Opening Questions To Ponder:
In a vocation where there is always more to do and more to give, how do you not run out?
In a vocation where who you are is the most important part of what you do, how do you improve who you are?
And, in a vocation where loving others well is viewed as truly important, what are you doing to receive more of that love?
In my opinion, these questions all bring up the idea of what I call godly self-care.
Introducing Godly Self-Care
Godly self-care is fundamentally about helping ensure that you are regularly getting filled up with the good things of God: to be able to continue to give, to become more of who you are called to be, and to ensure that you are growing in enjoying your primary identity as a son or daughter of God.
Now, I will readily admit that this is one of my favorite topics, even though I certainly have room to grow in it! And, I am also very open to having my ideas challenged. It only helps refine them…after I get over myself. 🙂
But the reason I value this topic so much because I believe it is so vital to Christian leaders flourishing and finishing well. And, if we are gradually living lives that are more and more rooted and established in love and joy and peace, our ministry to those we are called to lead and serve can only be that much stronger. That’s just good for everybody.
Let me hit just a few disclaimers right off the bat, to address some potential misunderstandings.
Disclaimers About Godly Self-Care:
Godly self-care is not about justifying being lazy.
Godly self-care is not about worshipping comfort.
Godly self-care is not about always doing what is safe or easy. It is not about taking the easy way out.
Godly self-care is actually much more about doing what is harder, and often requires way more courage and bravery than chronically overextending. (The deeper question here is what makes overextending so tempting, and setting limits so difficult? We’ll explore that next week!)
Godly self-care embraces the deeper journey, a journey that paves the way to living an inspiring life that is truly worthy of emulation, and paves the way to transformational conversations, because you have already courageously walked the trails that many only glimpse or pretend they’ve walked.
So What Is Godly Self-Care, and What Does It Presume?
First, godly self-care recognizes that we are by definition limited human beings, with limited energy, limited resources and limited capacities.
Godly self-care deeply embraces the reality that we are definitely not God. We have limits; He doesn’t. We are the clay; He is the potter. We are called to serve; He alone saves and can be truly trusted with destinies.
Godly self-care sees our lives as having many opportunities, and yet for our lives to be lived as well as they can be, choices have to be made. Choices that involve wisely stewarding our limited time and energy to the greatest good.
Godly self-care is therefore listening to and obeying God’s call to wisely steward your energy, your life, and your vocation to make the richest contribution…to love others really well, to grow in a captivating fullness, and to bring an undeniable glory to God.
Further, godly self-care recognizes the reality that many more falls, ministry mishaps, and low functioning ministries flow from over extending than under extending, and from too much action and too little reflection.
Godly self-care whole-heartedly pursues loving as well as we possibly can, giving as much as we possibly can, and then moving into the deep and mysterious waters of trust when we reach our limits-trust in the God who can see far beyond our limited view, redeem beyond our comprehension, and carry with ease what we simply can’t.
Godly self-care is also about taking care of and getting to know your soul on deeper and deeper levels, so that you are that much more able to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, which as that connections deepens, you are increasingly able to say “yes” to what God is calling you to, and “no” to what He isn’t calling you to.
Godly self-care is truly vital to living a life and having a ministry that are both becoming more and more rooted and established in the genuine love of God.
More Reasons Why Godly Self-Care Matters
It is hard to overstate the importance of godly self-care. Honest.
Godly self-care is your primary witness to the transformational power of the Gospel. Consistently living out godly self-care provides your best answer for how someone should live and all the best reasons for why they would ever want to be like you. (People do wonder that, right?) Godly self-care and the fruit it bears in your life is what gives you the most credibility to stand in front of people and invite them into a life in Jesus.
Godly self-care is also the primary guardrail between you and all kinds of regret. Godly self-care helps ensure that you are growing in honoring the things that matter the most in your life: your relationship with God, your core relationships, your call to bear much fruit with your life, and yes, your legacy.
Consistently embracing godly self-care enables you to keep toxic pressure at bay. Toxic pressure is the pressure we feel that makes turning to the dark so attractive and seductive. When pressure mounts, especially gradually over the span of time, and there are no release valves provided through godly self-care–checking out, burning out, or acting out at some level become inevitable. That is simply the truth.
Learning how to consistently and skillfully embrace godly self-care is perhaps the core differentiator between those who flourish and finish well, bearing rich and abundant fruit with their lives, and those who find themselves increasingly checking out with a less fruitful ministry as a result, or tragically act out and their ministry prematurely ends, with great pain and anguish spread far and wide. Yes, the stakes are that high.
I hope you are getting on this band wagon!
Feel free to share any thoughts or comments!
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