July 18, 2021
I had a vision. English Lavender – planted all along the border of our new firepit area and along the fence line of the yard. It’s hearty, deer resistant, and adds symmetry. Perfect.
So I bought a car load of plants at the local nursery and went to work.
For a solid three weeks they looked amazing. They were growing well, showed signs of new buds, and were attracting plenty of bees from my hives.
Then we went on vacation.
While we were gone, record highs hit our area in the Pacific Northwest. 111 degrees. Unheard of.
When I came back my plants looked bone dry, brittle, and half dead.
So every night I go outside to water – trying to give them as many hours as possible before the sun robs the moisture. No matter how much I give, they are still not the vibrant plants I had at the beginning. I’ve had to pull many that just couldn’t make a comeback.
The lavender has me thinking.
It is much easier to maintain a healthy plant with daily watering and protection than try to resurrect a dry, brittle one.
This is why it’s important to take care of our souls. Like the plants, we can so easily dry up and wither. Coming back is hard. There might be burnout, consequences, or deep fatigue.
We don’t know exactly when it happens, but day after day we become a little less watered and withered until one day when we realize we are the neglected plant.
On Instagram this week I wrote about my quiet space. I try to sit there when I first start my day, and a few times in between appointments or coaching sessions minus any technology or distractions. Sometimes I read, sometimes I eat a meal, sometimes I pray, read my Bible, and look at the beauty in front of me.
It’s a pause, and it allows my soul to catch up to the quick pace of my life. This is my watering.
You won’t feel like it
There are so many nights I don’t feel like going out to water the lavender. but I’m now seeing the payoff of my discipline. The plants are reviving. Slowly but surely, they are coming back.
Expect the struggle.
There is a reason discipline is a decision – because we have to choose it over our laziness and discomfort.
II once heard a pastor say:
Neglect reading your Bible and after one week you will personally notice. After two weeks your spouse will notice. After three weeks, your family will notice. And after four weeks, everyone will notice.
I’m sure that timeline is not completely accurate, but the point is well taken. Neglect of the spiritual life makes an impact and it gets worse over time. Private decisions have public consequences.
Just this morning I felt the pull of my phone as I got out of bed. I have to tell myself, “Trust what you know you need, rather than what you feel like doing.”
Once I got going in my quiet time with God it was so fulfilling and rich. I didn’t want to stop. There was no comparison – that time filled my soul in a way my phone never could and never will.
Yet I could have easily missed it – missed the word God had for me – which was so specific and tender.
The habit loops in my brain were telling me to pick up my phone. I had to talk back.
Here are some ways to keep a soul well-watered
- Start the day with peace not digital input
- Pray and/or journal
- Stay connected to primary people in your life (family + friendships)
- Date your spouse
- End the day with a book
- Get creative about managing work stress
- Be a clear communicator (clear is kind)
- Hold healthy boundaries
- Make a list of what brings you life and schedule some of those things
- Get involved in a church, bible study, and/or small group
- Fight against the tyranny of the urgent which attempts to hijack your priorities and intentions
- Write your eulogy and let that inform how you want to live now in the present
The state of your soul is the future of your life.