There is a lot of talk these days about self-care.  I don’t think most of us do enough “self-care”and I truly believe that if we take care of ourselves we are better able to care for others.  But to me, self-care isn’t enough. I want more than that.  I prefer to think about the things we can do that refresh our soul.

For example – getting a pedicure is all about self-care but it doesn’t refresh my soul.  But getting a pedicure while reading my favorite book or sitting with one of my favorite people – that refreshes my soul.

There are situations/people/activities that can either refresh or drain us.  For example – an introvert may enjoy being with a group of people, but afterwards might feel drained.  But for an extrovert like me, when I am with a group of people it refreshes my soul.  (It is not missed on me that when introverts cry for alone time they are actually needing a little break from people like me!  Heheheh!)  I actually understand that.  In my older years I have found the need for some quiet time in order to be refreshed.

What are the things that refresh or drain your soul?  It’s interesting to think about.

Different people/activities/situations can have an enormous impact on our souls – one way or the other.  Life has a way of draining us and it’s important to find a way to be refreshed so that we do not live in a weary or discouraged state.

I asked a number of my friends the question –

Take a look at that picture – can’t you just feel it?

Here are some of the things they shared with me –

– I like to go to the movie theater and watch a movie alllll by myself.

– Painting.

– I love to cook, so every night my husband takes over with the kids (4 year old boy with younger twin sisters) so I can enjoy the process of making dinner.  I don’t find refreshment in the clean up, so after dinner he cleans up the dishes while I get the kids ready for bed.  

– Sit me outside with a great book and I am livin’ the life!

– Being in my 50’s I never would have imagined saying this, but we joined a gym and I find pure refreshment from working out and getting all sweaty.  I walk out the door feeling like a new person.

– I find refreshment being with my close friends and talking about the deeper things of life.

– Spending time with my mom.

– I love walking outside.  I love the quiet and I enjoy the beauty around me and the feeling of fresh air on my face.  

– Extended time with my husband.  

– (from a young mom) – REST. Rest and exercise refresh me.

– (from an older mom) – I love being with my adult kids and their spouses.  I also love spending time with my grandkids who touch my soul and make me laugh right out loud. 

– What refreshes me is seeing God’s presence in the world.  It can be a kindness of another human being, the sunrise, that first blooming flower in the spring, water lapping at the water’s edge, sunlight filtering through the forest leaves, or a sermon that makes me think in a new way. Being kissed by my husband or hugged by a child…these are the things that refresh me.

– My quiet time with the Lord refreshes me.  Also, listening to Christian podcasts that very often seem to be designed exactly for me – these things maintain my soul.  I also love to sing in the car at the top of my lungs to worship music. It helps me to praise Him.

– I love sitting in church on Sunday morning among fellow believers.  I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence and the message reaches into my soul in a very real way. I leave each week feeling refreshed.

My friend Maggie recently invited me to her lovely home (corner unit with dramatic ocean views, to be exact) in Siesta Key, Florida.  She hoped to give me some soul refreshment after having just completed my treatments for cancer.  Oh my gosh…talk about refreshment.  It was wonderful.

We walked the beach, ate at fun beachy restaurants, listened to a sermon podcast and wrestled over scripture.  We enjoyed long mornings in our jammies over many cups of coffee and we gazed in awe at the sheer beauty of the sunset over the ocean.

But it wasn’t just those things that refreshed my soul.  It was being with a friend like Maggie.  Maggie is the kind of friend who will travel with me to the deepest part of the soul and I am still carrying many “nuggets” from our time together.  They are nuggets of faith, inspiring stories of women who journey well, thoughts about family and marriage, and thoughts about growing older.

When I left Siesta Key…I left refreshed.

Wait!  I don’t want to leave Siesta quite yet.  I want to back all the way up to my first day.  Before we began our time together Maggie asked me a few questions.  She first asked me if I preferred to eat in  or eat out.  (I’m telling you, this friend of mine aims to refresh.) Cooking does not refresh my soul and Maggie didn’t seem to mind so we decided to eat two light meals at the condo and one meal out. So far so good…

She asked me if I minded if she kept her schedule and played in her weekly tennis group.  Hmmmmm…let me see…and leave me sitting on the balcony overlooking the ocean with my coffee and my devotionals ?  Uhh…well…I suppose I wouldn’t mind that…!!!

She then asked me if I liked shopping and unlike most women – I don’t like to shop.  Maggie said that she isn’t much of a shopper either so we agreed that we wouldn’t spend any time doing that.  I mean…why would I waste one minute shopping when I have the rare opportunity to enjoy a real live ocean?

However…sometimes refreshment comes in surprise packages. (Literally)  One day as we were walking in the little village of Siesta Key, we found ourselves drawn into some stores and ended up coming out with bags of goodies hanging from most of our fingers.

We were in no rush, we had no kids to rush home for, and we got caught up in the moment with no regard for time.  It was delightful.

I don’t know if shopping is going to become a new soul refresher for me or if maybe it was just that fact that I was shopping in Siesta Key that day.

But I DO know that that it had a lot to do with just being with Maggie.

Thank you, my friend…it was wonderful.

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul…”

*** I would love to hear some of the things that refresh YOUR soul.  Please feel free to share your thoughts!


Until next time,