I am beginning to dabble in the idea that my immature faith has caused me to deny myself self-love. That the continued message of living as a servant to others has led me to deny that I need time for me and that my time is only valuable when put towards the greater good– that my value and worthiness comes strictly from my pursuit to put myself last and everything else first.
While at first, this sounds heroic and humble, like things we are continually told to do, there’s a piece of the message being preached that is missing… like the last page fell from the pile of carefully assembled notes and no one ever cared to pick it up.
I’m starting to realize that if God loves us as His children, that if we have immeasurable value to Him, then, yes, He wants us to serve others, serve Him, lay our lives down to walk with Him; but He as the good father He is, wants us to be refreshed, renewed, rested and prepared to follow Him with all our hearts and minds and souls. The way a parent makes sure you are well fed, well rested, and ready to take on challenges, God desires that for us too! We need to take time for self-care so we can have a heart full to serve, not drained to point of no help. We need hands and feet refreshed, not cracked and worn and needing bandages, unable to assist. We need to time to rest so we can pursue our calling with vigor and grace, patience and kindness, gentleness and strength.
In my pursuit of learning to care for myself before being able to care for others, I decided to search scripture to learn of the importance of rest, resting in the Lord (what that really means, anyway), and how we can serve others while still caring for ourselves. Here’s what I found:
When God created the world he worked for six days creating then rested on the seventh. Since then, we have been instructed to also rest, the same way God rested from His works, we are too, as well. This is such a beautiful reminder of us that, oh man, if God needs rest, we certainly do. He modeled it for us and asks us to do the same. He understands the importance and we should as well.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4: 9-10
- Life is Busy, You Still Need Rest
I know, I know, life is busy and there is so much to do! My bad habit is formed from this mentality. I often feel like if I take time for myself to do something as simple as take a nap when I’m exhausted, instead of writing emails or working on scheduling or doing a, b, f g, or z, then I’m not getting things done and people need them done and if they find out I took a nap instead I’ll be viewed as lazy and not helpful and like I don’t care! It’s a long winded sentence for good reason, it’s exhausting even to read; it’s even more exhausting to live it. We are reminded, from scripture, that even during the busiest of times, we need to rest. Resting means we tackle every task with the same vigor and attention to detail they deserve.
“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” Exodus 34:21
- True Rest Comes from the Lord
True refreshment comes from the Lord. Taking time for self-care is important, and it is even more refreshing when it’s based in connection with Jesus. Prayerful intentions in yoga make a stronger connection to God while flowing on the mat, reading something uplifting or a relevant teaching takes your relaxing time and makes it double fold- time for you and time with Jesus too! Even taking the time to walk outside can be lined with prayer while admiring the beauty hand-spun by a God who cares so deeply.
I get it, sometimes you need a nap, and that’s cool too. Try saying a quick prayer before you nap and waking up praising God for a moment to refresh yourself. The gratitude alone which stems from prayer is enough to make you feel energized.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
It is through rest we become strong. It is through self-care we learn to give that care to everyone we meet. It’s through the Love of Christ we learn to love.
You can be a humble warrior for Christ while on the battlefield, and while resting in his presence to prepare for what comes ahead. Both are needed for success for the journey is long and so worth it.