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We often enjoy a family game of boggle…
Sitting around the dining table, our game is an orange disk with a grid of dice that have different letters on. The dice are all shaken around and mixed up, twisted to lock into place and then the timer starts and you have three minutes to make something out of them. The game is on! Who can get the most words?

Sometimes you can just stare blankly at the grid and see nothing….the letters just don’t seem to spell anything at all or their random arrangement doesn’t make any sense. Yet other people are busy jotting down words. Other times the words jump out at you and you scribble them down, trying to keep up with their ‘appearing’.

Life feels a little like the letters of the boggle game at the moment. Everything has been shaken around and jumbled up and making sense of it all is the challenge.

It feels like everywhere I look at the moment life appears to be throwing challenges. The year is winding up and seems to be demanding its count.

I started the year with the word ‘thankful’ and now it’s time to come back there and relook and reflect on the things that have happened this year through that lens. Thankfulness has been a bit of a pillar for me this year. It is like a great reset in a moment. A perspective change. It changes my whole outlook and transforms my heart attitude…when I employ it.

I have roses growing by my front door and I never go looking for the prickles…they are there and sometimes they get me real good! But I never actively seek them out…well maybe I used to when I was a kid, to pick them off and put them on my nose and pretend I was a rhino! But it’s the roses that get my attention. Right now I am loving burying my nose in their scent.  And I’m being intentional about it. I am deliberately stopping as I go to walk past my roses and taking a moment to inhale their beauty. So often we can hurry through life and miss the little things that I believe God puts here to bring us pleasure. So many little “soul tank” fillers like those roses at my front door.

In this time we live in we need to be intentional in feeding not just our bodies and spirits, but our souls as well. There are so many things placing a drain on our souls. It is a little like water through a sieve at the moment.  When the “soul tank” is running close to low, bouncing back is harder. Things that normally are not a problem can be irritating...the emotional buffer is low. We need to recognise the things that drain us. Or maybe it’s the fact that with all the changes we have had in society of late, some of the things that would normally fill our tanks are no longer happening or available. We have to find new fuel stops!

There is a well-known end time story that Jesus told, the parable of the 10 virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come. Some of them were prepared and had oil for their lamps, while others of them, while waiting, ran out of oil and had to duck back to get more, as their peers where not prepared to share. While they were off getting more, the bridegroom came and they missed out on the feast. A sobering tale.

There is almost a ‘selfish’ element to this story. Yes we are all in this together, but when I read the end of the book each one of us is responsible for our own actions. It always reads, “What did YOU do with what I gave you?”  We don’t get to stand before God in a group and say, “Here we are, we did it together.” It’s individual responsibility because God is interested in each one of us. A bit like our family game of boggle. We like to see all the words we get together, but really it’s what each one of us writes down on our own paper that counts. I smile as I think about our games of boggle, ‘cause the “father” has introduced a participation award that he hands out after each game to everyone who participates. Yes, we are a competitive bunch and we all love to have the most words at the end of each round. But we also recognise the strengths of each one of our family, and the celebration is often not in the number of words but what each of us has done with our skill. Some would say it’s not a fair game ‘cause how could our eight year old ever expect to compare with the others in the game. The beauty is, we all get that! All we expect to see is the best from each of us. His five words, though few compared to the fifteen or twenty another might get, are still celebrated by us all, and especially the “father”. Sounds just a little like our heavenly Father! He is interested in each of us.

Keeping it real.
There have been times in the last month or so where the gravity of the changes happening around us have hit me. A part of me wants to pull on the Kiwi “can do” and just suck it up and carry on. To an extent there is a bit of that that needs to happen. I need to keep going, I can’t just “throw in the towel”. There is another part of me, however, that is crying out for authenticity. I need to give myself permission to say “This hurts”, “This is hard”, “I don’t like what is happening”. Being honest about the impact of something on yourself is truly being kind to yourself.

There is enlightening science around now that points to the memory of our cells. Memory is not just in our mind. Acknowledging the effect that something has on me is being kind to my body, true to the way I am created.

I have been pondering the verse in 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way, ‘Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].

I like how the New International Version says it too, ‘Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.’

Is your soul getting along well?
The correlation is there between our soul, spirit and body. We are one. They all impact on each other. We can’t ignore one aspect of our make-up and expect to thrive. 

Another good verse to meditate on is, “A merry heart does good like a medicine”, the rest of the verse says, “but a broken spirit dries the bones.”  I know what I want to be like.

So with that all said, here’s some practical things I have been thinking on, and working on, to help me keep my soul in the best shape moving forward.

• What things can I do to refuel my soul?
• What things are currently draining me? eg Can I minimise them, remove them altogether, or if not, what can I do to counteract their effect?
• What is there that I need to stop and put in order?
• Who do I need to share with about what is going on for me? I’ve learnt that talking with the right people can be really beneficial. Over sharing not so!

Taking time for me and my soul is looking after what God has given me. I come back to that key of thankfulness, my perspective shifter. Acknowledging what is going on, I give it to God and look for things I can be grateful for, even in the midst of it all. Those little moments of wonder are filling up my tank. I think now I’m ready for another game of boggle! 


BOG – Don’t be bogged down with the world’s muck.

LOG – Let’s not look at the speck in our neighbour’s eye and miss the logs in our own.

LOB – Know what to toss.

GOB – Guard what comes out of your mouth, it frames your world!

GLOB – It is what it is.

GLO – Let your light shine, the world sure needs it!