On Daily Caring For Your Soul (and How I Forget to Water my Plants)

I often forget to water my plants. It's kind of a problem. 

I love them, I really do, they bring so much joy to my life. I love getting my hands in the dirt, planting new things, watching them grow and bloom. I love all of it: the flowers, gardens, greenery, all that beautiful nature-stuff that is full of life.

Except some days they aren't so full of life because of the lack-of-water situation I've created. I apparently missed out on inheriting my Mom's green thumb. I look over at my house plants all wilting up and getting dried out and oh my gosh, I forgot to water this week AGAIN. And dear Jesus, help me. 

This forgetting to water doesn't just happen with my plants though. I find my soul all stressed out and feeling overwhelmed and then, oh... I haven't read my Bible in over a week. I haven't prayed at all today. Yoga was days ago. Did I even acknowledge my emotions today? I think I was just numbing things all day. Yikes.

It's so incredibly easy to go through the motions of life and work and relationships and forget to be present. I forget to acknowledge where I'm at and I forget to care for myself properly until I notice I'm dying a little on the inside. When my heart is hurting and I wonder what's going on with me, and I can't put it into words when my sister asks, so I say I'm just tired (which is true) but I know deep down that it's my soul and spirit that is tired and I can't figure out why. Then I remember how I've been lacking in showing up for my soul and it all makes sense. I'm so quick to forget that just like our bodies, just like my plants, my soul need nourishment. My mind and heart and emotions, it all needs tender loving care and a lack of that care leaves me all wilted and soul-tired. 

I'm learning ways to care for my soul and spirit, to nourish every part of me, to pay attention to the needs I have and not just run over them pretending that they don't exist or that I'm suddenly superwoman. I'm acknowledging that I'm human and have needs and that this doesn't make me less-than, it makes me real. 

What are your favorite ways to care for your soul? 

Saturday For the soul

 

Little bits of beauty from around the internet to invite you into the present, into rest, into who you are.

Permission to speak. Permission to bloom. Permission to love. Enjoy your Saturday! 

When the "If Only" thoughts Take Over

I found myself drifting away with my thoughts, dreaming of hammocks and camping and kayaking with my love. Spending the days running barefoot, laughter rising to the skies, cuddling with puppies and raising baby goats. I wanted to get my hands in the soft dirt of a garden, spend slow mornings savoring coffee with the rising of the sun, and engage in deep soul connections with friends as we gather on the porch late into the night. And writing. My desire to write always at the forefront of my mind, filling the cracks and spaces with words, the dream of writing full time seeming as close as a trip to the moon. 

I realized I was overwhelmed. I'd been forgetting to participate in my favorite things, pushing them aside for the mundane. My soul had walked away from living slow, living in the moment. I was desperately craving quiet, slowness, nature, and all things beautiful. Being present was no longer present, like the sun slipped behind the clouds. I breathed in deep. Exhaled slowly. Sat still. I started slowing my mind, finding myself again, and what I found was a soul all filled up with "if onlys".

 

If only I had this, my life would feel less stressful.

If only this happened, then I'd be able to calm down and rest.

If only this person would say what I want them to say, life would be better.

If only I could get my act together, then I'd feel more loved.

If only I was a better friend, then I wouldn't feel lonely.

If only I could eat better, exercise more, be healthier, then I'd look how I want to. 

If only I could heal my brokenness, then life would be perfect. 

If only I had more freedom in my schedule, then I'd be happier. 

If only I had the right clothes, the right personality, then I'd be more confident. 

If only I had their life, things would be easier. 

If only I could control something, anything, then I'd be okay. 

 

If only. I hadn't noticed these little foxes creeping back into my life at such a rapid rate. Yet there they all were. I didn't like it. So I took a deep breath. Breathing in Jesus. I reminded myself that Jesus is enough. That surrender will take me farther than control ever will. I reminded myself that I don't have to control things for them to turn out okay, that things turn out better when I let go.

I breathed in love. I breathed in calm. I breathed in rest. I planned a few life giving, slow paced, nature filled things into my evening and weekend. I chose to let go. I chose to trust that all the things will be okay, sending the if onlys off to never-never land. I want to dream about my future, but not from a place of overwhelm and dissatisfaction, not from a place that causes me to forget to stay present. 

I speak to myself, to my soul, that life is for today. That the things that fill our hearts are for today. That I can let go of clinging to outcomes and expectations and external things and choose a full, contentment-filled life today, in this moment. It's so good. Also, hammocks: they're amazing. 

Just Like Peter | A story of hiding and being found

I was reading the story of Peter last night; my heart completely wrung out, like a rag full of dirty water, twisted until the dirt was gone, rinsed until it was clean. I cried, talked to God about the hard things in life, about the things in my heart that I don't want him to see, the things I'm afraid to show him, the needs I'm afraid to bring forward. I didn't want to, it was opposite of every part of my natural self. I did it though. Love showed up. 

John 13:3-8

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

 

I realized I'm just like Peter as Jesus came to wash his feet. Peter felt too vulnerable, like he couldn't allow Jesus into that part of his life. I pictured Peter in that moment, so full of shame, not wanting Jesus to see his dirtiest places. This is me, I thought, the tears flowing steadily now, the realization of how I'm so like Peter. How I feel too much shame, and try to hide my less-than-clean parts from the only one who can wash them clean. How I want to run away and try to clean myself up before he sees me. My heart softens, filled with gratitude for Jesus, always coming with his love. Coming to wash us clean, to set us free, to heal us at the deepest heart level, but he can't do that if we run, if we hide. Hiding is my tendency, my go to, from a young age I've tried to hide all that could be portrayed as less than good. From getting my bike tires dirty in a mud puddle, to the angst of high school drama, to the pain of mistakes in adulthood. I've tried to hide, pretend the problems, the mistakes, the failures don't exist, pretend I'm good with God and everything is okay and I'm fine and I don't "really" need to share my mess-ups with anyone. 

Suddenly I was pouring my heart out to Jesus, risking the pain of shame and vulnerability and letting him see the parts I'd been hiding, the parts that felt unsafe to bring to him. I just started talking through them out loud, and as is his nature, love was there. Love was there to cover, cleanse, heal, wash clean. No judgement, no condemnation, no anger, just a cleansing and washing over my heart as if Jesus said "thank you for sharing, I love you." It was simple and quiet and calm and so full of freedom. Love's gentleness speaking to me, full of grace and kindness. A tender touch.

This morning my heart feels clearer. My mind is able to focus. I don't have all those "excess" thoughts and worries cluttering up my life. I laid it all out there, and the faithfulness of a God who is love came and showed up and reminded me that I belong, that love is a safe place for me, that steadiness and stability will always be there. That he will always, always, always be safe. Instead of the shame I thought I'd feel, the shame is gone. I feel loved.