Soul care is a non-negotiable for those in ministry. Since a big part of ministry is caring for others, sometimes it is easy to neglect caring for yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Soul care is intentionality in caring for your own soul. Your soul is the deepest part of you that no one, but God, can fully see; it’s also the part of you that needs to be healthy in order to be effective in the ministry God has called you to.
Soul care practices include scripture, spiritual friendship, solitude/silence, journaling, prayer, simplicity, surrender.
Surrender. What comes to your mind when you think of that word? Chances are your mind goes to something negative, such as being held by gun-point, or something similar. Some days, it may seem like we are being held at gun-point to serve in ways we don’t want to (-smile-). Yet, that is not God’s heart or His goal. He is not forcing you to serve Him or others, He is asking you to do it of your own volition; your own choice; your own desire.
One definition of surrender is – “to give the control or use of (something) to someone else”. Practically speaking, surrender is a life given to serve Christ. You are giving the control and use of yourself to God and you do it of your own free will. You agree to stop fighting His call on your life. You realize that resistance is futile; you will not succeed in anything but giving complete control of your life to Christ. But, trust me when I say, you don’t want it any other way. I know . . . I’ve tried.
The reason surrender is the way to go is because of the “great exchange” that takes place.
- Your weakness for His strength
- Your inability for His ability
- Your foolishness for His wisdom
- Your chaos for His peace
- Your inadequacy for His perfection
- Your flesh for His Spirit
When you think of surrender in this way, you are quick to give God control. Yet, no matter how “surrendered” you think you are, your human nature fights your spirit to regain control. The most helpful way I have found to surrender on a daily basis is found in this simple prayer, “I can’t. You can, so I will let You.” In fact, I have put those words on my ceiling over my bed so that it is the first thing I see when I open my eyes each morning.
As I pray this quick and simple prayer, the “great exchange” takes place. I am strengthened with His ability, wisdom and peace through the power of His perfect Holy Spirit. In surrender we find all that we need to please God and live a life of service to Him.
Your Friend in Ministry,