Could soul care save your September?

September is looming. 

There is much to look forward to as autumn approaches. Many would join me in declaring it a favorite season. The hope of the leaves, temperatures, football games, smells, and tastes headed my way makes my heart do a little dance.

soul care questions

However, holding hands with that hope is angst. The free-flowing schedule of summer is about to be taken over by responsibilities, kick-offs, homework, and sports. I am overwhelmed in anticipation of all there will be to do and manage. Maybe for you, that day has already come. I have a few days left before it hits me.

The start of the new school year can feel like a Mack truck: it carries wonderful things in its trailer, but also threatens to run us over with its speed and weight. We too often stumble into November battered and bruised, wondering how we will make it to Christmas.

I've been thinking about what we can and should do now in order to be prepared for this onslaught. Parts of me want to cut anything and everything that is not essential so I have room to add in what is coming. But I think there is a better way.

This is the time to ask soul care questions.
What fills my soul? Could I do more of that?

What drains my soul? Could I do less of that?

Maybe its time to say no to an activity, even if it's been done before, because your soul will not be able to hold it and stay healthy. Maybe its time to say yes to an activity, even if you don't know where it will fit, because it will give you the strength you need to keep going.

This is the time to be discerning and courageous. This is the time to give yourself grace upon grace as you figure out how to move to this next season.


For my part, I'd like to offer you two gifts that I hope might help.

First, a video. Yup, like a crazy person, I made a YouTube video even though I don't know how to edit or follow any of the other rules of that genre. I just felt like something I experienced would translate better to talking than writing.

Last week, in part because of these coming changes, I was caught in some swirls of anxiety. What helped me make it through was a beautiful conversation we had at a Socratic Scripture Study. I wanted to tell the story of how God kept bringing the words back to me. I hope it might be a short thing you could add that could be a little soul care for today.

Second, an offer. (If you made it through the video, you already know about this.) I have encountered God in unique and powerful ways through Socratic Scripture study. When people gather with questions, authenticity, and love around these ancient texts, I believe the Spiritspeaks to us. So, I want to make it easy for people to experience it for themselves as they enter a season when soul care might be especially needed.

So, all my studies are free in the month of September. This is offer is probably only helpful for those of you who are local to Minneapolis, but anyone is welcome. See my Socratic Scripture Studies page for more information and to register.


Whatever you choose, I pray you can find hope and strength for your soul to thrive in the coming season. I love the encouragement of Jeremiah 6:16,

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls."

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What if it's like driving a boat?

One of our favorite places in the world is my in-law’s cabin on a lake. We love to go there to swim, boat, and escape from the pressures of everyday life.

There is so much I love to do while I’m there, but there’s one thing I despise: I don’t like to drive the speedboat.

I like riding in the speed boat. I enjoy watching my kids ski or tube behind it. But, I flat out refuse to drive it. When I get behind the wheel, my heart thumps, my hands sweat, and my gut gets twisted in anxiety.

For some, driving a boat is easier than driving a car. There is wide open space in front of you. You don’t have to worry about staying in your lane or turning the right way. You simply watch for other boats, stay mindful of your speed, and go where you want to go… Which is exactly what I can’t handle. 

What if I don’t know where I want to go? What if I choose wrong? What if I direct the boat into danger? Why can’t someone just make lanes I can follow so I don’t mess this entire thing up???

So, my husband drives the boat, and I watch, missing out on what could be a grand adventure.

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There are many metaphors that could be used to describe God’s will. I used to think about it like a GPS. We drive, and God tells us where to go. If we go the wrong way, God reroutes us. There is a precise destination at the end that God will not fail to take us to.  Not only that, there is a best route to get there, and if we miss a turn, the drive is going to be much more frustrating.

There’s comfort in that idea. We are behind the wheel, but our lives are not ours to direct. It is simply our responsibility to follow wherever God tells us to go.

But what if God’s will is more like driving a boat? 

What if God is sitting next to us, sunglasses on, with a mischievous smile spread across His face. What if God is asking us that most dangerous of questions… Where do you want to go? 

Owning our desires is dangerous. What if I chose wrong? What if the risks are too high? What if I mess the whole thing up?

