Pulling into our driveway after a two week absence we were horrified to see our young tree planted a year ago standing with half it’s leaves gone – now on the ground, blowing around, dead, brown. And note - this is not the season for leaf dropping. How could this happen in only 2 weeks?
It isn’t hard to acknowledge the results of lack of water and the impact of drought on grass, trees, plants, flowers, animals and crops especially in Texas August heat. There’s not enough water to sustain the root systems. It’s just harder to realize this is not unlike what happens to our souls when they are neglected and become mal nourished.
Our souls need maintenance, attentiveness, care and space to breathe. They need restoration, to be refreshed and nourished – especially in the midst of caring for the souls of others or in the midst of draining relational conflict. They need rest and quiet to be restored.
Fast lane living, busyness, never stopping, never resting, working 24/7, not taking time to attend to what is happening to us internally and even unintentional neglect creates the perfect environment for “soul drought”. Soul drought, soul clutter and soul desperation all are screams for help. The hectic press of life, becoming dangerously tired with no rest, no attention, no break and following the world’s view that you burn it out no matter what the cost, never stopping, never creating space for God or for your soul to rest, regroup, recharge and be nourished exacts a cost. It exacts a cost on your soul.
Even though “soul drought” may manifest slowly when it does it gets your attention and you begin to look for alternatives to soothe your soul pain. Our young tree badly needed watering.
Mindy Caliquire, in her book Discovering Soul Care, states that symptoms of soul neglect are: “self- absorption, shame, physical fatigue, isolation, stronger temptation to sin, drivenness, feelings of desperation, panic, insecurity, callousness, a judgmental attitude, cynicism and lack of desire for God.”
“Signs of soul health are love, joy, compassion, giving and receiving grace, generosity of spirit, peace, ability to trust, discernment, humility, creativity, visions, balance and focus.”
The good news is that we have a Savior who knows exactly how to shepherd us in our state of soul drought. He invites us to come, to return, to re-enter His fellowship. He welcomes us back into His Presence. He longs to quench our parched souls and our deep thirst that is really longing for Him.
“…we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” Hebrews 6:19
Jesus is the one who can help and has shown us how to get out of a "soul drought" situation. He modeled pulling away and resting and as He instructed his disciples, consider this for yourself:
“ then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat. He said to them. ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’ “ Mark 6:31 He knows exactly what we need. He made us. He knows what works best. He is God we are not.
He hears. He intercedes. He welcomes us back. He quenches our thirst. He is waiting. Come.
“ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37
“ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
"Surely God is my help;the Lord is the one who sustains me." Pslam 54:4
For further consideration:
Anderson, Fil. Running on Empty, Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2004.