Joy and Soul Health

Today’s Devotional is offered by Natalie Aho

Have you ever thought about the health of your soul?

We know about emotional care and how to practice good mental health. We know how to get into better physical shape as well as good food practices and how to have good dental health. We can even exercise our brain and sharpen our intellect. We can research better social skills and practice good manners. There are marriage health and parenting health and caregiver health. But to what extent do you think about soul care?

I think there’s something different about our soul versus our talk about the Spirit. The Spirit can be mystical. It’s outside of me. I think about it like the way Christ described the receiving of the Spirit and what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit. But my soul? Well, that’s the essence of me, isn’t it?

Lately, I’ve been learning more about how I can influence the health of my soul to allow myself to have a deeper experience of joy. I believe our souls get damaged, hurt and hardened, so we must find ways to care for it. We need to refresh our soul, renew it, clean it so we can be better recipients of God’s goodness in the world.

To that end, this Advent season I’m even more in tune with the need for soul care than I ever realized. When I think about joy (and also hope, peace, and love), I think it’s essential to cultivate a healthy soul because I can’t experience the power of joy without a well-nurtured soul.

Therefore, I have begun to look for things that corrode my soul: anxiety, worry, fear, anger towards others, the desire to control what is going to happen. Just like when I eat too many fatty foods and need to work twice as hard on the treadmill to burn off those calories if my joy is damaged, I need to do something to counter it. I need to practice good soul care.

So, I wonder if this soul care begins with gratitude? And then, maybe, asking for forgiveness (especially from those who know me best)? And then, finally, providing forgiveness (especially to those I know the least)? I need to look at others with more love than they deserve. I can hold my tongue and create a space for peace. I can allow myself to go last. And I can serve. And serve, again…and then again. And I can give, again, and then again.

Our journey of life is a journey of soul care. Today I pray wherever you are on your journey that you can begin to attend to your soul in intentional ways, so you may experience most deeply and assuredly, regardless of your current circumstances, the joy of Christ’s love that nothing can take away.

This Advent, may we look to practice better soul care to allow joy to break through like never before.

(If you’d like to explore more about soul care, start here: and here:
Soul Salsa by Leonard Sweet )