At every turn, it seems, self-care is promoted as being as necessary as breathing. We are told that we can't serve from empty bowls, that our own candle must burn bright to light the candles of others. I know, I was among them. In theory, and even in practice, temporarily, it works, right? Treating yourself well because grace and goodwill to others is like a rechargeable battery that, after several charges, no longer holds a charge?
So, we are advised to treat ourselves to a spa day, a stop at the Godiva store, or binge watch our favorite series on Netflix. In advocating for a brief respite, I was ignoring something huge! I was ignoring the fact that all the favorable attributes that we extend to our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and others: love, patience, grace, mercy, forgiveness, servility are ALL available in abundance through Christ Jesus! He is everything we are to be to one another.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the apostle Paul asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?”. He is in us and He doesn't tire, grow weary, or overburdened. But these are very real conditions that we experience and they can cause us to feel a detachment from His Spirit.
And this is where soul-care comes into focus. Self-care, while pleasant, and there is no reason to not engage and enjoy these acts, is a temporary fix. One that relies on our own understanding of the problem. In comparison, soul-care is about intentional actions to restore the connection to Jesus who is in us.
Spiritual problems need spiritual solutions. When we feel depleted, there are several things we can do to reconnect with Him:
Prayer first. We are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to pray without ceasing and this is a very real and direct way communicate with our Lord.
Read the Word of God. It is the Living Word, let it put your stressors in perspective and provide clarity: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Surround yourself with other believers. We are a body, and shedding some of your burdens can be as simple as sharing them with others. 1 Corinthians 12:25 tells us we are to both rejoice and suffer with one another. We are not called to do everything, without help.
Lastly, seek solitude and quiet. Isaiah 30:15 reminds us that in returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Sometimes, we just need to stop, find and quiet place and wait on the Lord.
Practicing soul-care, relying on Jesus to provide all the stamina we need to do His Will, is more than a temporary fix, it's what we are called to do.