Summers can be lonnnnnng and exhausting.
But so much fun, right?
You find yourself caring for your youth group and for their parents. There are more hours when kids aren’t in school, more hours for them to be with you. You’ve been to camp, you’re still on the cusp of a mission trip that cost you thousands of dollars in cupcakes and car washes. You feel like you’re one medical release form away from needing a lawyer and nothing outside of your t-shirt wardrobe has seen any love since mid-May. It’s safe to say, youth ministry owns you at the moment.
But you don’t mind.
Because you know that the quality and quantity of time you spend with teenagers helps them grow authentic faith. It helps them make connections and build relationships that will support them as they are unfolding into adults. You realize your role, as pastor, leader, coach and friend. So, it’s worth it to you.
I wonder, during this time: Who cares for you? Who is giving you permission to rest and recover? Who is leading you to think about your value in God’s eyes and how that effects everything else in your life?
If we are not spending time caring for our souls, we won’t have what it takes to teach a student to care for their own.
During this really busy time, it’s easy to forget that your soul care lands at the top of your priority list. It should be your first thing, not your last thing. It should be the one thing that brings you life when you’re busy sharing so much of your life.
My summer is packed with youth events and trips. I’ll be traveling with our interns and we’ll be speaking to youth and praying for them as they think about the difference their lives can make when they begin to discover their significance in Christ. We know that the proximity between us (literally traveling together, living together, working together) can keep us from taking care of us. So, we make it a priority for soul care to be our first care.
What things are you doing to take care of you this summer?
What are you reading?
How are you finding solitude?
Is there a way for you to get a break to sit in God’s presence and to be reminded of your “why”?
We’ve picked a few books to read together this summer and Sophie, our Candler intern, created a soul care sheet to help us all identify our daily, weekly and monthly soul care hopes—both during our times alone, and during our times together.
Or, you can spend some time writing things down in your journal or sharing them with an accountability partner.
• Name what your spiritual needs are in a list
• Write down one way to meet each need
• Ask yourself who can help you meet that need or if you need a specific environment to do it
• Think what will you do daily, weekly and monthly?
• What will you try to accomplish alone?
• What will you try to accomplish together in community?
God is choosing you now and now and now and now. Let God love you now.
Make a commitment to take care of your soul this summer, you are worth it! Here are a couple of things to ponder as you pray about what your soul care will look like.
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
― Richard Rohr
Be still, and know that I am God.
Be still, and know that I am
Be still, and know that
Be still, and know
Be still, and
Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband, Coy, and daughters, Kirra and Mya, live in Lakeland, Fla., where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove