Caring for my Soul

At the Heart and Soul conference last month, we were very blessed to have Mindy Caliguire from Willow Creek Church there to present a workshop on “Soul care.” Mindy put before us an incredibly elegant and yet basic way of understanding how we are involved in our own spiritual formation.

First, the context:  What does it look like when our soul is being cared for, and what does it look like when our soul is not being cared for? How do we know the difference?

Cared-For Soul  Neglected Soul
Joyful Downcast
Resilient Easily deflated
Hopeful Hopeless
Engaged relationally Disengaged, isolated
Connected to God Unaware of God

We could go on, of course, and list all sorts of indicators in these two categories. But let’s move on to the second question, an obvious one, but one which needs to be asked in order to pull us into this discussion: In which of these two areas would you prefer to live ?

And that leads us directly to our third question: What is your strategy for caring for your soul?

This is where we need to ask ourselves how we are involved in our own well-being, and what we can do about it, and how important that is to us, and what we are willing to do in order to live in the way we need to live. In terms of spiritual formation, this is what we call intentionality.

The beauty of this model is that it helps me see how I am involved, but does so in the most graceful way possible, without shame or any other burden laid on top of that. It is no longer the minister trying to get me to do something I really don’t want to do. It’s about wanting to live more fully as God intended; it’s about hope and longing for the fruit of the Spirit in my life. And realizing — I can do something about this!

Setting with this reality in my heart for a while is a good thing, even if I have no way to know at the moment how to setup a coherent strategy for the care of my soul. There are people who know how to do this, and I can learn how from them. For the moment, I just need to set with my intention — my desire to deliberately pursue what God wants for my soul.

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