The best reason to take care of yourself (yes, you)
Hey, mom friend. We need to talk. Let’s sit down at my kitchen table; I feel compelled to pour us each a cup of tea, and gently scold you for a bit, sister to sister. Don’t worry—I won’t dish out what I haven’t already chewed on myself (for so long my jaw aches). But there’s something I need to tell you; something you need to really hear and absorb into your bones. Can you take it? Hold my hand. We’ll face this together.
You—my tired, beautiful friend—are you cranky? Drained? Stretched to the point of snapping and resentful of the people who demand your time, your attention, your blessings? I’ve been there. Some days I confess I live there still.
It’s time for us to learn to wield a critical tool in our mom box: self-care.
By that, I mean thinking of yourself—yes, you!—even as you tend to others.
It’s a huge topic, wildly misunderstood. But for now, this is what I want you to know. Let this truth anchor your every effort to demonstrate generous love to your family and other around you.
Motherhood does not equal martyrdom.
At first blush you might assume self-care and selflessness cannot coexist, as if one negates the other. But that is simply not true. Caring for ourselves is vital to the process. It’s what refreshes us and enables us to do the work God gave us.
Take Elijah, for example.
In Old Testament days, Elijah was a prophet with great faith in God. He stood up to a powerful pagan queen and her fake god Baal—and won! Yet the queen, Jezebel, was so furious with Elijah for showing her up that she sent her men to hunt him down and kill him. Talk about a stressful ministry. So what did Elijah do?
He gave up. The poor guy actually ran away to the wilderness and told God, “I have had enough, Lord.... Take my life!”
What?! Elijah, the super-prophet, wasn’t just exhausted and discouraged. He was practically suicidal.
Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. (1 Kings 19:5–9)
Did the angel give Elijah a lecture? Did he give him a pep talk? Did he order him to pray or recite Scripture or go back home and do his crummy job?
No. He fed him. Let him sleep. Gave him a chance to restore his strength, which restored his courage.
As one of my pastors and others have said, “Sometimes the holiest thing you can do is take a nap.”
Do you see the picture here? God cares about your physical and mental well-being. He made you mortal, He knows your limitations, and He loves you. So please, sweet busy-exhausted-intentional mom—please—take care of that body God created, the house in which His Spirit dwells.
Only then can you fully realize your capacity to serve Him, and to love others well.
Today’s post contains an excerpt with permission from Becky Kopitzke’s newly released book, Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living “Others First”.
copyright 2018 Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing.
In this new book, Becky inspires us to make a difference in today’s dark world by loving the people around us well. Through relatable stories, practical ideas, and careful application of God’s Word, Generous Love equips readers to break free from the shackles of self-absorption and discover how much sweeter life can be when we reach out to bless others with the unconditional love of Christ.
Share this post: