by: Rozella Haydée White

How is it with your soul?

When was the last time you stopped, asked yourself this question and listened for the answer?

When was the last time you reflected on the thoughts and feelings that emerged when you intentionally tuned into your soul?*

Our souls have so much to share with us and oftentimes, we are too busy to listen. Your soul can be thought of as your spirit, your gut or your heart center. Its holds the essence of who you are and is one of the most profound teachers in our life. Yet, so many of us go day in and day out with little time or attention paid to soul care.

Even if I’m not asking this question of my soul daily, I can’t help but ask this question during the holiday season. The holidays bring up a lot of feelings and our soul is often a place that can guide us towards clarity and healing. Some experience elation as they think about spending time with family and friends, while others feel anxiety at the thought of attending holiday parties or family gatherings. I am one who has struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder, so the holidays hold both anticipation and anxiety as I struggle to remain present and not be overcome with sadness.

There are as many responses to the holiday season as there are people in the world.

Leaders aren’t immune to the emotional roller coaster that the holidays bring. I believe that leaders experience emotions on a deeper level because they tend to carry their personal feelings and the emotions of those they serve. If you are not attending to your soul health and well-being on “normal” days, holiday wellness might be a challenge.

There are many practices for attending to our souls but I have found one practice to be particularly helpful. It is not difficult nor does it require a lot of time. However, this practice can literally change lives.

Gratitude. Practice gratitude. That’s it.

One way that leaders can pay attention is by slowing down and practicing gratitude; by turning their focus from all that has to be done or has been left undone to the people, experiences, leanings and opportunities that are present in their lives.

When I practice gratitude as a form of soul care, I am more in touch with what I’m feeling and I become aware of all the good in my life and in the lives of those I care for. The holiday season is a perfect time to start a Gratitude Jar, Journal or some other form of daily, intentional practice that invites you to be attentive to your thoughts and feelings.

Another way to practice gratitude this year is to participate in LEAD’s Faith Givers Campaign. We are launching an annual fund campaign that has two goals – to share stories of the people who have passed on faith to us and to raise funds so that LEAD can continue in the work of empowering Christian leaders, transforming faith communities and influencing the world. LEAD is dedicated to forming leaders with deep, bold, consequential faith and we know that this cannot happen apart from uplifting those who have passed on the faith to us. We believe that leaders with bold, deep, consequential faith in Jesus are also leaders who practice soul care and gratitude on a daily basis. Consider joining us in any way that you can and by sharing this with others.

*This Advent Season, LEAD has produced FREE resources to help you slow down and reflect. LEAD also provides a wonderful resource that helps individuals and communities listen deeply and listen well to how God is speaking in your life through Scripture, through your relationships and in your community. Check out our Tune In Process.