I was chatting with my friend across the pond about how easy it is to care for others, our neighbour, those around our world – yet so often we fail to love ourselves.
Which got me thinking.
One of the reasons of our burn out is lack of self-care. In my last post I wrote about the way that God wants to restore our soul. Many of you were encouraged by this saying ‘yes – I want restoration too!’ We know that God wants to restore – but how?
Psalm 37:37 encourages us to ‘Keep your eye on the healthy soul, scrutinize the straight life; There’s a future in strenuous wholeness’
Keep our eye on the soul. Care for its health. Wholeness is not a given.
It’s an effort, a daily choice…
If you Google self-care there are lists upon lists of suggestions on how to care for yourself. Obvious and not so… here’s a few (some are mine ;))
Walk in the rain/Feel the sunshine on your face/Dance in the kitchen/Send someone an encouraging message/Find beauty in the ‘hood/Journal toxic thoughts/Bubble bath/Write a poem/Light candles/Talk to a loved one with phones off/Take a nap/Get a pedicure/Go on a road trip/Look through old pictures/Begin a gratitude list/Listen to Jazz/Go to bed early/Appreciate the sunrise and sunset/Stop and look at clouds/Listen to an audiobook/Go on a thrift shop tour/Declutter/Let kids go into school late/Screen calls/Be silent/Weekly date with your love/Be.
Now this list is all very lovely and I’m sure I’ll just go ahead a check them off anyway. But there is so much more to this, and as I spend time with those for whom the list appears to be a lifetime away. Where the only self-care on their list is to eat daily, and to find warmth and shelter – I need to go deeper.
Back to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’
As yourself. Ouch.
But there are so many neighbours we need to care for. There are family we need to invest every minute into. Then there are homeless and they’re hungry. Then there’s…. You have your own stories.
So often in all of our caring we fail to care for ourselves, ultimately depriving the very people we are pouring into. Our limits are reached and we hit.that.wall.
Self-care is not selfish.
Self-compassion is not self-indulgence.
How is it we treat others with ultimate compassion yet fail to treat ourselves the same way?
Lets back track on the verse.
Before ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ Jesus says ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matt. 22:37-38
We are made in His image. When we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind we begin to see the His image in us. In giving us this command, Jesus assumed that if we love God with our all – loving ourselves would not be an issue.
So in answer to the question ‘How can we find soul restoration? How can we care for your soul?
Let us see a new love for ourselves as we see the image of our Creator in us – when caring for ourselves becomes normal.
‘Self-care flows from loving our God-created-selves
which flows from loving God with our whole being’
Lord, you make truth clear and so often we complicate it,
I pray that all reading this will know a revelation of your love,
We all need a revelation of your love.
Heal our heart, mind, body, soul.
Help us to see your image in us,
Help us to love and care for ourselves.
And in doing so
We will love others well.
O my soul, come, praise the Eternal
With all that is in me—body, emotions, mind, and will—every part of who I am—
Praise His holy name.
O my soul, come, praise the Eternal;
sing a song from a grateful heart;
sing and never forget all the good He has done.
Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you.
More than any doctor, He heals your diseases.
He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death.
He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king.
When your soul is famished and withering,
He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live.
He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth.
Love, Michelle xo