This year I am on a mission to write more frequently. I have lots of ideas but just never seem to get around to develop the thoughts into writing. Well, I finally found some time and hope this challenges and encourages you.
“Self-care” is big right now. Well, at least it is in my mom corner of the world. Something about it kinda bugged me but I didn’t really know why until a few weeks ago. I was really hoping for some “Me” time at the end of a long Christmas break. When I talked to my husband, I realized that it wasn’t going to work with our schedule and I got upset. I went crying to my room and the Lord whispered to my heart, “I am your reward.” Immediately, one of my favorite passages of Scripture came to mind:
Psalms 16:5-6 “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed. I have a beautiful inheritance.”
In that moment I realized the reward I had been looking for was a break. The demands of motherhood are endless, emotionally exhausting and mundane a lot of the time. At times I felt like I was doing everything I could to just get through the day. I started to look at everything I was doing for my family and began to feel entitled to some time to myself.
A quick google search turns up the following (and so much more):
It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. A healthier, stronger, happier you is better able to take care of those depending on you.
An empty lantern provides no light. Self care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.
At first glance all of those statements seem good and true, but let’s examine them in the light of Scripture.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Philipians 2:3-7 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…”
Where does our light come from? Who is supposed to come first? What fills us up?Suddenly, those self-care statements aren’t looking so good. There is a thread of truth in them, but it has been twisted just enough to lead us into deception if we aren’t careful. We can be seduced into thinking and looking more like the world than like Jesus.
Going back to that opening passage, Psalms 16:4 says, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.” Let’s be careful not to turn self-care into a god. It will only perpetuate cycles of self-pity, sadness, anxiety and defeat.
Now, I’m not saying self-care is all bad and we should just abandon it all together. We do need to take care of this temple we’ve been given. However, we need to turn to Jesus first to meet our needs. He alone satisfies. He alone can fill our cup. He alone is our source. Look to Him. One glance into His eyes will wipe away every bit of exhaustion. That is a much richer reward than some self-care indulgence can ever provide.