Daily Devotions

The Caring of Your Soul (Part One)

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From there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

We are often so busy caring for everyone else, whether at work or at home, that it is hard for us to take time to care for our soul. I visited the other day with a woman who is caring for her ill husband, while at the same time, trying to be a support to her grown children, and her mother, who is in a care facility. I was impressed that this dear person was able to balance all the ongoing responsibilities. She is doing this while also working full time. She is not alone in the demands life throws at us.

So, it is with trepidation that I raise the issue of the need to care for one more person. Yet, it is even more necessary for you to care for this particular person than anyone else. That person is you. To be more specific, the one you care for is your soul. We sometimes forget that apart for other responsibilities, the central responsibility in this world is the care and nurture of our soul. This means caring for our relationship with God. If we fail to nurture our soul, we will become bitter, resentful, and unable to provide care for our loved ones.

Before you even leave the runway, the flight attendant tells you to put on your mask before you put the mask on your child. In the same way, you are to put the care of your soul ahead of all else. If you don’t put your mask on first, you might stop breathing and you will not be able to care for your child. If you care for others before yourself, God’s breath will not be in you and you will burn out.

Today, think about the health of your soul. Is God breathing through you, or are you struggling to get enough Divine air? Do you need to refocus some time on your relationship with God? Pray for God to guide you forward in faith, so you have enough of the Spirit breathing through you that you have something left to offer others.

 

The U of Your Life

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a) 

Westminster’s Pastor Emeritus, Ken Arentson, shared an article with the Men’s Group. The article discussed a study that evaluated a large group of people over a period of years. What they found was that most people live their lives on a U-shaped arc. When we are young we are at the top of the world. We are cared for, loved, and have so much to look forward to in the future. Things become more challenging and our happiness index falls through the years. The most difficult, unhappy years, at the bottom of the U, occurring during our 40’s and 50’s, when most of us are at our most productive in our careers.

The article so far, didn’t surprise me. It wasn’t until the article discussed what happened on the back half of the U. Surprisingly, as we get close to retirement and into old age, our happiness index starts to rise. Oddly, the older we get, the happier we become again. Old age and childhood are the happiest moments in our lives.

Old age is happy because we have “run the race.” We are done. We can now enjoy our families. We can offer our wisdom and appreciate life beyond work. We are no longer on the career treadmill, but appreciative of time now available again. Even with the limitations of a decaying body, and the reality of impending death, our happiness index remains high, because we can focus on our accomplishments, and provide support to the family we helped nurture.

Today, prayerfully consider your place on the U-shaped arc. Rather than fight against your place on the arc, embrace it, so you can avoid painful expectations. Recognize that at each place along the arc, God is with us, calling us to a larger plan that supports our faith, our family, and our career. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” A time for career and raising our family, and a time to focus on self. In embracing life’s arc, we embrace God’s unique call at different stages of our lifecycle. Lifelong happiness is greater when we do not fight each stage of life. Take the ride and enjoy the life God has given you.

 

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