I am SO excited. Beyond excited. Ecstatic and grateful and can-hardly-wait, “Thank You, Jesus” kind of excited. Why, you ask? Ooo, so glad you asked. Because I am just jumping up and down, waiting to tell you. 😉
This weekend, yes, this very weekend, I am going on a personal retreat.
I'm going to a cabin in the mountains. Not a rustic one, either. A nice one. 🙂 And I'm going to have a spa for my soul.
You see, my soul is tired.
I love my life. I really do. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I haven't lost my enthusiasm or my gumption or joie de vivre. All of those things are still intact, and I'm doing better than ever.
But the introvert in me craves away, and peace, and staring into the face of Jesus for an extended period of time. And I need green trees and dense leaves and forest and quiet.
I need to stare at the trees and study my Bible and lie down on my face and pray. I need to let Jesus soak into me and pour His living water into the deepest places of my being–the places I don't even know are there. And yes, while I am doing all that staring, there may be drool. I make no guarantees. 😉
Have you ever felt like that? Can anybody else identify? Please say yes, 'cause surely I'm not the only one.
And Jesus said to come to Him when we're weary and heavy laden (Matthew 11:28), and He will give us rest.
So I'm going on a soul spa.
I've been reading a book about this from a friend of mine, Sharla Fritz. She wrote a book called “Soul Spa” with Concordia Publishing House (Amazon affiliate link), and it just released. (YAYYYYY, Sharla!!!! That's such a huge accomplishment.)
I was so inspired when I read Soul Spa. I was literally in tears. It's all about getting close to Jesus in different, practical, creative ways, so your soul and spirit can be refreshed. It's about taking short bytes out of your day just to care for your soul.
I loved it. Not kidding; I was seriously in tears when I read this book.
(If you're feelin' it so far in this post, you might really enjoy this book too. Just sayin'. Along with a new jar of bath salts, some lotion, and some chocolate. Did I mention chocolate? All of which Sharla talks about in her book, which you can get a copy of on Amazon.) 😉
So I asked Sharla some questions and got her take on the whole soul spa thing. (After all, writing a book makes you an automatic expert, right? No pressure, Sharla.) 😉
(And the “Soul Spa” term is hers, not mine, but it's perfect for what I'm going to do, don't you think?)
So anyway, here's what she sent me about her own personal experience needing and doing a soul spa, and what inspired her book:
Q: Sharla, what happened in your life that inspired you to write Soul Spa?
Sharla's answer: “Just like you and many other women, I’m a woman who wears many hats. In my crazy busy life, I felt pulled apart every week. My spirit was tired and worn. I knew my soul needed the care only the Savior could provide, yet I continued sprinting through my days, not paying any attention to my soul’s cry for help.
Finally, after years of ignoring my spirit’s need for rest and restoration, I decided to change. I began to learn how to bring my exhausted, fatigued, and shattered soul to the God who alone can restore it.
I studied holy habits that Christians have used for centuries to draw close to the Savior. As I explored these practices, I found that they opened my heart to God’s working in my life. They gave Him the time and space for Him to restore my soul. All of these experiences led me to write Soul Spa–a book that is like a spa for the spirit.”
Q: You talk about spiritual disciplines in the book, and your stories were gorgeous. But can you explain for us a little bit about what exactly are spiritual disciplines?
And Sharla said: “Spiritual disciplines are centuries-old practices that have been used by Christians who want to grow in their relationship to God. Some of them are probably familiar to many followers of Jesus, like:
- Bible study;
- Prayer; and
- Scripture meditation.
Others are well-known, but maybe not always considered a means to grow closer to God, like:
- Authenticity; and
Some of the practices in the book may be new to the reader: Examen and Rule of Life for instance.
The purpose of all the Spiritual disciplines is to open up uninterrupted time and quiet space to receive God’s gifts as He speaks to you through His Word. They are not magic in themselves, but they can be a way to open ourselves to God’s invitation to a profound and multifaceted connection to Him.”
And that, my friends, is exactly what I need. Silence and peace and prayer and meditation and staring at the trees.
The hot tub at the cabin won't hurt, either. 😉 Heeheehee
So anyway. Off I go. Four days and counting, and I will be in the woods spa-ing.
Could I ask you a favor? Would you pray for me?
I'd really appreciate it. And since many of you all have been telling me that you're also tired, worn out, weary, and ready to stare into space and drool awhile…
I'm going to talk with you about rest on this blog this week. It's going to be a week of rest for the weary.
Rest for our souls. Rest in Jesus. Soul spas that only He can provide.
So stay tuned. And in the meantime, I'd encourage you to pray for yourself also:
- Ask God if He wants you to take some time away–even 20 minutes a day in your own tub at home–for some soul spa time.
- And ask Him to show you how to do that.
- Ask Him to help you value yourself and love yourself enough to take care of yourself, and your soul, too. (Because I know many of you take care of everybody else, but you let yourself take the back seat to other priorities. And we've got to fix that, dear ones. I do it too. But we've got to change. We'll talk about why this week.) 🙂
We'll talk more about it this week, but you can always start praying now. 🙂
By the way: My friend Sharla has created a FREE Soul Spa Kit for readers who want more creative ideas for spending time with God. I HIGHLY recommend that you grab her kit.
This kit has 59 ideas for creating your own spiritual retreat. It gives you the who, what, where, when, and how of soul care. There ideas for Scripture meditation, times of confession, and joyous praise. She has included a Soul Spa Planner to help you craft your own spiritual retreat. All you have to do is go to her website, SharlaFritz.com to sign up for her monthly newsletter and you will receive this free resource in your inbox!
Are you tired too? Am I the only one, or do you need a soul spa? If so, please leave a comment below!
The link above is my Amazon affiliate link. This means that, if you purchase a resource on Amazon using my link, Amazon will pay me a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you in advance for helping me pay for that hot tub at the cabin. 😉 And if you love to read legalese, you'll enjoy reading my disclosure policy here.