As I sit here and write, the rain is falling heavily on my roof. After a particularly challenging few months personally, I sit here with a sense of heaviness and grief. Not something I’m unfamiliar with, but this time somehow different. Perhaps it’s because I’m older than I once was. Or maybe because the circumstances that surround my grief are so very close to home and my heart. My soul is in need of some refreshing right now.
Recently I was walking my usual route in my local neighbourhood. Part of which includes some beautiful bush land and wetlands. For months, I’d walk past the creek and the pond that the ducks usually frolic and play in. There wasn’t a single drop of water in sight.
Just last week after a little break from my usual walking route I decided to revisit my favourite track. This time the creek was flowing. It was almost full! And the pond was half filled and teaming with ducks, frogs and other water-loving creatures. Something inside of me let out a little squeal of delight at seeing refreshing life return to what had become a dry and lifeless space.
There have been times when my soul feels much like that. A dry and lifeless space. It takes a battering in some seasons. The challenges of those seasons when the heat is on can seem relentless. We all know that challenges in life are inevitable. So how do we find refreshing in the midst of those tough times? And is it even possible?
Refreshing in Challenging Times
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my soul over the past few years. And working on it too. That immeasurable space inside of me. Home to my mind, my will and my emotions. THE SOUL. To some a treasured space. To others a hinderance or a troublesome space. Perhaps a complete mystery for some.
At various times I’ve spoken with farmers in our rural areas to learn more about the phenomenon of drought. What I’ve come to understand is that drought doesn’t necessarily break just because rain arrives. However, rain sure brings with it an element of hope and refreshing. Our souls mirror something of that pattern too. Outward circumstances may not always change in a hurry, but it IS possible to experience refreshing and hope in the midst of challenge. Even if it doesn’t break the challenge.
Challenges in life can take many different forms. It would be naïve of me to make a global statement about what everyone ‘should’ do to bring refreshing to their soul. One thing I am certain of though. It is possible. For me, I’ve trained myself over the years to do this. It wasn’t natural for me. Increasingly, my ability to seek out and activate refreshing for my soul, is becoming more and more normal.
How do I refresh my soul?
There is a beginning point. Bringing true refreshing to your soul requires being responsible to yourself. That responsibility is to learn to love who you are from the inside out. Genuinely and deeply. It’s an all important commitment to make to yourself. It’s the baseline. From this point comes beautiful growth. Most often out of those incredibly challenging times.
Without fail there is one place I always start. It attracts that refreshing rain to my treasured soul space. It’s the place of GRATITUDE. Something sweet happens as I allow myself to go here. Despite my circumstances I have always found more than enough to be deeply thankful for. From here somehow my perspective begins to shift.
From that place I find the courage to take my next step. To offer something of myself (my time, my encouragement, my finances, etc.) to add value to someone else’s day. Sharing a smile. A kind, thoughtful gesture. Watching the sun rise. Joining the kids for a belly laugh. The options are only limited by my own imagination.
Our souls need refreshing. We must remember this. Too many neglect to nurture and feed their soul with healthy thoughts, healthy words, healthy relationships and healthy boundaries. I have been amongst them many times myself. But while we’re not intentionally attending to our soul’s needs we become depleted, unhealthy, weak and emotionally needy. There lies an aching deep inside of us that we long to have filled.
Filling your Soul’s Deepest Need
It’s here that we can take action and offer ourselves, our soul, what we so desperately need in those moments… Grace to slow down a little. Permission to let go of something. Validation for what we’re able to accomplish. No matter how small it may seem.
It’s that last point that I want to focus in on here. Validation.
recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.Online Dictionary
It’s a common default for many of us to beat up on ourselves when we’re feeling like we’re not doing so well. There is significant research now that highlights how berating ourselves when we’re already feeling down actually sends us deeper into the very state we’d like to avoid. It does nothing to raise our hopes or allow us to find something to feel hopeful about again. Learning to validate ourselves is a powerful and necessary tool we must develop.
So what am I getting at?
My point is this. Whether we know it or not, our emotional well being, our soul, is influenced greatly by our ability to be intentional about how we show value and worth to ourselves. Please understand I’m not talking about having an over-inflated view of ourselves or never admitting when we’re wrong or not doing well. Quite the contrary! I’m talking about being real about where we’re at, but also being KIND TO OURSELVES in that process. Not relying on others to show us our worth or value. Their thoughts, opinions, encouragement or accolades are not what determines our value. It’s wonderful to receive all of that. But when we rely on it to build us up, we will inevitably be disappointed.
Let it Rain!
These past months (as mentioned) have been tough. I have had to give myself permission to pull back from some things. Give myself time to grieve. Notice how I’m doing and accommodate for my physical and emotional needs. And there are some things I’m having to learn to get better at, like asking for help, and saying NO. I am still a work in progress. I continue to learn to bring that ‘refreshing rain’ to my soul. Much like our drought-stricken rural Australia, my challenging time hasn’t necessarily passed, but I am hope-filled for what is to come. I get to choose my perspective and how I nurture my soul. What a gift!
Is your soul in need of refreshing? Let it rain! I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to give yourself permission to embark upon this soul-saving journey. You will most definitely be rewarded!