We all know that we have to make time for ourselves. We call this self-care. My mind immediately goes to bubble baths, pedicures, and coffee dates with friends. But I want to talk about a deeper need.
We need some soul-care.
The distinction between self-care and soul-care lies in the goal. The goal of self-care is to fill your cup up, making it possible for you to continue to give of yourself. The goal of soul-care? Filling your cup up while also coming into your Heavenly Father’s presence and being reminded of His love for you!
I realized this distinction at about 5 months postpartum. Motherhood didn’t fit me like a glove. Honestly, I floundered for a bit. I struggled with how to embrace this new identity because it felt like I was leaving pieces of myself behind in order to make room for this new role and all it encompassed. I realized, though, that there are certain pieces of myself that I can’t afford to leave behind because they form a crucial part of who I am. They are God-given passions that bring me joy while simultaneously bringing me closer to God. This is what I call soul-care.
Here’s how I feed my soul:
I love to write. It’s the way I make sense of life. It’s how I come to understand things better. Writing is often how I best communicate with others.
I love getting lost in a good book. It sparks my imagination and broadens my horizons. It helps me remember that what I see is not all there is. (Add coffee and it’s perfection!)
I love hiking. It brings me closer to God because I can enjoy His creation more fully. It helps me relax and reminds me that nature is a beautiful reflection of our Creator. It reminds me that I serve a God who loves me so much that He not only made delicate and vibrant flowers that make me smile but also majestic mountains that take my breath away.
Writing, reading, and hiking aren’t just forms of self-care for me. They are ways to feed my soul. Reminders of the unique desires that God has placed within me. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has planted eternity, a sense of divine purpose, in the human heart. We can be reminded of our divine purpose, our daughtership to the King, by doing those simple things that make us feel close to God.
I don’t believe that motherhood is meant to replace our pre-mother selves. It will refine us and grow us. But our new role and responsibilities shouldn’t replace our other God-given passions. We’ll all go through seasons of transition that will steal our focus and our energy. But don’t let that distract you forever, sweet Momma!
Think of one thing that, no matter what else is going on, brings you a sense of peace and joy. Something that you feel God has given you a desire for because it draws you into His arms. Maybe that is a coffee date with friends or a pedicure or a bubble bath. Maybe it’s going for a run. Maybe it’s watching the sunrise.
Whatever it is, do it today. See God in your joy. See His love in your joy. Feed your soul with that joy.