An Exercise in Soul-Tending

This month's blog is guest-authored by our YMCA Chaplain, Janice Keebler. 

On April 1, Easter Sunday, I will celebrate my first anniversary as the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga Chaplain. This year has been one of the most spiritually fulfilling of my pastoral ministry. I want to thank the YMCA for taking a chance on a retired preacher! And I am so grateful to God for caring about the spiritual wellness of everyone who comes through a YMCA door.

How do we know when our spirits are well? The old gospel song “It Is Well with My Soul” speaks of peace like a river flowing through our lives. When the river swells, our souls fill up with joy, and we join the chorus: “It is well, it is well, with my soul!”

But how often do we actually pause and assess our spiritual health? When do we express our gratitude to God for an overflowing year? When do we acknowledge to ourselves and our loved ones that the river is dried up? Not often enough.

We assess our physical fitness well. I know my body mass index, weight, cholesterol level, resting heart rate, blood pressure, and bone density. I can track my daily steps, caloric intake, planking time, balance, and flexibility. Many of you track many more physical variables!

We do a pretty good job with assessing our mental abilities too. Most adults know their I.Q., and many can cite their SAT or ACT scores from high school, however long ago. Many kids can rattle off their math and reading percentiles!

So friends, I want to ratchet up our spiritual well-being assessment skill set. As we prepare for Easter and the celebration of new life, I invite you to examine your soul.  If you can say “Yes” to every question in the spiritual assessment below, then join the gospel chorus! But where you have a question mark, or even a “No,” I encourage you to pause and do a little soul tending:

How Well Is Your Soul?

1.     Do I wake up feeling that each day is a gift of time?

2.     Am I a friend to at least one person who knows that I am there for them, thick or thin?

3.     Does my work connect to something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life?

4.     Am I able to name the blessings in my life, no matter how insignificant?

5.     Are there people in my life who know my innermost secrets and love me anyway?

6.     When I am in pain, do I allow myself to be consoled?

7.     If I turn to God for help, do I experience a peace that is hard to describe?

8.     When I am feeling strong and happy, do I share my gladness?

9.     Do I see the world, and everything in it, as interconnected and interdependent?

10.  Am I willing to sacrifice my personal goals and priorities for the sake of someone who needs me?


Pastor Janice