It’s hardly a new idea that taking care of one’s self can have incredible benefits, especially in our fast paced western world. And yet, as much charcoal face mask as we smear on ourselves and daily walks in the park we take, Americans (Christians included) are some of the most stressed out people on the planet.
We are doing all the recommended stress-relieving activities and still struggling to enjoy these mystical benefits. Where is the peace that we were supposed to uncover with our morning tea and afternoon yoga sessions?
Personally, I’ve found basic self care to be inadequate. I imagine many of us have. We know that there is something deeper where we need Christ’s divine intervention to soothe and heal us. If you’re like me, you’ve got the physical and the spiritual self care thing down to a science. And, if you’re like me, it can easily begin to look like another to-do list instead of a joyful retreat from the troubles of the world.
These days it can feel like shaming to be told you need to take a sabbath, and for those of us in ministry it seems nearly impossible.
Take a brief trip with me into the book of Galatians. There we find the list of the Fruits of the Spirit. Their presence and prevalence in our lives are the telltale sign of wellness. True health is being patient, kind, loving, joyful, self-controlled, peaceful, faithful, good, and gentle.
However, I was confused for years as to why I would be “self” controlled if this was a fruit of the Spirit of God. Shouldn’t it be a product of the Spirit created within me, not by me?
Turns out my speculations were accurate. After looking at the Greek and multiple commentaries, it became very clear that “self-control” really meant “Spirit-control” that was coming from within us, generated by God Himself.
Self care is like this. It needs to be Spirit care.
True health is being patient, kind, loving, joyful, self-controlled, peaceful, faithful, good, and gentle.
This is the missing piece of our peace quest. The Spirit of God.
More specifically our surrender to the Spirit of God. He is always with us, just as He promised. But we often overlook Him in our search for feeling better. We forget to love Him just because He loves us. We form a “so that” relationship with God, where we confine Him to being the answer to our problems instead of the Lover of our souls.
We forget to sit with our Father in our brokenness and allow His peace to fill us, even if there is no resolution to our woes. We lack the ability to receive “Spirit-care” that will soothe and bring peace because we are too busy trying to solve our own problems and turning to Him as a last resort when we should be abiding with our Father continually.
He already knows our troubles. He has already prepared a balm and it is His very presence.
Self care is a wonderful thing. It is necessary. But it cannot be the starting point for our healing and wellness. Time spent at the feet of Jesus is the only thing that will help rest and strengthen us for the burdens of this world.
So put those cucumber slices over your eyes and take that vacation. Go hunting and fishing or whatever helps calm you these days. But make sure to run often to the Lord before you become fooled into thinking anything else is sufficient to replace the peace His Spirit brings.
I pray you discover a deeper peace today and that your priorities are rightly aligned with God’s.
The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. Proverbs 18:10