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Taking care of your soul

| by Kim Niles

In the digital age we live in, we have a continuous flow of news, information and advice. Most of our lives could be described as “go, go, go!” We live in a microwave society where everybody wants everything instantly.

Does this describe you? Upon waking for daily time with the Lord, you check your email and update your ministry-related social media accounts, then hurriedly get ready for the day. Your day is packed with appointments, phone calls, meetings and activities. Once evening comes, there is family time, dinner, chores and errands. Many times, work follows you home.

The past few months, God has instructed my heart to slow down. To breathe. To delight in Him. He’s asked me to rearrange my life where needed. Through this changing season, I’m reminded to make spiritual growth and soul care top priorities. 

I discovered how amazing it is to prioritize my spiritual growth and soul care. A 30-minute walk outside with God, first thing in the morning, can help me focus and seek to include Him in every moment of my day. Through this simple step, He rejuvenates my soul.

When I don’t make spiritual growth and soul care a priority, it results in some chaotic consequences.

It’s way too easy to allow priorities to become jumbled and think, I’ll just make one more phone call or respond to one more email; I’m sure I can squeeze in that meeting, today; I’ll have more time for Bible study tonight; In an hour I’ll be finished with this and can make time for my spouse and/or children. Before we realize, the day has completely passed. 

Considering most of our daily dealings are ministry related, if we aren’t careful, we may neglect our own (and our family’s) spiritual growth, soul care and overall well-being.

The more we understand the importance and wisdom of spiritual growth and taking excellent care of our soul, the more we will see the importance of implementation. 

Consider these statistics*

  • 33 percent of pastors felt burned out within their first five years of ministry
  • 90 percent of pastors work more than 50 hours a week, 54 percent work over 55 hours a week, and 18 percent work more than 70 hours a week
  • 84 percent say they’re on-call 24 hours/day
  • 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle
  • More than 50 percent felt overworked 
  • 43 percent felt overstressed
  • 28 percent felt spiritually undernourished 
  • 34 percent of pastors battle discouragement on a regular basis
  • 35 percent of pastors battle depression or fear of inadequacy

It is vital for pastors and those in ministry to pursue spiritual growth and exceptional soul care as top priorities!

How do we slow down, regroup and overhaul our priorities? How do we put spiritual growth and taking care of our soul foremost?

It sounds basic, but we start by putting the most important things first. 

We seek God’s heart and nurture our spiritual growth (and our family’s) first. We ask Him to give us His wisdom and discernment as we intentionally plan out our week. If we don’t seek God’s heart and allow Him to fill us first, we won’t be nearly as effective or have our best to give to others.

As we develop a deep friendship with God, we ask Him to fill our soul with needed refreshment. 

Then, we guide our family (and if applicable, our staff) into understanding the importance of taking care of their spiritual growth and soul. It’s amazing how many family (and staff) issues can be eliminated by simply making spiritual growth and spiritual care a top priority.

As we pursue spiritual growth, it revitalizes us, strengthens and refreshes our soul, fine-tunes our God-given priorities and we find a better work-life balance. This also leads to more peace. 

Questions as you step into soul care

What are your favorite ways of taking care of your soul?

What priorities and commitments need reallocating or to be fine-tuned?

What time-wasting activities need to be eliminated?

What specific Bible studies interest you? 

Which studies will bring your soul refreshment, peace, and will strengthen and exhilarate your relationship with God?

What areas can you combine to save time without forsaking quality? (Examples: Including your family on nightly walks to discuss spiritual growth; listening to sermons or spiritual teachings while eating dinner and discussing what you learned; listening to the Bible while going to the gym; or have an important meeting at lunchtime, so you can also eat in the process.) 

Ask God to give you the wisdom to know how to best continually grow your spirit and take care of your soul. Allow Him to pour into your soul the spiritual growth and care only He can do.

Make spiritual growth, rejuvenation and soul care your top priorities. It surely will make a great impact on your life and on those in your circle of influence. 

*Statistics frompastoralcareinc.com,churchleadership.organdchristianitytoday.com.

Photo source: istock 


Kim Niles

Kim Niles is the author of Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You and is the co-founder of Grief Bites. She is also a writer and partner for YouVersion, a Community Leader at her church, and an inspirational speaker.



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