Soul Care #6: The Need for Maintenance

"Does your spiritual life sometimes seem more like a burden than a blessing?  Does your spirituality seem to exhaust you as often as it refreshes you?  Have your spiritual practices become "just another thing to do" in an already overcrowded, stress-filled schedules? If so, then you need to simplify your spiritual life." ~Donald S. Whitney
Have you ever blown an engine?  We did, once.  It was embarrassing... it was a very, very old vehicle and we had gone a few additional weeks than we should've without checking (and then recognizing the need to replenish) the oil supply.  The effects are disastrous-- once you blow an engine, it is pretty much worthless, all because the oil wasn't properly maintained and things weren't able to move and flow like they should've.

After telling the story of a time he blew an engine, Stephen W. Smith, author of Embracing Soul Care, puts it this way:
"The blown engine became an important symbol in our lives.  In the midst of busyness and ministry, I had not maintained my van.  It was now too late to simply get a read on the engine by checking the dipstick.  It was an expensive mistake.  The van needed a replacement engine.  That weekend, as the van's engine was replaced, I looked at my own internal engine.  The state of my soul was crying out for some serious maintenance.   The soul functions much like a car's engine.  If we want to function properly for life's long haul, we need to check our soul's dipstick." 

If you were to "check the dipstick" of your soul, what would be the reading?  Would you be well-oiled, with things running well in your life?  Would you be a few quarts low?  Would you be bone dry and about to blow?

In what ways could you rescue your souls from burnout by performing regular "dipstick checks" and keeping up more intentional "maintenance" of your soul?  Do you need to do like Donald Whitney wrote, and "simplify your spiritual life"?

"Let us test and examine our ways
and return to the Lord!" 

~Lamentations 3:40~

Image: hinnamsaisuy /


Sanders said...

"We need to check our soul's dipstick." Too often I notice the need for maintenance too late.

My husband and I are hoping to start a new 'tradition' this year. When we take a vacation this summer to the beach - we're planning to give each other a day off. While this will obviously be a little tricky for this nursing Momma - I'm looking forward to this.

Basically - after breakfast until dinner I will take the kiddos for a full day - while he spends time in spiritual retreat and visa versa. My parents are planning to be there this year - I"m hoping that will help us actually make it happen!

I'm not sure how exactly to do maintenance - but really do see it as a big need! Looking forward to reading comments on this one!!

Emily said...

While I havent termed it "soul care", recently I have been taking a few hours a week that are just mine. I learned early in that process that lunching with others (while encouraging), planning for the week for my family, or cleaning were not things that were leaving me energized. Those are all good things, but sometimes I need to take time out to have some focused "Emily" time. It looks different every week- sometimes its outside, with my ipod blaring worship music, sometimes at Starbucks studying the Word and sometimes its in the bathtub, reading an "easy" book. But it has become a necessary part of my week. Its almost like a time out for me- and it leaves me recharged. I've also noticed that my focus is better- back on things that are important; the Lord, my husband, our family.