It took me a while to notice, too long to save one life, but just in time to rescue the others. The lives of my houseplants!

On closer inspection of the small curled up leaves the other day, I discovered that most of my pots were literally bone dry. I’m not usually so neglectful of my green friends, but I realized that in this last spell of cold weather we had the heating on so much, that the heat was drying them out and withering them. I remembered my mother’s example in resuscitating plants and so filled the sink with a few inches of water and sat them there to soak. I had to keep topping up the water as the parched plants guzzled it up, and before long the transformation from shrivelled to flourishing was amazing. All they needed was a good soak.

This wee story reminds me today how Lockdown has affected us in many ways that can have a knock-on effect on our relationship and walk with God. We can so easily go by our feelings and neglect to read the Bible, pray, check into online church, etc. Feeling each day like Groundhog Day, pressures from endless cooking, home schooling, trying to work from home, and juggle a spouse working from home can leave us feeling overwhelmed and running ragged. We can be dry and not know it.

When these feelings go unchecked and we don’t get balance, we can gradually form unhealthy habits that aren’t good for us. We all know, we need to be in contact with God daily to keep our souls healthy, but when we are so dry from giving out to everyone else’s needs, our own needs can go unmet.

Perhaps our feelings are all over the place, we struggle to find a quiet space in the house, we’ve replaced daily readings with numbing box sets, we crash into bed at night too tired to read and we justify to ourselves we don’t need to tune into online services as we ‘know’ it all anyway. Before long we find ourselves like my dried up plants - weary and emotionally burnt out. We can feel sad and apathetic, not knowing the joy of the Lord which can then catapult us into in a cycle of guilt and shame, with a good dose of disappointment- all looping on repeat.

There is a solution within our grasp today, perhaps much easier, and effortless than you think.

All that’s needed is a good soak. Just like sitting in a sink of water, standing in heavy rain, relaxing in a full bath, a good soak leads to rejuvenation. Soaking in God restores our hearts, souls, perspectives, relationship, hunger for worship, living to seek first the kingdom, etc.

Why not carve out some time in your day? Even for 15 mins, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door of your room, remove distractions – switch of phone etc and just sit somewhere comfy and ‘be’ with God. Invite Holy Spirit to come and stoke the embers of your heart, fuelling a fresh love and passion for Jesus.

Here’s some simple tips for Soaking in God to replenish your soul:-

1-Read the Bible, be still and empty your mind of everything but focussing on God, lay your heart before Him as you read slowly.

2-If you’re finding it hard to pray, start praying out loud what you are thankful for and go from there. The Lord is literally a prayer away and will meet you where you are.

3-Another way to pray is by praying the psalms, or repeating a  verse until you feel connection. eg. – O God come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me. Psalm 70v.1

4-Play some worship music and instead of just listening, sing along quietly and imagine yourself standing before the Lord as you do.

5-Don’t be afraid of quietness. Listen to God. Invite him to speak to you and make you aware of His presence. I’ve been amazed at times to find old hymns or parts of the Bible I memorized in Sunday school bubble up from the depths to surprise and delight me.

6-Repeat the soaking process on a regular basis. Discipline becomes desire, and before you know it, a daily soaking time with God will become such a joy and part of your daily rhythm of life.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42v1-2)

Donna MacNeil

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