This season has been rough people. I mean, ROUGH. Can I get an Amen?!
There’s so much fueling this flame of unrest, but the global pandemic and dicey political climate take the cake.
God tells us over and over to not be afraid in His true and perfect Word, but if I’m being honest, simply not being afraid has been really challenging during this season. I pulled together some coping mechanisms I’ve used during this trying time to take care of yourself, your home, and your life while holding FAST to God’s great promises that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
CARE FOR YOUR SOUL
I don’t know about you, but as for myself, “ME TIME” comes last. It comes after the dishes are done, after the kids are in bed, after time with my husband–after just about everything else. So, for our sakes, it’s coming first because like the saying goes, “we can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Our desire to die to ourselves everyday is GOOD–it’s how Jesus was and how he told us to be in Matthew 6: 24-25 when “Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
BUT there’s something important that we tend to miss as believers–Jesus knew when he needed to refuel. I don’t mean going for a spa day or a getaway (though that’s nice too!) Jesus replenished his energy by spending time alone and uninterrupted with God.
How do we take care of ourselves best? We prioritize our time with Jesus. Through prayer, quiet meditation on His word (or if you’re in my house, it’s not so quiet!), and giving Him the “firstfruits” of ourselves. Jesus is so full of grace for us, I think He understands the wild chaos of motherhood, the constant jumble of work, and everything else. All He wants is to BE WITH US and be IN IT WITH US. When we invite Him in, we can talk to God about what’s on our hearts, express our anxiety, joys, blessings–He can handle all of it. In fact, the times when I’ve been at my best it’s because I’ve truly given it all to Jesus–the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s not about taking care of our “self,” it’s about taking care of our SOUL.
WELCOME THE IMPERFECTION
Taking care of myself is one thing, and taking care of my home is a whole different ball game, y’all. Isaiah 32:18 says “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Holy cow, if that doesn’t just speak to my SOUL! I want my house to be a safe and welcoming place where I can love others well. If I feel crazed inviting people over, how on earth can I do that? (Let’s put the whole pandemic thing aside for just a touch…)
If I want to love others well and create a place where we can gather together a community to love others well the way Jesus did (and does!), I cannot be sidelined by my messy floors. Newsflash–I have children–three of them–and they make literal constant messes. ALL THE TIME. I pick up toys 17 times a day and then go to bed and do it all over again. No no, this part is NOT about picking up your home, though that’s a great thing to do should you be able to do it.
No, this idea of taking care of your home goes against the idea that we need the instagram-worthy living room and the kitchen styled like it’s straight out of a magazine. Taking care of your home while abiding in Christ is about welcoming others, even in the imperfection. While my housekeeper + cleaner is the absolute worst (spoiler alert, it’s me!), my hospitality and desire to make others feel welcome is next to none. I’ve leaned into my own imperfections to create a peaceful place, even with my messy floor, to love others well (even in the midst of a pandemic with masks and hand sanitizer). I hope you can find beauty in the imperfection of your life so you can share the love of Jesus with others as well.
A LIFE WORTH LIVING
My daughter loves to make up songs. About anything. She has songs about our phone number, address, etc, and on the way to the zoo, she made up a song about God that went “Our love is not the same without God.” Oh, my sweet little five year old, how true this is. Our love and life is NOT the same without God. Our life is not ours–our purpose is to live for Jesus, share His gospel and love others the way He does.
A mantra I repeat daily is
“I am enough because God makes me sufficient for His purposes.”
Alone, I am not enough. Alone, I cannot take care of myself without leaning into my own selfish nature, I cannot love others well and embrace hospitality without feeling embarrassed about my home or worried people will think I’m weird, and I cannot live out my purpose.
So, how do we take care of our life? We give it to God. We listen for His whispers, for his nudges. The voice of Jesus is kind, it is never harsh or condemning. The voice of Jesus is always holy and always loving, and He will share with us our purpose and He will make us sufficient.
God doesn’t love us because of who we are. God loves us because of WHO HE IS. There is nothing I can do on my own to earn a place in Heaven. However, because He is full of grace without measure, He is full of love for the people He created, God provided the Holy Spirit who enables us to live our lives fully leaning on him and holding fast to His great promises.
GRACE UPON GRACE UPON GRACE
How do we pull it all together in times of great stress and conflict?
In his second letter to the Corinthians (12:9), Paul ignites this flame:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
We lean on Christ in all we do. With Jesus, we can take care of ourselves without being selfish, we can welcome others with hospitality without being stingy, and we can live our purpose even in the midst of our own inequity. I don’t know about you, but in this crazy season, I can see blossoms of goodness because God is always moving, always present, and ALWAYS taking care of His people.