Categories
Best of Messy Grace faith life coaching Religious Recovery self-care self-esteem Spirituality

Soul-Care: What It Is; What It Isn’t

Soul-Care: What It is, What It Isn’t

Soul-Care is an interpersonal relationship in which a mentor partners with another person who longs to unclutter their soul and heal their image of God and self.

Reconciliation

If you’ve heard the theological buzzword “deconstruction” tossed around, Soul-Care is a way to deconstruct your faith safely and in confidence. In this process, we will not only deconstruct the fear-based lies you’ve believed about God, but we’ll also begin to reconstruct your new, loving image of God.

Another theological buzzword you might have heard before is the term “spiritual maturity.” Through Soul-Care, you will develop a stronger (more mature and genuine) faith, while not skirting around the difficulties, sufferings, disappointments, and problems of the human experience.

In essence, Soul-Care is the guided journey of reconciling who you are, the wounds you’ve received, the hopes you have, and what you believe about God. Soul-Care is centered on God’s desire for you to be made whole. It is getting in tune with the inner and outer forces in one's life, gradually understanding more clearly the inner movement of the Spirit, who constantly calls you toward Divine Love.

What Soul-Care is Not:

  • A casual exchange of advice and feedback among friends
  • A place to debate the minutiae of Christian theology 
  • Psychological counseling or therapy
  • Problem-solving or decision making

The primary goal of Soul-Care is an intentional conversation with a spiritual mentor, which enables you to objectify, conceptualize, express and understand your relationship with that which we call God. Another goal of Soul-Care is to discern the movements and guidance of God in your life.

Soul-Care involves an open dialogue of:

  • Faith: Soul-Care will look at your spiritual life in great detail (both public and private, personal and liturgical, individual and group). In Soul-Care sessions, we will also discuss methods, insights, affections, and how your faith life overflows into your daily life.
  • Hope: Hope isn’t some feathery, light, easy thing. We’ll look at real hope, gaining a deeper understanding of suffering, lament, humanity, anxiety, and depression. 
  • Love: This includes how you get along with others, your approach to kindness, openness, patience, tolerance, and cooperation. Plus, selfishness, possessiveness, and manipulation.

Soul-Care will lead you to discover how you can respond to the Spirit’s movement in your life:

  • The movements of the Holy Spirit within yourself: inspiration, delusion, deception, ego
  • The depth of God's presence in your life, plus the overflow of God’s grace
  • You’ll see how God is guiding the rhythms and patterns of your life and relationships 
  • You’ll assess your moods and movements, direction and the dynamics of God's touch

The Christian life is about death and resurrection. In dying and finding new life, Soul-Care Sessions will empower you to face life head-on, with gritty hope in God.

​Is Soul-Care Right for You?

Do you need it? The short answer is: it depends.

The ideal Soul-Care participant looks something like this:

  • A person who takes life their spiritual life seriously and desires to have someone who knows him/her well and can share their relationship with God together.
  • A self-aware person who recognizes the inner presence and activity of God, but needs some help healing from toxic theology, fear-based beliefs, or shame-filled lies about God’s interaction with humanity.
  • Someone who feels “stuck” spiritually, but is willing to be honest (read: courageous and vulnerable), doing the deep inner work required to move forward.

What Should You Look for in a Mentor or Guide?

  • A sensitivity to the Spirit
  • Active involvement in their own personal growth
  • Understands spiritual development and formation
  • A good listener
  • Someone who isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions
  • Prayerful and competent
  • Practices empathy and compassion
  • Emotionally stable
  • Self-aware

Ready to Start Soul-Care?

Take your time. Perhaps, get a second opinion.

Talk with trusted friends or family members who have done something similar and found it helpful.

Because Soul-Care is deeply personal and must be an open dialogue, it should be with a person with whom you feel at ease, someone with whom you believe you could be direct and honest.

Needs for individual vary. It is important to contract sessions for a definite period of time (six months or a year) and at the end of that time, evaluate what has taken place and decide if both persons wish to continue. Consider the frequency (every two or four weeks) and the length of the individual sessions (45-60 minutes).

Above all, Soul-Care sessions should be done with someone who has a good dose of common sense and humanity. It is good to ask for an interview with the person (you can schedule one with me here). Both of you can share your expectations and goals for the time that would be spent together. After the interview, take the time to think and pray for a few days before making a decision.


​Join the Soul-Care Challenge

​Ready to start healing your image of God and self? Join my free 7-day Soul-Care Challenge.

By Steve Austin

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.