But what if that’s the grand adventure God is inviting you into? A life with God beside us, laughing in the wind, riding by our side in the spirit of possibility and wonder. Ready to help if we crash into a rock, but letting us step into the energy of forging out own way.

The wide open water is ahead of you. Where do you want to go?

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Enneagram and Faith: What are your deepest vulnerabilities?

the enneagram and faith

Among the many things that made it difficult for me to see a therapist was the question, “Why this?”

I had been through many difficult experiences in my life. I didn’t understand why this particular circumstance was the one pushing me over the edge. Though I knew I was off, and felt I needed help, the things I was struggling with seemed like things I should have been strong enough to handle on my own. 

My therapist answered the question for me in our second session.

I told her the story about something that happened at work. Though I talked about it with fairly little emotion, the reality is it was making me want to shrink into a corner of my house and never walk out the door again. She heard beneath my voice to my heart, and spoke the truth, “Wow, that's hitting on every one of your deepest fears, isn't it?”

We all have fears. But some are so deep, we like to bury them beneath the others, with a few distractions piled on top for good measure. Vulnerabilities we try to avoid because they are the most difficult for us to handle. 

Now, here mine were, being dug up. Publicly. Of course I needed voices of reason and empathy to help me sort through what had been unearthed.

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One of the most challenging questions enneagram asks us to face is, “What are your deepest vulnerabilities?”

The answer to that question is crucial to our spiritual growth. It deeply impacts our ability to extend empathy and love. When we dig out our vulnerabilities, we also unearth our ability to extend grace.

I am shuffling my body as I write this. My anxious energy is pushing its way through my toes and my fingers, trying to get me to avoid what I know needs to come next. It is always easiest to write about my type as an example. Which means I need to share that thing I try to keep buried. 

As a type 2, my deepest vulnerability is a fear of rejection. Do you like me? Will you like me? What can I do so you will like me? These questions circle inside me all. the. time. Usually, I either avoid them or bury them. Or perhaps most often, try to make myself feel better by answering them in the shallowest possible way. (Hello Facebook!) 

When friends doesn’t have time to get together, I fight with the fear of what that means about the value our friendship plays in their lives. After getting together with a new friend, I fight with the fear of whether I said or did things that would keep that person from wanting to see me again.

Because of this vulnerability about rejection, there are things I feel like I should be able to handle that crush me. But there are other places where someone else might get crushed, but I can handle it. I’ve been told I’m good at receiving criticism, which is the vulnerability that can devastate a type 1. I am prone to disregarding my own needs for the sake of helping others, so the fear of being neglected that a type 9 struggles with feels foreign to me. A type 5 fears looking foolish, but I’ve fallen down that stairs enough in my life to have gotten over that one years ago.

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We all have our junk. We are vulnerable when it comes to some things and strong when it comes to others.

It does me no good to compare, and wonder why that person over there is so much stronger than me. We cannot just “get over” our struggles, nor can someone else just “get over” theirs. Comparing is another way to avoid what needs to be done.

We need to do the hard work of admitting and facing our vulnerabilities. 

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. - Brené Brown

For me, this means putting practices in my life that remind me of my belovedness. When I know that at my core I am not rejected, but loved, it helps me face the relationships in my life with less manipulation and fear. Other people may be able to read one book about God’s love and feel like it’s covered. I read books like Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen and Surrender to Love by David Benner on repeat. I return to the book of Psalms and the Gospel of John over and over again. I put quotes from John O’Donohue on my email and in Evernote so I can return to them whenever I need them. I wrap up in the prayer shawl someone knit for me and feel held by unconditional affection.

Lately, thanks to the enneagram, I have been more conscious of facing the rejection questions head-on with love and grace. I’ve noticed they’re getting a little softer. I might even be able to press publish without fearing how I came across in my self-disclosure and whether you will read me again. Maybe. 

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Do you know what your deepest vulnerabilities are? How might you be able to face your them today? 

Want help figuring out your enneagram type and finding the answers to those questions? Remember to check out my enneagram coaching page for details of how I could be a voice of reason and empathy for what is getting unearthed in your life. 

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