Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Soul Care

I gathered up my Bible and journal and a pen, and took off down the hall. Where would I go? Where could I go to be completely alone and uninterrupted for a few hours? I finally settled on the far corner table of the cafeteria... That day at training, the topic was "soul care," the necessary time we take to be alone with God, inspect our hearts and allow Him to speak to us and refresh us. When I heard that we had some time to actually spend in "soul care," my first response was, Yes! Nap time! Sleep is from the Lord, anyway... I hadn't been getting to bed at a decent hour all week, and the whole getting-up-at-6AM thing was taking a toll. So even as I pushed a chair out of the way in that back corner and plopped my books down, I hoped I would be blessed with some moments of quiet peace. But as I closed my eyes, I heard God speak to my heart, "No, no, not right now. We have some work to do." Surprised by this clear and direct statement, I opened my eyes and wiggled into an upright position.

And there was Jesus, sitting next to me at that back corner table, pushing my journal toward me. "I know you would rather write than speak," he said, "So write to me and tell me what's going on in your heart." He knows I'm introverted and introspective, that I'm very self-aware and analytical. I don't know if that gets on His nerves as much as it gets on mine, but after a week of personality assessments, I figured He designed me that way. So I started to write. I wrote about what angers me and offends me, what excites me and makes me feel appreciated, what doubts I struggle with and the promises in God's Word that I cling to the most. And as I wrote, Jesus dialogued with me. He said things like, "Yes, that's true. Do you remember what the Father said about that?" and "But you know that's not true... Just recall the time when I dealt with that very issue..." He guided my thoughts through my soul and revealed big and small things that he wanted us to talk through and work out together. A lot of it was me surrendering, and Him restoring. I did not get a nap that day, but when I left that soul care time with him, I felt renewed.

This week at church, I found myself again at a table with Bible, paper, and pen. During the worship music set, the pastor got up and said that maybe there were some people who needed to "do business with God," so he wanted us to take a few minutes for that. Oh boy, here we go again... I thought, as I prepared for Jesus to lovingly, but firmly, hash out some more of my soul. The song the band was playing said, "I love, I love your presence." Many times before, I've imagined that I've gone into the presence of God... a great throne room, golden pavement. But this time, the song brought to my mind the beauty of Jesus as Emmanuel, coming into our presence and being with us.

And there He was again, sitting next to me at that table. Only this time, he smiled at me and put his arm around me. "This time, why don't you just rest in Me, ok?" he said, and I closed my eyes and leaned on his shoulder. We didn't do any "work" that day, but when the music faded, I felt renewed.

Sometimes we have work to do - confessions and submissions and surrender, and other times we have to just be - to rest and abide in Him. He knows what our souls need, and He knows how to care for them the best.

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