May 25, 2020
You watch or read about the news everyday, and it feels like things won’t get better anytime soon.
You may have missed some of your milestones in life: graduation, taking college entrance exams for your dream university, or celebrating the end of the school year with your classmates and close friends.
You get additional stress and anxiety from physical distancing, home quarantine, financial constraints, or conflicts at home.
You try your best to cope, but it seems that your efforts are just not enough.
You end up searching online or asking people what to do, and you discover this term: “soul care.” We know of self-care, but what is soul care?
If you’re looking for an article that teaches you how to care for your soul in five steps, this article might disappoint you. This is for those who, like me, have endless questions about soul care and are still learning how to do it.
The word “soul” came from the word “psyche.”
I first encountered it in my General Psychology class in college. In Psychology, we learned that the psyche is the totality of the human mind, both conscious and unconscious. (Hello, Psych students!)
But did you know that this word is also used in the New Testament to pertain to a person’s life as a whole? (Matthew 10:28)
A person’s soul is the totality of his being—the mind, emotions, and will.
Taking care of something means providing what is necessary for its health, welfare, maintenance, and protection from any damage.
Numerous definitions of soul care can be summarized into this:
Soul care is providing what is necessary for the health and protection of our WHOLE being.
I could list a bunch of things to do everyday to care for the soul. You could talk to someone to process your feelings; forgive everyone who has hurt you; listen to worship songs all day long; stay away from Netflix or social media for one day . . . and the list goes on.
But the questions in my head also started to pile up.
Are these enough?
How much of this will ever be enough to make my soul healthy?
Does taking care of my soul really start with these external actions?
As I set out on my search for answers, it dawned on me that my body can only do so much to take care of my soul. Could it be that my soul is already designed to do something in order to receive its care?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
The Bible calls this the great commandment. We are to love God with our whole being. Loving God includes seeking Him, adoring Him, getting to know Him more and more, receiving His love, and submitting to Him.
“Having someone walk into your life is actually a very astonishing thing. That’s because they bring their past, present, and future with them. It’s because someone’s whole life comes along with him.”
I heard this line in one of the K-dramas I recently watched, and it really struck me.
When we love someone, we show who we truly are and bring our past, present, and future selves. We even bring all of our brokenness.
God invites us to love Him, even with all our emotional baggage, pain, fear, confusion, and mental incapabilities.
He fully knows all these things, and in His loving nature, He accepts us and invites us into a loving relationship. As we continue to love Him, our hearts eventually beat with His; we begin loving what He loves, and we start hating the things He hates.
I used to think that loving God with all of my soul meant always being completely fine, being able to forgive others, or being able to break sin patterns in my life.
But when I read Matthew 22:37 again and again, I noticed that it didn’t say we need to have a healthy soul first before we can love God with ALL of us. It just says to love Him with ALL of our soul, including our hearts and minds.
No prerequisites, no conditions, no report cards, no metrics of having a healthy soul, heart, and mind.
As broken as we are, we are called to receive God’s love and to love Him in return.
As we love God with all of our soul, we discover that He is more than enough to satisfy our desires and needs.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The soul longs for the Creator that can provide all its needs. Without God, the soul will stay in its broken state.
God alone provides healing for our wounded souls. God alone can restore our souls and provide forgiveness for our sins. Times of refreshment come from His presence. He provides peace and rest for our weary souls. He protects our souls from harm.
“A tree with a shallow root system may still look beautiful on the outside, but it is incapable of supplying the water and nutrients for long term upward growth of an entire tree.”
—Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Leader
Getting what your soul needs from the wrong sources cannot sustain long-term growth. It may make you look healthy and beautiful on the outside, but it won’t last.
Taking care of your soul stems from an intimate relationship with God.
Finally, I came up with this answer:
The ultimate soul care that we need is to abide in God’s love, to seek Him, to fully rest in Him, and to love Him with our entire being.
While we can try to do all that we can to care for our souls, it is impossible to do it alone. God offers to take that burden away from you right here, right now. He is more than capable of taking care of you.
Yes, all of you.