The news was good from my recent routine doctor’s visit. Keep doing what you’re doing, the doctor told me as she noted that I also had lost five pounds since my last annual check-up.

But an hour or so later, my mind switched from my physical well-being to my spiritual care. While taking a short walk after leaving my doctor’s appointment and pondering what I would write, my thoughts flowed to a question that was asked at house meetings my church used to hold on fourth Sundays.

“How is your soul?” was the query that took center stage at these meetings held in the homes of three families, including mine.

It was a time for those of us who attended to step back from the busyness of daily living and to take a look at our spiritual selves. The soul check-ups gave us a chance to release some of the strains that were weighing on us and to allow others to nonjudgmentally share the burden.

It was a time to rejoice when members reported that things were well with their souls and that they had a peace about what God was doing in their lives at that time. It was a time for us to pray together for our concerns, triumphs and dreams.

The question made us accountable to each other for how we were living out our Christian faith individually and in community. Thinking about our souls every month was also a “good marker,” as my pastor described it, for how we were doing spiritually from month to month so that we could note the changes or lack of them.

Too often we don’t stop to think, meditate or talk about how our souls – the very essence of our spiritual selves – are doing.

The more I thought about those Sunday afternoons when a few of us gathered in my living room, the more I missed those rich discussions that brought me closer to God and to members of my church family.

“How is your soul?” is a transforming question. It focuses us on the spiritual part of ourselves that often gets overshadowed by our physical needs, emotional feelings and too-full lives.

I’ve always tried to keep my body in good, working order and except for a few pains in my knees every now and then, it is. (I must say that our Melt the Middle health challenge last year with my friend and fellow blogger, Mae, helped keep me focused on eating wisely and exercising regularly.)

Even when I strayed from my healthy lifestyle regimen by eating too many sweets or not walking enough, which happened more times than I care to mention, I never lost sight of my goal to honor this temple the Lord blessed me with.

So it is with the care of my soul. Even without the monthly check-ups, I remain cognizant of the need to nourish my soul daily and to rest it as often as possible. Our souls, our spirits as some call them, are only as vibrant and as whole as the attention we give them.

How do we nourish our souls? Here are some ways that I have practiced:

·  Praying – not just talking to God about my problems but also by listening to Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

·  Reading and meditating on the Scriptures. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

·  Seeking God’s face regularly. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

·  Seeking and giving forgiveness when necessary. (Ephesians 4:32)

·  Recognizing that God desires the best for me and living my life accordingly. (Matthew 7:7-11)

·  Fellowshipping often with other believers who will hold me accountable for growing in faith. ( Hebrews 10:24)

We rest our souls by, among other things:

·  Stopping our striving and being still. It’s the way to know God. (Psalm 46:10)

·  Seeking peace and pursuing it. (Psalm 34:14)

·  Trusting in God for everything. (Isaiah 26:3)

Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb is president of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. She blogs at Soul Rhythms, where this column first appeared.

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