still + grateful, a bath’s role in soul tending

Even with a loving partner to draw my bath (including cleaning it out before hand), pouring me a bit of red wine and lighting the candles, I was wrestling with stress.

Or rather, WHY I was wrestling with it…

He’d made it clear before hand that it was something he wanted to do and all I needed to do was receive. But, it’s harder than it might seem.

Soul Tending Challenge - Bath
simple, but powerful – 40 minutes in a bath was just what my soul needed

When you’ve had less than or no thing like it before, you can begin to believe that your circumstances are who you are. And when you get in a tub and finally get both hands wet (which I delay every time) you have to sit and think about what that might mean.

Who am I?

Like really, for real. When I’m not putting on my mask, performing, striving, sharing glimpses of my life on social media, when I’m hurting, grieving, disillusioned, disappointed, angry, truly happy…

Because everything we believe about ourselves, our identity, can be seen in what and who we’ve surrounded ourselves with.

Let me explain…

I’ve been a hard worker – for other people – my entire life. If there were people in charge, people to report to, they would get my best. The things I promised to myself, wanted for myself, believed for myself would often get pushed down or off of the list. This has been hard to admit, but it’s true. Rather than claiming myself as a quitter, I’ve learned instead that I’m more likely to quit on myself before I quit on what others need, want or desire from/for me.

Sitting in the tub last night, I couldn’t help but sense this was something I was still wrestling with. Though I’m coaching and discipling other women on the very thing, it is not something I’ve overcome myself…yet.

I think it has a lot to do with what we consume.

Not just in the eating sense, but in the what we watch, what we read, who we spend time with, what they talk about and especially how what we digest impacts the talk we’re already playing and replaying inside ourselves.

What we feed ourselves is either good for our bodies or it’s not. It’s the very same thing with our minds, spirits and souls. What I was hearing in that tub last night was the healthiest conversation from myself to myself that I’d had in a long time. I mean that y’all. And it makes me wanna cry.

I’m 45yo and I’m just learning how to apply the good things that keep coming to me – Scripture, real romantic love, acts of service with a heart for me and my family, growth and development, support, encouragement – to me. To be still, hands in the water, quiet. Listening for God’s whisper about the next thing He has to say to me.

The stuff I busy myself too much to hear. The stuff I know I need to hear (and desperately want to) but am a bit afraid of admitting I need. Instead, I’ve latched on to the harsh words, the condemnation, the judgment, the oppression and the limitations from people as if they were my only option, as if they were my truth.

I didn’t have all that filth on my soul last night. There was a little bit of wrestling at the start because tough is how it’s “always” been, so it was what I was expecting. But, I was wrong.

I was wrong.

This time, knowing that I was slipping into tub for soul care with permission for myself and support from my spouse switched the expectation. I listened to a classical music station from Spotify and had a book, but most of the time, I sat still, soaking up to my shoulders and listing the things I knew I was blessed to be grateful for.

BATHING CAN LEAD TO GRATITUDE

The same four things over and over again…

1. I am grateful that I am not alone.

That I’ve never been alone. God has always been with me.

2. I am grateful for a husband/partner who supports me.

Who waters and tends to my soul when I don’t want to and especially when I don’t believe I deserve it.

3. I am grateful for all of the hard, tough things that have happened in my life.

These things have taught me who I am to God and how deeply I am loved by the right people. Growing up as the only black girl in my school for most of my middle and high school career, being widowed, remarried, then divorced. Relocating to another state with no job, no plan, no man as a single mother. Natural childbirth – let me just let that one sit there. An emergency blood transfusion + major surgery while working an incredibly demanding job. Subjugating myself under the authority of bosses who did not seem to like, understand or desire to know me.

I did not show up perfectly in any of these situations y’all, I have my stuff to carry. But, I have learned a lot about myself and I like a lot more of me than I’ve let on. Soaking in that tub last night helped me acknowledge many of those things.

I’m a tough cookie!

4. I am grateful to be having an impact on other women who might be soaking in their tub (or at least thinking about it) because I was courageous enough to put myself out there and share what I’m working on before it’s all polished, shiny or perfect.

Even if you didn’t have a bath last night or don’t plan to do it in September for this challenge, I hope you’ll put it on your calendar for sometime soon. A good long shower is often refreshing +cleansing, but it’s just not the same. There’s something about being still and unable to “do” that helps us discover what’s in our soul and learn to love the person wrapped around it even more.

Another perk? I slept great last night. So great that I snoozed on the alarm this morning for some extra relaxation. This y’all, is also very beneficial for the soul.

 

 

 

 

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