In the Spiritual Discipline of Self-Care (Part 2)

Lying in bed last night it hit me—it all started with Eve and patriarchy’s distortion of what “helper” actually means. Afterall, how can a woman pay attention to her own needs when she’s told the very reason she exists is to focus on others?!

Briefly—with a promise to study Eve in more depth later—the word “helper,” which is so often misused to keep women in their “God-assigned place,” comes from two root words: “to rescue or save” and “to be strong or powerful.” A better translation of Genesis 2:18 is: “I will make a strength and power equal to him [Adam].” There is absolutely zero subordination even hinted at in the word helper.

We need to study Eve soon! I just wanted to give you a taste in order to see the intrinsic cultural and religious bias against women caring for themselves. Women are the major care-givers for elderly parents and in-laws. Women provide two-thirds of the care for children. And on it goes…

So how do we do this?—How do we survive? No … How do we thrive?

The answer?

Study Jesus.

As in the story Mark tells us. Jesus, apparently tired and worn out—unable to find the time and space to even eat—suggests to His disciples “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). “So, they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.” (Mark 6:32).

But it didn’t work.

The crowds found them anyway and the work continued. Till finally, depleted and drained Jesus heads north—out of Galilee—hoping for rest (Mark 7:24).

Apparently, Jesus thinks no one will know Him in Tyre (modern-day Lebanon). But He was wrong. The Syro-Phoenician woman knew Him and begged for a miracle (Mark 7:25).

So, what did the exhausted and depleted Jesus do? He went further north—deep into Gentile territory—to Sidon.

How long Jesus and His disciples stayed in that northern country, we don’t know. There is no ministry or teaching recorded during that time. But evidently, they were refreshed, because Mark tells us they left Tyre and Sidon and returned to the Sea of Galilee and ministry continued.

Jesus teaches us to pay attention.

To be aware of ourselves, our energies, the demands of our lives.

And when we’re tired.

Rest.

Even if it takes work to find a place.

Rest.

Even if it’s harder to get away than you thought it would be.

Rest.

SELF-CARE LIST

4. Rest.

And now you get the fun activity of brainstorming what rest would look like for you. Yes, we’re in the midst of a Pandemic so a trip to the Mediterranean town of Sidon isn’t an option. But what is? A walk in the park by yourself? A morning to sleep-in? Renting a funny movie so you laugh till you cry? Sitting by a sunny window, mug in-hand, just being with God? Letting other people care for themselves?

My Oh-So-Wonderful Spiritual Director recently asked me to think about what resting would look like for me.

I started my list out with: pick flowers, read, hike. Then I started realizing that while flowers make me happy, they don’t really bring me that “restoreth my soul” kind of peace and rest.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that right now on my own journey there are two things that bring me rest. One is learning how to show compassion without internalizing others’ emotions or agendas, which are not mine to carry. Or as the boundaries experts explain it … Not taking care of someone else’s yard when it’s their responsibility to manage their own yard.

The second thing that brings me back to sanity—to a place of tranquility with a sigh of quiet calm—is time with God.

When I do take the time to be with God, however, I’m never sorry. I ALWAYS feel better … renewed … mended … in my soul, where it really matters. I guess, in a way, slowing down to be present with God is really allowing God to care for me.

You, too, are on your own journey. What is it that brings you rest? What is it that will translate into deep, soul-reviving self-care?

When I do take the time to be with God, however, I’m never sorry. I ALWAYS feel better … renewed … mended … in my soul, where it really matters. I guess, in a way, slowing down to be present with God is really allowing God to care for me.

You, too, are on your own journey. What is it that brings you rest? What is it that will translate into deep, soul-reviving self-care? If you’d like, share your ideas below as we keep learning together.

Your assignment this week?

Pay attention. And then … make the effort to

R.E.S.T.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s