Ideas on Soul Care: YS Idea Lab with Lilly Lewin

Jacob Eckeberger
May 3rd, 2016

Lilly Lewin is a self-proclaimed workaholic youth worker who learned how to create some much-needed sacred space in her ministry calendar. Today, Lilly works with churches to help create those same types of sacred spaces for others, and she plays a key part in creating the sanctuary spaces at the National Youth Workers Convention. In this YS Idea Lab, Lilly shares a few of the ways she continues to create sacred space in her life.

If you don’t have time to watch the full interview, here are a few quick ideas I took from the conversation:

If I don’t get quiet, I can’t hear from God.

Every year, Lilly spends five days at the Abbey of Gethsemani flushing out the noise in her life so she can hear from God. She says she’ll arrive on Monday, and it’s usually Wednesday before she gets to a place where she can listen. As part of working through the noise, Lilly keeps a brain drain journal where she lists everything that comes into her mind. It’s a way of formally recognizing the thought, acknowledging the thought by writing it down, and then choosing to move on. If you try to block your thoughts, they’ll just become bottled up. But recognizing them and then releasing them will help you to move toward a place where you’re comfortable with silence. When you get to that point, then you’ll be able to hear from God.

Pray along the way.

Lilly takes after the practices of Celtic Christians who turn common, everyday activities into opportunities for prayer. As a part of this idea, she uses walks with her dog as an opportunity to pray for her neighborhood. When she folds laundry, she prays over her kids. She sticks prayer reminders on Post-Its above her kitchen sink so she remembers to pray while she washes dishes. Lilly also challenged her students to write the names of three people on their toothbrushes so that they would be reminded while brushing their teeth to pray for those people.

Sabbath is whatever feeds your soul.

It’s difficult to create space in a youth worker’s calendar for Sabbath. Lilly offers hope with a reminder that you can find Sabbath anywhere, on whatever day, by doing what makes you feel closest to God—she called it “doing what makes you sing.” That might mean you have to think differently about your house and intentionally create space that reminds you to find your Sabbath. For Lilly’s family, that meant moving their TV out of their main room so that their living space was naturally quiet. If they wanted to watch TV, they had to leave that quiet space to do it. Lilly also reminded us that not everyone can get away to spend five days with monks as she can. So start out taking baby steps toward Sabbath rest. If you can’t do five days, start with five minutes of quiet, and work your way up.

The sanctuary spaces are a unique part of the National Youth Workers Convention every year. They give youth workers the freedom to experience different prayer practices; they provide quiet corners where you can pray through art; and they block out time in the NYWC schedule for you to sit, be still, and listen. Don’t miss the Sabbath opportunities at NYWC in 2016. You can see more of the schedule online at NYWC.com.

JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.






Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.