What Feeds Your Soul??

I was sitting in a group therapy session, as a participant, when I first heard this question asked.

What feeds your soul??

If you really think about it, it's not an easy question to answer. Sure, there are very easy superficial answers. Since I live in the South, deep in the bible belt, most people respond quickly with, "Why Jesus, of course! Jesus feeds my soul". Because that's the "right" answer. And we worry about what other people think so we go with the superficial, right answer rather than the true, gut-wrenching truth.

 Obviously, as a Christian, my focus and belief system turns to Jesus. And yes, reading my bible, praying, and going to church help feed my soul but some of my most draining experiences have been within the modern church. What I have learned from this is that I would rather just fall in love with Jesus with my whole heart and let him lead and guide me to Him...which usually leads to quiet meditation and spending time with him in His word...hello! He tells me where to do His work. Often, though, we view our relationship with Christ as "doing" He longs for relationship, the doing will follow after that. Often we want to do it the other way around.


"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says....whoever continues in it--not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do"
James 2:22,25

To me this passage says get with Jesus, read his word, listen and then follow and act on what you have heard. So often we act, act, act, do, do, do thinking this will get us closer to Jesus. It's really the other way around. Jesus will lead us where he wants us to go. I want to trust that process. It leads to peace and blessing.

So, not that I want to diminish Jesus, or faith, but we need to broaden our view on feeding our soul. It's deep, more complex, multi-faceted.

This week you need to focus on what really feeds your soul. When people would get stumped at this question, the therapist would ask, "what did you really enjoy doing as a child?" "What were you really good at and enjoyed in high school?" For some people they would answer dancing. Some, it would be a sport like basketball. The therapist would then encourage them to go play. Whatever resonates in the deepest part of their soul that is satisfying, playful and enjoyable.

And while reading and going to get a manicure are enjoyable, lets be honest. They truly don't feed the deepest part of your soul. Those are more of a distraction.

This week I want to really delve into the differences between distracting ourselves and truly investing in self-care.

A great handout that I received from another therapist  can be found at www.evelyntribole.com. Unfortunately, they come in a packet of all her worksheets and cost $129.00, so I want to source her for the information I am about to give from her worksheet, "Deconstructing Eating Behavior". I have a feeling that you probably don't want to spend $129.00 for this info, as good as it is! Evelyn Tribole is a Nutrition Therapist and I have been reading her book, "Intuitive Eating", that she co-authored with another Nutrition Therapist.

Even though she is talking about food, when we struggle with other issues (like depression or anxiety) we can still look at what is going on inside to figure out our actions on the outside. This worksheet gives a great description of the differences in true self-care and merely doing other things, which are helpful, but don't really get to the "gut" of the issue.

Here goes:
Distraction: Music, Internet (ie: Pinterest!!!), Watch funny movie, Go to a bookstore
Support: Call, text or email a friend, Talk with minister, Talk with therapist
Deal with Feeling Directly: Write in Journal, feelings app (I've talked about that previously), Reframe thoughts or feeling, Listen to music that matches feeling, Write a letter, Talk with Therapist
Self-care: Set limits, Respect self-vulnerability, "Alone" time, Sleep/rest, Write in Journal, Unplug phone, computer
*Tribole, Evelyn; Deconstructing Eating Behavior Worksheet; www.evelyntribole.com

For a minute just think about this list. And see where you could go with it. Figure out if what you have been doing is truly nurturing yourself (although doing all of these is nurturing to a point) or just distracting yourself from the true feeling. All of these things on this list are good. Some of them just go deeper than others.

I love music, I always have. Because music feeds my soul I listen to it a lot. In the car, in the mornings during quiet meditation, I put music in when I am stressed out. I listen to worship music to focus on my relationship with Christ. I listen to music when I'm working out. Music moves me. It feeds me and over the years I have discovered that I need to be a part of something musical in order for my soul to be filled.

One way that I use music to feed my soul is by taking guitar lessons.  I like to sing but have never mastered learning an instrument (me and the piano just don't get along). But, with the guitar, I have found that while it's not easy, it seems you make quicker progress than with the piano. I wish I had more time to practice and really hone the skill, but my teacher is great wants me to enjoy this process rather than being a real disciplinarian about it. He makes it fun. And for that I am thankful.
 
What feeds your soul?

Get back to that playful self you remember. For some that will be through becoming involved in a competitive sport. Others it will be taking dance classes, or putting in the Just Dance DVD once a week. Write. Pick up that musical instrument (if it brings you joy). Figure it out. Then be strong enough to follow  it through. Even if you are met with resistance.

Remember you are worth it. Do not feel guilty. Love yourself enough to set healthy limits. And let go. You cannot control it all. It is pointless, futile, frustrating and can lead to so many problems. Just learn to let it go and find joy.

Next week we will finish up on self care with a few relaxation techniques. However, I did find this great website with 25 ways to Self-Nurture. Check it out HERE!

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