I hear about self-care often, from memes to thoughtful friends; but what does the Bible say about self-care? I feel like I need some “me” time, and lots of women’s blogs support me in this. I can definitely find feelings that match this, as there have been times when I felt emotionally depleted and lacking in compassion towards others’ suffering. But is “me” time the answer to that? Is focusing our energies on ourselves going to help us in the long run, or will it just give us a temporary escape from our troubles? I have always enjoyed getting away on a women’s retreat, and having quiet time to myself. Who doesn’t love that? But is doing that once a year going to sustain me? I need a solution that isn’t temporary.
First of all, we are not alone in the raft. The “I will never leave you nor forsake you Jesus” is at the back of the raft with His hands on the rudder. And, by the way, He has been through this white water before. Having been tested in every white water of life, He welcomes you to come to Him in complete confidence for grace and mercy in your time of need. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV)
Let’s start preparing our children to still trust God when life gets unexpected. Every time your children get angry or upset at things outside of their control, ask them, “Who is in control of these things?” and when they answer’ God,’ ask “And is He good?” When they answer “yes,” ask “How can this truth help you feel about the situation? How can you pray with honesty to God?” When they struggle with other people’s behaviors, ask, “Can you remember a story in which people were mean to Jesus? What about when Jesus was crucified, do you remember how the officers treated Him? How did Jesus respond? Do you ever do anything to offend God? How do you think He r
Well it’s taken years of raising my own children, fighting tooth and nail down a path I didn’t want to be on, and hours upon hours of study and dwelling on God’s word, and praying honest hard questions, and putting my hope in things that fail, and God graciously leading me through a spiritual storm that broke me to my core, till I finally got the answer to the question I had been asking in my heart for so many years.
God sent Moses with the command that Pharaoh “let my people go.” When Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt. Hebrews 11:28 refers to the tenth and worst plague, which was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt on the night of the very first Passover, “By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.” This refers to the instructions God gave the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb (“without blemish”) and mark their doorposts with its blood. When the Lord’s “Destroyer” passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood. The lamb’s blood saved the Israelites from the plague and spared the lives of their firstborn children.
Several women commented, but no one could explain the reason that the day of Jesus’ horrific suffering could possibly be called good. One woman was so intrigued that she discussed the Bible story with her family at dinner that night. She went to her computer to search for the meaning of Good Friday. She printed an answer, brought it back to the group of women, and reported, “Good Friday is the day on which Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And that is good for us.”
I reflected with this friend that I lament the loss of the skill of map reading. To me, it goes to the wayside with a number of other skills that are no longer relevant or necessary to get through any particular situation or circumstance. Simple skills like focusing a camera, using a phone book (or directory assistance), writing a letter and sending it to a loved one, or, again, reading a roadmap to complex skills like folding a roadmap.
This week is April Fools’ Day, the only day of the year, some have noted, when it’s ok to pull pranks and practical jokes. It seems many countries and cultures have a similar tradition of a day dedicated to hoaxes and mischief, not necessarily occurring on April 1. I used to love to try to fool people on April first each year, but when I married, I discovered that not everyone liked the day. I suspect my husband may have been the object of some nasty jokes as a child, as he never found the day humorous.
First, not every woman’s pregnancy journey is joyful. Be mindful of that. (Now I know a lot of women struggle with infertility, and would give anything to become a parent. And I don’t understand God’s reasoning behind those struggles, either. But I’m not going to get into that today.) But I know for me, it was difficult to slap on a smile day in and day out when this is NOT what I had signed up for. I struggled a lot to brush off insensitive comments from strangers, friends, and family. Sometimes I just shut them out because it was less painful. One of my favorite verses that is hanging up in our living room is, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, NIV) I tried to keep that as my mantra in pregnancy, and now in parenthood.
Many in the world today understand the importance of looking around to be aware of others in need, so we can help. As a Christian I know that the Bible both encourages and commands us to care for others. But the Lord tells us that even before we look out to others, we should first look up to Him. The first 15 verses of Psalm 105 are also recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22. There is a lot of meaningful stuff in these passages and Psalm 105:4 is no exception: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV). The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might]; Seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.” I can’t continually seek God’s face if I am only paying attention to my own agenda—even when my agenda is filled with things that are good or even necessary.