9 Signs of an Undernourished Soul

Do you feel drained? Irritated? Restless? Do you feel as though you are constantly running on empty? Many times we attribute these types of feelings to a need for physical rest, and while that may be true, it is just as likely that our souls are undernourished and need some care, especially if we struggle to maintain healthy balance and boundaries.

John Ortberg, author of Soul Keeping says, "The soul is NOT 'a theological and abstract subject.' The soul is the coolest, eeriest, most mysterious, evocative, crucial, sacred, eternal, life-directing, fragile, indestructible, controversial, expensive dimension of your existence. Jesus said it’s worth more than the world.". Yes, EXPENSIVE dimension...think about that...

Most of us rarely think about how the state of our soul affects our overall health and well being. But neglecting your soul has implications that run deep. It can wreak havoc on our relationships, actions, attitudes, energy levels and perspective.

It is important to recognize when your soul is running on empty. Here are 9 signs of an undernourished soul:

*Anger
*Bitterness, resentment
*Restless: No purpose, wasting your time
*Discontentment
*Loss of passion, drive
*Joy-less
*Critical spirit
*Downcast, defeated
*Worry, anxiety

If some of these things are manifesting themselves in your life, it is important to pay attention! While these feelings and attitudes are not pleasant, God uses them to reveal to us what lies beneath the surface.

So, what do you do if you find your soul is undernourished? While our individual needs are different, you may find some of the following suggestions helpful to fill your soul and give you life.

Sabbath Time: Rest, contemplate, delight in God. Enjoy activities that give you life. Take a walk. Visit a museum. Do some window shopping. Watch some baseball. Read a good book. Trust that God will care for the world and you if you stop.

Time with God: Many times our souls are running on empty because we are not spending quality time with God. Or you may be spending quality time at the beginning or end of your day, but live the other hours without giving Him much thought. When we prioritize time with Him and stay connected throughout the day, we live and lead out of a place of unconditional love and fullness of the Spirit.

Care for self: Our souls are drained quickly as we care for everyone and everything around us...except for ourselves! You are precious and worthy of great care! Get the rest you need. Take care of your body. Eat the food that will fuel you. Take a break if you need it. Be willing to say "no" so you don't spread yourself thin. Then you will be able to do the most important things really well and you'll still have more than enough in your tank!

Enjoy creation: Our lives are connected to the creation around us. The landscape is dotted with the glory and majesty of God...if we'd only take a moment and see. Watch a sunset. Listen to the birds sing. See the lightning dance across the sky and hear the thunder roar. Put your feet in the grass. Smell the flowers. Feel the water. Connect with the world around you!

Cultivate relationships: We were created for meaningful relationships. It is important to be with people who truly know you. Make time for the ones most important to you. Laugh...cry...play!

Take Time for a hobby: Something has happened in our culture where we see hobbies as a waste of time. In the name of bleeding some type of productivity out of every inch of our existence, we do not spend time doing the things we enjoy. And if we do, we tend to walk away with feelings of guilt. This is a recipe for an undernourished soul! So...paint, do some woodworking, play some music, ride a bike...whatever gives you joy. Give yourself permission to do an activity for pleasure.

Soul care requires time, intentionality and attentiveness to our interior life. You may feel bad about caring for your soul but if you don't do it, who will? Jesus said our souls are worth more than the world. And if that's the value of our souls to Him, we should care for them well.

"And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Matthew 16:26 NLT

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