faith, Pandemic Wisdom

A Soul Ajar

Poet Emily Dickinson wrote it beautifully, The soul should always stand ajar…. In Jesus Calling by Sarah Young it is written this way, as if Jesus is saying it to us, Come to Me with empty hands and an open heart, ready to receive abundant blessings. (Jesus Calling, April 27 entry)

I recently spent a weekend in retreat with a great group of in-person women plus a Zoom group. Our topic was Soul Tending for Uncertain Times. I taught that our souls need room for expansion. I’ve learned through years of soul study that our souls thrive on space…they need silence, solitude and a clearing of clutter in order to feel well-hydrated and well-fed. Our souls need time for connecting with nature and for praying through sitting and staring, Theologian Richard Rohr wrote that prayer really can be just gazing at something beautiful. Your soul delights in that. I call it the Sit and Stare Prayer.

I spoke about how clutter in our homes, our minds and our schedules can create blockages in our souls. I encouraged the women to find one soul tending technique that they would enjoy and engage in it daily until it becomes a habit and see what God will do with that.

From the same passage of Jesus Calling, Your life-path has been difficult, draining you of strength. Come to Me for nurture. Let me fill you up with My Presence: I in you and you in Me.

How you are feeling as we enter this awkward, wonderful, scary, new life, light at the end of the tunnel point in the pandemic?

I read recently that people are reporting that their social skills have actually atrophied and they are having to re-learn how to relate to others again. I know I’m having to adjust my schedule in order to not over-do it just because I can now. I’m having to be patient with myself and others in this still ever-changing environment. Some people are even reporting higher anxiety and an increase in phobias now that re-entry is possible.

I believe a soul ajar is the way forward. I’m learning to live with an empty openness to what God is doing. I’m also learning to offer up my weakness to God. I’m terrible at admitting weakness and yet I know Paul’s words are true, God grace is sufficient for me, for God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:8)

How is your soul? Ajar? Cluttered? Free and open? Admitting weakness? In need of grace and space?

Our God is big enough for whatever condition we find ourselves in. The weaker we are, the more God shines. Thanks be to God.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. Go to for more blogs, upcoming events, information on the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. CST or to sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle Monthly Top Ten List. Sign up by 4-30 for more Soul Tending Techniques for Uncertain Times.

2 thoughts on “A Soul Ajar”

  1. The Sit and Stare Prayer.
    Oh, Cindy…perfect!
    Today my soul is delighted!
    Silence, solitude and a mountain.
    This blog post could not have come at a more meaningful time!
    My soul is ajar!
    Thank you, friend!

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