If someone were to ask you today, “how are you doing?”, and really meant what they were asking, what would you say to them? Would you be able to answer that question truthfully, or would you have to be vague, because telling the truth would release emotions that you’ve been trying to control? In today’s culture and society, there are so many things that often get piled on all at once--managing a home, raising children, being a good spouse, building a career, contributing to society, etc. It becomes very easy to neglect your health and wellness. Sometimes we even get to a breaking point. We live in a culture today that emphasizes the importance of caring for yourself so that you can meet the needs of others. Self-care can take on many different forms--making a Target run by yourself, having coffee with a close friend, getting a mani/pedi, or simply taking some time away from the home. While all of these things are actually really enjoyable and might make you feel better in the moment, they will not refresh and sustain you long-term. However, as Christian women, we have access to someone at all times who will revive, sustain, lead, and love us for all of eternity. That someone is Jesus and His gospel.
Maybe you’ve had a really bad day today. Maybe you’re coming off of a really difficult year. Maybe you’re going through a difficult season of marriage. Maybe you have an unbelieving spouse. Maybe you’ve chased screaming children around all day. Maybe you have a child who has special needs and requires more care and attention than you have energy to give. Maybe you’re juggling school, work, and a family. Maybe you’re going through depression and anxiety. Maybe you’ve had a disappointment. Maybe you even have ministry-fatigue. Whatever the situation may be or whatever your life looks like right now--my sister in Christ, I pray that you will be encouraged by these words. I pray that your soul would be revived so that, in turn, your self would be revived. Because, after all, self-care isn’t actually about us. Self-care is about being made alive IN Christ so that we may glorify Him in all that we do. Self-care is about Jesus and it begins with Jesus.
Self-Care Versus Soul, or Spirit-Care
The self consists of a person’s body, soul and spirit. Our body needs to be cared for through physical means, such as good nutrition, rest, exercise, etc., but our soul and spirit can only truly be cared for through Christ. As believers and followers of Christ, our spiritual identity is in Christ. It is the most important area of our life that should be evaluated and cared for. Our spirit is the means by which we communicate with God, hear His voice, love others, and serve. When caring for the self, there is often the danger of turning the focus inward, instead of upward.
“Soul-care and self-care may look the same from the outside. They both may involve getting physical rest, reading good literature, eating well, creating art, and exercising. But self-care comes from the attitude of self, of building your kingdom, of idolizing your own needs. Soul-care seeks to know God better through His Word and His world and humbly accept your human limitations”-- Maggie Combs, Revive Our Hearts
The only way that your soul can truly find restoration and peace is through seeking Christ and leaning on Him for your needs. This mindset is so far removed from today’s culture--but as believers, this mindset is of the utmost importance. After all, it is only because of Jesus’ life and death that we can have perfect peace and rest.
Christ Has Already Made You New
If you have been feeling spiritually depleted, exhausted, and walking in darkness--the good news is that you do not have to stay that way. Seasons of exhaustion and fatigue, physically, mentally, and spiritually, do not last forever and often times are the seasons of the most growth. Furthermore, if we are in Christ--He has already fought and won our battles. He has made us new! But we must make it a continual practice of turning to the Lord and receiving all the things that He has for us. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Praise God! He has made us new creations already and will continue to make us new as we live the lives He has given us. When we gave our lives to Christ at the time of salvation, we died to ourselves and the life of Christ filled every essence of our beings.
“Being in Christ clarifies the direction of our self-care toward nurturing His holy image instead of nurturing our old, mangled one.” -- Carissa Hiolzer, Risen Motherhood
We are told in Colossians 3:3, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Him in glory.” We have security in Christ knowing that we are hidden and safe in Him--so can’t we trust Him that He will continue to sustain and restore us? But on the other hand, because our lives are no longer our own--everything we do should glorify God and reflect the new life that He has given us. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 it says that “for you were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body.” Our salvation and security in Christ was not free, it came with a price. A devastating price. A cruel price. But Jesus paid it still because He loves us and wants an eternal relationship with us.
When we think about new life in Christ, past, present, and future, it is also important that we remember the faithfulness of God. We must remember the things He has already done for us and thank Him. Too often do we forget the goodness of God, how He has answered prayers, brought us through tumultuous times, and lessons He has taught us. When we seek Him for times of refreshing and spiritual renewal, we must remember how He has already been faithful and trust that He will continue to be faithful.
Christ Desires That We Come to Him for Ultimate Rest and Care
When we are seeking rest and peace and we turn to Christ and His Word, we can have assurance that He will supply our needs. Our responsibility is only to seek the Lord, and not things of this world, temporal, or fleeting. When we realize that Christ will provide perfect peace and rest, we can come to Him more freely for all of our needs. After all, Christ is the One who created us, so do you not think that He already knows all of our needs? God cares about our needs--no matter how great or small. He desires that we bring our needs to Him. In 1 Peter 5:7 we are told to “cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” Just as God desires that we turn to Him for our needs, He also desires that we turn to Him for ultimate rest. Matthew 11:28-30 says “come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden light.” Praise God that we can trust His Word and His promises. He has promised that if we seek Him for rest, He will provide it. There is absolutely nothing that we can do in our own strength to bring ultimate rest and peace to ourselves. Only Christ can do that.
“The soul is a sacred place created by God for God. When the soul is disregarded, it doesn’t eventually fix itself.” --Leslie Bennett, Revive Our Hearts
My sister in Christ, if you are feeling burdened by the cares of this world, if you are feeling burdened by emotions, responsibilities, or circumstances--know that you are never alone. Christ is always there beside you waiting to come to your aid. Last year was one of those years that I definitely felt burdened by emotions and circumstances. My mother had a health crisis that our family was not prepared for and I experienced several months of spiritual warfare. But because of those things, Joshua 1:9 quickly became one of my favorite verses and it says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do noy be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Even though I knew how to find peace and rest in Christ, there were times that it was a spiritual battle to seek Him. But once I began seeking the Lord again, that peace and rest came. I believe and trust that He can do the same for you. Our spiritual health, our soul health, must be a priority.
Seeking the Lord for spiritual health, rest, and revival is an on-going process. There is never a time that we will not need to seek the Lord. However, because of sin we are still prone to wander from the Lord which results in the neglect of our spiritual health. If you are feeling far from the Lord, there are some questions you can ask yourself to gauge your spiritual health.
Spiritual Health Evaluation Questions:
1. Have I sought the Lord today?
2. Have I given my burdens to the Lord and asked Him to fight for me?
3. Do I have unconfessed sin in my life?
4. When was the last time I was in Christian community with other believers?
5. How can I turn this situation into an opportunity to worship the Lord?
And so, my sister, has this been you today or recently? Are you needing rest? If so, what steps do you need to take to meet with the Lord and find rest in Him again?