3 Steps to Scheduling a Soul-cation
by Dawn Aldrich
I anticipate summer all year, yearning for sunny days and warm temps when I can throw off my jacket, fling off my shoes and plant my feet on the cool green grass of my back yard, or bury them under the hot sand of the seashore. or swing them off the side of shade-covered hammock.
Summer’s when I reacquaint myself with nature, close up; when I dig in the rich soil of my vegetable garden and smell the sweet scents of the phlox growing by my back deck. It’s when my work seems more like play and the daylight hours linger long enough to make me tired. A good tired. A tired that says, “That was a good days work,” or “You played hard today.”
Summer rejuvenates and revives me and reminds me I’m part of something bigger. Without summer, my body, mind, and heart would suffer.
Our souls need summer seasons, as well. We think a thriving soul must constantly seek knowledge, strive to be better, serve more, do more, keep busy. While learning and serving is part of growing and maturing, our souls need breathing room, too. If we’re continually over-scheduled or constantly pouring ourselves into ministry or people or work without slowing down and reconnecting with God, our souls will wither.
It was easy to “schedule” my soul-cation as a kid. Summer church camp allowed for that, but how do we do that as an adult with all of our responsibilities and limited time?
First, time is not an issue. We’re all given 24 hours in each day. I find time isn’t the real issue, but rather, discipline. Ouch! I know. No one likes to hear that. We’d rather say, “But, I’m soooo busy!” when reality is, we don’t want to trade our busyness for quiet, because quiet seems such a waste of time.
So, if your soul needs a soul-cation, we must schedule a retreat (an hour, a day, a weekend) away from the normal chaos of life. And that, takes a little planning, even if it’s just swinging in the hammock in your own back yard for an hour.
Second, plan ahead. Anticipate your soul-cation time and work ahead to get away. Discuss with your spouse, family member, friend if he/she would take your kids/pets for your allotted time. Think ahead of two places you feel most loved by God (at the seashore, the forest, hiking a trail, walking, running, in the library reading a book, in your car driving nowhere, etc. Wherever. Plan on two places in case weather does not permit being outside).
Third, leave your agenda at home. Once you arrive at your favorite place, let God lead the rest. Just quiet yourself, sit back with your bible, a journal (if you like to write) or some instrumental music and just listen. Maybe ask God one question, “God, what do you want me to know about you right now?” And let him lead. Listen for his voice and simply rest in His presence. Let him fill you with living water and restore your soul.
Soul-cations need not only happen once a year. Soul-cations need to be a regular, spiritual discipline where we can drink deeply of God’s presence and Word in order for us to remain healthy, nourished and growing.
Are you ready for a soul-cation? How do you rest and restore your soul? What has God whispered he wants to be for you?
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28,29 (NIV)