“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes” ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Who wouldn’t like a 7 Day Spa treatment? Even one day at a Spa sounds enticing. There’s mineral spring spas for relaxing soaks, day spas for massage therapy, saunas, revitalization treatments, and destination spas for physical and mental strengthening in wellness.
Once people went to the mineral springs to “take the cure” for an array of ailments. Today, it’s more about pampering the outer man and his emotional inner man. Each spa is designed as a get away, whether for an hour or a week, to help one re-calibrate personal well-being. Simply put, Spas today help us get away from a life that we’re having trouble getting a hold of.
I don’t know about you, but while a spa getaway sounds delightful, I need something that’s going to go beyond releasing the inner pressure through a deep-muscle massage. I need spiritual re-calibration which can only come from relationship with the Father who designed and created me.
Dolly Lee’s book, 7 Days of Soul Care: A Guide to Letting God do the Extraordinary with Your Ordinary, felt like a soul-spa treatment where we are invited to rest, to massage the sinewy knots out of soul muscles, to slow stretch the God-design of ourselves by breaking old, ineffective patterns of soul fitness and developing not just healthier but truer soul fitness.
7 Days of Soul Care offers a holistic approach to soul care – the body, the soul, the mind: Know God, Know Yourself; Embrace Your True Worth; Know Jesus, Know God; Discern Your Soul’s Condition; What Trials Can Reveal; Take Steps Toward God; Rest and Play.
Regardless of how long you’ve been a Christian, Dolly’s book is refreshing soul care for the Christian whether they are just newly embarking on this life journey or for the Christian who needs a tune-up under the hood of their soul.
Dolly encourages us to be exceptional in the ordinary daily – not through acts and achievement but through real, intentional relationship with God. By learning who we are to him and how he sees us, we end up living exceptional in the ordinary. It is not a snap-of-the fingers metamorphosis; it is a life time development.
Dolly defines exception as “‘connecting with God to be my best,’ and by ‘best,’ I mean ‘more fully myself as God created’”
In order to see ourselves as exceptional, we need to understand how God sees us:
“Extraordinary—God looks at us with delight just because we’re his.” ~ Dolly Lee
“The more we see ourselves as Beloved, then the more we can see others as also Beloved by God.” ~ Dolly Lee
“I’ve learned what we believe about our worth is one of the biggest determinants of how we live our lives.” ~ Dolly Lee
Dolly shares her challenges that led her on this journey that led to this book. Chapter 6, what “What Trials can Reveal,” was a particular favorite of mine, providing fresh insight into the story of the Prodigal, allowing me a more multi-dimensional look into a story I thought I had mined thoroughly for wisdom.
“Whether we identify more with the dutiful, resentful older brother or the wild- living prodigal, God invites us to receive relationship with him. But we each must accept his invitation to join the party.” ~Dolly Lee
Her chapters include a devotional, questions and activities for discussion, and closing with a prayer. While 7 days to Soul Care can be read, in, well, 7 days, I recommend working through one chapter a week. I particularly enjoyed the caliber of questions and activities. The questions are ideal as prompts for journaling because these are not surface questions. The questions invite you to pull out your life experience and study it through Soul Care eyes.
Some examples are the following:
- “Can you recall a time when God or someone else comforted you? What did you feel and think? How have you been able to come alongside someone else because of a similar trial you experienced?”
- “When you read the story of the Samaritan woman by the well in John 4:6–42, what do you notice? How does Jesus embody grace and truth in his conversation with the woman? What truth about himself does Jesus want to reveal to her? What truth about her does Jesus reveal? How does she respond to Jesus at different points during their interaction?”
- “How does she respond to Jesus? List the different ways. Can I compare her response to my response to my interaction with Jesus?”
- “How can you practice the freedom to live as our extraordinary God created you, so you can be exceptional in the ordinary things of life?”
Dolly’s Soul Care discussion areas not only invite us to write or talk out our answers – she also tells us it’s o.k. to wordlessly go to God because “Sometimes trust is turning our gaze and our broken hearts toward God without words.”
Dolly says, “We can’t be exceptional—connecting with our extraordinary God to be our best—without discerning the condition of our individual soul.”
I met Dolly a little over a year ago at Deidra Rigg’s Jumping Tandem Retreat. This trip was a big deal to me – the first time on an airplane by myself, away from all my kids. All my flights were cancelled when I pulled into the airport to leave. I was told I could get there Saturday night, which meant getting there in time for a wrap up before catching a plane back the next morning. I held on tight to my grace, opted for kindness and faith – and I arrived on-time Friday afternoon, frazzled, hoping that someone was really going to be there to pick me up – and, a distance away, came Dolly from the opposite direction, arms wide open for a welcoming hug. We’d been bloggy friends for a few years – and on that very frazzling afternoon for this girl who hadn’t been this far from home alone before – well, Dolly was all grace and comfort.
Dolly is good at that – bringing comfort, restfulness, hospitality into a group of women. She’s also fearless – She was one of the brave who embarked on a zip-line adventure while I stood securely on the ground watching.
Her sweet, welcoming, fearless nurturing is woven continually through-out her book, 7 Days of Soul Care. She has created a retreat, a spa for us to dip ourselves into the living waters, to refresh ourselves in our God-designed journey, equipping us to go forward not only better equipped, but in closer relationship to the one who created us and loves us so.
(I received an Advanced Reader Copy but I was not paid to write this review. This is my honest review of a book written by a sweet friend of mine)