For a number of years now I have been reflecting on my previous year and setting intentions for the year to come. In more recent years I have set aside a day to come and see my friend Amanda and go through those reflections in an intentional and structured way.
Because my life matters to me, and I am not of the opinion that life just happens to me. I am of the opinion that I can frame and plan and be intentional about my life.
Yes, sometimes we are blindsided by the unexpected. But I do not want to live my life just coasting along in the mundane, the everyday in and out of routine.
As I parent my children, as I watch them grow, I see their gifts rising up to the surface. One loves music, the other loves art, one writes pages of stories, the other loves to write little notes of love and affirmation. I see these gifts and I nurture them, I find a piano class for one, I provide reams of paper for the other.
I believe that my life deserves this sort of attention. That the gifts that are within me, the things that make me come alive are just as important as the gifts my kids hold within them.
It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘have to’. I ‘have to’ volunteer on the canteen, or join that group at church, simply because I have been asked.
It is lovely to be wanted. It is lovely to be asked. It is lovely to be thought of as responsible, and capable. But responsibility does not feed my soul. Being on umpteen committees does not feed my soul.
What feeds my soul is sitting in a room by myself just writing. And what feeds my soul is very different to what feeds your soul.
Your soul may be fed with decorating your house just perfectly, or by creating beautiful pieces of art, or by connecting people in a meeting room.
See the trouble with responsible and capable is that we can begin to believe the lie that they will feed us. But they won’t.
As Shauna Niequist says in this chapter on legacy, if you ignore your soul long enough there is a cost:
You were made by hand with great love by the God of the universe, and he planted deep inside of you a set of loves and dreams and idiosyncrasies, and you can ignore them as long as you want, but they will at some point start yelling. Worse than that, if you ignore them long enough they will go silent, and that’s the real tragedy.
Sometimes finding out what feeds your soul is an exercise in saying ‘no’. In stopping doing all the things, in order to listen to your soul and understand what it is you really want to do.
We have to ask the question of ourselves. But we often don’t, instead we listen to the voices of our parents, our friends, our colleagues or even our spouses. This is why I am having monthly think days this year. This is why I set aside time to intentionally examine my life with Amanda.
So the book club question for today is:
Are your dreams yelling? Or have they fallen silent? What will it take to hear your soul again?
Just a reminder all the posts are linked here