If you’ve been a mom (or human) for more than five whole seconds, you’ve probably heard the buzz term “self-care.” I mean I love a good ol’ pun or catch phrase, but there does come a point where the fun wears off and the sentiment left behind becomes a new standard. It turns into a reel played over and over in my head and a consistent reminder of my shortcomings. “Self-care” is such a great concept, but comes with more issues than Vogue. I don’t know about you but, if I want to do some “self-care” I have to plan on getting a babysitter, make a list of snacks and meals to feed them, work out naps or when they can watch t.v., and the list goes on. At a minimum, I’m rushing to get home because I don’t want to waste time. You know the drill. Then all of the relaxation is out the window and I’m elbows deep in dirty dishes…again.
It can become so easy to get swallowed up in motherhood; to lose myself in the daily requirements to keep my family simply going. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a mom to experience these things. We all have our own “wilderness” of sorts. Those places (jobs, relationships, expectations, requirements, etc) that can drain us, can also be the most fulfilling places of all. But let me tell you, it is NOT because of WHAT we do.
In 1 Kings 19: 4-15 Elijah is the last good guy left. In fact, he has a bounty on his head. Jezebel is fired up and let’s him know that she is after him! Obviously this is me paraphrasing as the Bible is way better. But you get the point! Elijah takes off. He high tails it to the wilderness. Now, this is not a lush wilderness. It’s no Chester Frost Park that’s for sure. Think of a desert. Hot, barren, desert. Elijah is exhausted. Who can blame him? He asks God to just take his life because he is the only good left and he seems to be over it. Can you relate? But he falls asleep and an angel wakes him to feed him. This happens twice. The second time though, the food sustains him for 40 days and 40 nights and he sets out to Horeb, the mount of God. The Lord tells him to “go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” Suddenly there is a strong wind (think tornado), but the Lord wasn’t in that. Then, there was an earthquake, but God was not in that either. Next came a fire! But, again, God was not in there. Then Elijah heard a
low whisper, covered his face with his cloak, and went out to God where they had a sweet moment together. A few verses down (15a), the Lord says “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus.” See the thing is, in that wilderness is right where God sustained him, restored him, and gave him rest. Stay with me…
Hop over to Luke 10:38-42 where our friends Mary and Martha reside. The Bible says that “Martha welcomed him (Jesus) into her home.” Her sister Mary was already in the house with her. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching. Verse 40 says “Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary . Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away.’”
Ooooook. I don’t know about you, but I can easily take out Martha’s name and put mine there. In fact, I would encourage you to do that because the Lord still says the same thing to us. “Christina, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” Even the good things, like serving, can be a distraction, but one, ONE thing is necessary — Jesus. Today I hope you see that our wilderness, exhausted places, serving places, and homes are just places without the Lord. But he meets us right where we are. He changes the wilderness to a life giving rest. He puts serving second to being WITH him. He whispers our names to draw us to him. He settles our chaos. He restores us in the most unlikely places. But, we must go. We must walk out of the cave and cease the serving to be with him first. He is the giver and sustainer of life. So next time you hear “self-care” may it serve as a reminder that the best care comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus or returning to the wilderness to be with him.