Maybe the One Simple Plan You Need This New Year

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Dear Jesus-follower,

Whatever plans or goals you’ve set into place for this new year, I want to encourage you in this one thing. There is something that I hope you’ll move on up to the front on that list of “important things to do”, if you haven’t already.

And that is this—take time to care for your soul.

Now, I’m not a psychologist. Or a philosopher. Or a theologian. Or a preacher even. So, I can’t dissect it down and tell you precisely what your soul is. Or even the difference between your soul and your heart.

But, from what I’ve gathered from God’s Word, I believe the soul is the deepest most vital part of our human self. Perhaps it’s the part that integrates our heart and our mind, our will and emotions and our body all together. Our heart and soul sort of go hand-in-hand so I’m gonna use them interchangeably here, if that’s okay. Just know that I’m talking about the person that you are there on your insides.

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Carve out some time to tend to your heart and don’t feel guilty about it.

Now, your body is important, yes, and you should manage it well, and take good care of it because you’ve only got one of those to last you here on the earth, but inside that house of skin, you’ve got something that will last forever. And if that most important part of you, the part that makes you who you really are , is going to thrive and do well, then you’ve got to pay attention to it. You’ve got to do some nurturing there to your insides.

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So, how does a person go about a new year taking care of their soul?

Well, firstly you’ll have to slow down a little bit. You’ll need to shut off the screens a little more often and put down the to-do list and just decide here and now that your soul is your important thing.

Our Maker teaches us to watch over our hearts with all diligence, because out of our heart flows all the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23) So, God lets us in on how important our insides actually are. We live out of our hearts. What we believe and think and feel there in our heart, affects absolutely everything else in our lives. So, God, He makes us the keeper of our own heart. We’ve got some responsibility before Him. If we don’t tend to it, who will?

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Jesus teaches us how to tend to our hearts. He says we need some soul-nourishment. Just like our bodies need food for fuel so we can keep living and moving, our souls need food, too, in order to thrive. And what is our soul-food? It’s God’s Words. “Man doesn’t live by bread alone,” Jesus taught, “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

So, we’ve got our Bible and we open it as if we’ve been invited to some kind of feast. Some days it feels like we’re just choking down dry toast, yes, I know, but still, there is nourishment there for us.

So, we slow down a little and take time to swallow down God’s Words. We come curious. We come needy. We come hungry. Most importantly, we just come. Not to gather up a bunch of information to fill up our heads. The Pharisees knew everything there was to know, but they didn’t care a hill of beans about their hearts.

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We ask the Holy Spirit to meet with us there on the page and show us what the Father God is actually like. Who He really is. And then we taste Him. And we find Him good. (1 Peter 2:3) This is our soul-food.

We tend to our souls by getting some soul rest. Simply lean into Jesus. Abide in Him. There’s no need to strive. You don’t have to climb any ladders of achievement this year. You don’t have to perform today. Or muster up some “good enough.”

Because Jesus, well, He already loves you. The real you. Every bit of you. And He’s kind enough to meet you there where you are. He knew you couldn’t work hard enough or be good enough to make it all the way up to Him. So, He stooped down and came to you. Messy, confused, anxious, perturbed, but hope-filled you.

Our souls find rest when we come to Him. And trust in Him.

Now, it’s only easy to trust Jesus when we’re close enough to actually know Him. So, this year, the one thing you’ve got to do, the one important thing is simply to know Jesus. Tend to your heart by constantly bringing your heart over to Him.

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Scoot up close to Him. When you screw up (because you’ll probably do that, at least, if you’re like me, you’ll screw up a couple dozen times a day) don’t waste one minute dashing off the other way. Or standing in the corner doing some sort of penitence. Just run right back to Him. That’s what prayer is for. It’s our means to a continual relationship with God.

He’s far kinder than you had imagined Him to be.

He’ll give you peace. And He’ll walk through this whole long new year with you and it’ll be good. You just need to give yourself permission—right now, go ahead and decide it. This year, you’re gonna take care of that heart of yours. You’re gonna be the keeper of your soul.

 

 

 

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