again put you, Lord, in your proper place. You alone are worthy of my worship.”
- Number 7 is the on-mission faith. It is the person that is eagerly and diligently serving the Lord – maybe has just gone through a season of intense busyness. This person needs true physical, spiritual, emotional rest. And guess what? Jesus saw his disciples going through this after a time where they had been healing the sick; and, in fact, at this point they had just buried the body of John the Baptist so they were pretty exhausted and so to them Jesus has something to say as well. If you have your Bibles, you can turn to Mark 6:30-31. So this is what happens: They’ve just done all this stuff, and they return to Jesus. Verse 30 says.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
They had been on mission, but now they needed to get away and rest. It’s okay. We all need that sometimes.
A well that never runs dry.
Sometimes our soul gets dry, but let’s not let it stay dry. Let’s go to the well that never runs out. Jesus is that well. In fact if we turn to John 4:14 we see Jesus talking to a very broken woman, and this is what he has to say to her,
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water.
You see soul-care is all about giving you the water that you need, turning to God because God is like a well that never runs dry. He is constantly available to give his children rest and refreshment. He gives them his goodness, his presence, and he offers forgiveness and grace and mercy the moment that we come to him. And so we need to acknowledge that we need him, and he is the source of our rest.
Knowing God, helps us know ourselves.
You see, as we get to know him, he’s the focus of soul care. We also learn a lot about ourselves because as we recognize how great and awesome and powerful he is, we realize that we’re very small. We actually don’t have the ability to protect ourselves or preserve ourselves, and we definitely don’t have that ability to forgive ourselves. And so we turn to Jesus, and we just fall before him humbly. In soul care we draw out the heart and we acknowledge what’s actually going on in here; and we allow Jesus Christ to rejuvenate that; and, as necessary, we repent of our sins and we realign our worship so that once again we are fully on mission for him worshipping God with all of our hearts; and the byproduct of that is a rested soul. So once again, as we have a rested soul, it does flow out into the rest of our lives. We’re living on mission for him to bring glory to his name. And remember, when we bring glory to his name it actually is for our good as well even if it doesn’t feel like in the moment. But as we do that, as we have a soul that is full of life in Jesus Christ, we will take care of our minds and our bodies and our relationships and our emotions so that we’re steward them for his glory. And the moment that we start feeling depleted he is offering us to come into him, to lean in on him, and he is going to replenish us with His goodness.
So join me in praying, “Heavenly Father, today I just ask that you replenish our souls with your goodness. And, if anyone is feeling depleted, I just pray that maybe one of those seven categories that I spoke about today will speak into their lives, and they will be able to acknowledge why they’re feeling depleted, and that they will go and run to you and find the answer, and that, once again, they can feel fulfilled and rejuvenated and on mission for you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
I hope you join us next week. We’re going to continue talking about how to care for our souls specifically in regards to modesty and knowing how to balance modern styles with timeless biblical truth.
1. Are you more naturally drawn to self-care or soul-care?
2. Which of the 7 reasons listed are you most likely to find yourself in need of soul-care?
3. What is the current condition of your soul? What do you need to do to have, or maintain a rested soul?
4. What characteristic of God most nourishes your soul in this season of life?
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