Soul-Care Best Practices
"As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). The only problem is… sometimes we do. We know we’re to make the best use of the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16) and lay down our lives (John 15:13) and discipline ourselves for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), but what do we do when we feel like we’re running dry? How do we offer ourselves as living sacrifices without it killing us?
Wait for God
Job had an ash heap (Job 2:8), Elijah had a broom tree (1 Kings 19:5), David had a cave (Psalm 57, 142), and Jesus had a garden (Matthew 26 and Hebrews 5:7-8). When life was overwhelming, they sought solitude. They stopped and waited for God, and God met them, cared for them, and answered the cry of their hearts. These, and many other stories like them, tell us about the kind of God we serve: He meets people where they are; He doesn’t condemn them for being there but He doesn’t leave them there either; He speaks truth to replace the lies — and the whole process is powerfully infused with love that then grows in the hearts of those with whom He meets. Not only is the relationship comforting, it’s transformative.
When we take time to know God in this way, He tells us important things about ourselves. If we’re to thrive in the places God calls us to serve, we must allow Him to x-ray our hearts to find our root issues and then listen to His diagnosis. Am I burning out because I’m trying to do what only He can do? Whose glory fuels my service — His or mine? Am I trying to overflow what I’m not taking in? Is my vessel clean enough for His glory to flow through? Am I remembering that all of life is ministry, or is one area hijacking my whole life? Am I allowing Him to minister grace and truth to my life through His body?
It is essential that we know His answers to these questions — this is the diagnosis. Once we do, He calls us to drink long of the medicine that will heal our souls: grace upon grace. And like any good disease-killing medication, we mustn’t stop until we’ve consumed it all.
We cannot give what we have not received. Those we serve find themselves in the very same struggles we have come to. When we struggle and God meets us, planting our feet on solid ground, we will be ready, with gentle respect, to give an answer for the hope that is in us.
— Betty-Anne, a member of Hespeler Baptist Church in Cambridge, ON, helps to facilitate the Canadian network of the Biblical Counselling Coalition, in addition to helping in its initial Canadian launch.