Recently, we read a study on stress statistics published by the American Psychological Association back in 2014. The numbers from even five years ago are sobering.
77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress.
73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.
48% feel their stress has increased over the past five years.
And 48% reported lying awake at night due to stress.
My guess is that things haven’t gotten better in these last five years. Suicide ideation and attempt is on the rise, especially among college students.
Why am I sharing these depressing stats with you in this email that we always describe as: “inspiration in the middle of the week, right when you need it?”
Because intentional soul care is not about floating around on a puffy cloud in a meditative state. And it’s more than “growing spiritually.”
Intentional soul care is necessary for the health of the whole person. For your entire self.
According to Dallas Willard, “The soul encompasses and organizes the whole person, interrelating all the other dimensions of the self so that they form one person functioning in a flow of life.”
Intentional soul care, therefore, is central to our being, which makes it central to our doing.
This is why the word “unhurried” is so important to us. It is not about doing less or moving slower. It is about the inner pace of our lives. That place where stress wants to move in and take root. We are sharing the great news that you don’t have to be a slave to anxiety, stress and overwhelm. You have a choice, and there is actually a way to live an unhurried life while thriving in your relationships and work.
If you listen to our podcast you hear the same six words every single time: rest deeper, live fuller, lead better. Intentional soul care is the dynamic between rest deeper and live fuller. I encourage you to listen to Episode 95, where we unpack the idea of intentional soul care more fully.
But, for now, I’d love to share with you a bit of Amy’s story. She works in the corporate world and is learning to try on an unhurried way of life. Here’s what she has to say:
“Recently, I was starting to emerge from a very dark period of my life, when God seemed very far away. I was angry and bitter about the losses I had experienced, and resistant to relationships in general. Enrolling in An Unhurried Collective seemed like a definite risk on my part -- putting myself and my baggage out there with people I didn't know. But God met me in the dark time, in my deepest hurt, and he brought people into my life that would help me heal and grow. Through An Unhurried Collective I am learning what it means to slow down -- to stop, linger, observe, and wonder; what replenishing myself and restoring my soul looks like -- to rest and abide in God. This experience will bring lasting relationships, and from my perspective, peace.” (Amy, Corporate Communications Manager, Current participant in An Unhurried Collective)
Doesn’t it sound like she is experiencing the fruits of resting deeper, resulting in a fuller life? But notice that resting deeper isn’t just a walk through a daisy field. Yes, she is learning to spend time alone with God and to discern God’s voice in her life in new ways. AND she is bringing what she calls “her baggage” into the light with God and some new trusted friends.
Soul care isn’t always easy. But even the hard parts are worth it in the long run because you can become more free, more whole and more healed. Soul care can look like walking with others in a safe community who will listen and not fix, who will hold and not judge. And you’d better believe this will lead to a fuller life.