You ever actually pay attention to what the flight attendant says over the loud speaker before your plane takes off? Or are you more trying to get situated for the flight? During the flight attendants instructions on how to save your life in case of an accident they usually say these words “In case of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling” (the then demonstrate what that looks like). “Place the mask on your face and pull tight.” (again, demonstrated) ” Oxygen will be flowing through even if the bag is not inflated. Please place your mask on first before assisting someone else.” These words ring true to save your life.
These words ring true for soul care.
Soul care is taking care of yourself spiritually. That might sound weird for some, but it is so important. We are made up of mind, body, and soul. All three interconnected and locked together, inseparable, indivisible. Yet we divorce mind, body, and soul in our lives. We compartmentalize it to the point sometimes of ignoring the spiritual all together, letting it atrophy. Or, we try so hard to be spiritual yet don’t know how to properly care for our soul in a healthy way.
As a follower of Jesus, I know the desire to help others. I have repeatedly said from the pulpit the need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I have called for people to mentor others in the faith, to be present for those in need, to rejoice with those who rejoice and cry with those who cry. And to tell the truth, all this crying and rejoicing is taxing. It burns us out.
We don’t take care of our souls. We don’t do what we can to strengthen ourselves spiritually. True spirituality involves rhythm. It involves going back and forth between ministry and soul care. Jesus himself did this. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. Jesus, God in the flesh. Jesus, the one who died for the sins of the world needed soul care.
So what about the oxygen mask so many ignore hearing about?
Think about it for a moment. So many times we want to put the mask on a child or the elderly or someone in need of help first before we put it on ourselves. But if we don’t put it on ourselves first, how can we help the one in need? If we both pass out due to lack of oxygen, that’s not helping anyone.
The same is true for soul care, for taking care of yourself spiritually.
Too many times we are just soul survivors, going from one church event to another, caring for one person after another. We push forward in serving or in helping or in praying for others; we push forward in offering the shoulder of grace to those in need while rejoicing with those who rejoice. And then our soul is tired. We start to get burned out if not charred all together. We’re just soul survivors, surviving each ordeal but not taking time to rejuvenate and rest up for the next act of grace and love.
If you don’t put that spiritual oxygen mask on soon, you’ll pass out for lack of spiritual oxygen. And that ain’t good at all. What good are you to helping and serving others if you can’t take time to breathe?
This is where soul care and soul training come in. But how? How do you take care of yourself spiritually? And isn’t that selfish? Aren’t we supposed to give and to serve and to help and to offer all ourselves to Jesus and serving Him?
But even the flight attendants are to take care of themselves in the event of an accident or other issue. Their safety is important too. How can they help if they aren’t being taken care of?
Even Jesus took care of Himself. He fasted and prayed. When He faced temptation in the wilderness He relied on Scripture. When things were hard, He went and prayed. Before and after important ministry events, Jesus took time to pray. When He was about to go to the cross, Jesus took a lot of time to pray. He took time to be with God.
Are you taking time to take care of your soul? Are you taking time to truly care for yourself? It isn’t selfish. It’s needed.
When we don’t take time for self care and soul care we wind up just surviving and eventually become so burned out we’re spiritually charred.
Find time to seek God in prayer. Find time and ways that you refresh the best. Find ways and time to make sure you can take care of your soul so you can then help someone else in need.
How can you put on the spiritual oxygen mask so you can help someone else with theirs?