Stephanie K Adams
Real Women Ministries

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others Philippians 2:4

I have stacks all over my house.  Stacks of laundry.  Stacks of dishes.  Stacks of bills.  Everywhere.  Every. Where.

I’m not the only one, right? I bet you have something that has piled up in your house, too. 

We are busy women.  Whether we are married or single, working or staying at home with kids –  we. are. busy.

Our days are filled with cooking, cleaning, laundry (oh, so much laundry!), taxi-ing the kids to activities, helping with homework, finishing that report for the boss, preparing for Church – the To-Do list is miles long, the clock is ticking later into the evening, and the stacks seem to be growing. 

When our head hits the pillow, it is quite possibly the first time we have paused all day.  And after a few hours of chasing sleep through competing thoughts of tasks we want to remember for tomorrow, we do it all over again. 

We make sure everyone else has what they need – hubby, kids, teachers, boss, church – everyone, except ourselves.

But here’s the deal, if we don’t take care of us we cannot take care of others.

We cannot continue at a frantic pace without stopping to take time to refill and refuel. 

We must make self-care a priority.

Self-care is not what the new age movement would tell you it is.  It is not taking care of ourselves so we can be self-focused, but rather it is about enabling us to care for others.

SELF-CENTERED CARE VS. GOD-CENTERED CARE

If our sole focus is only on our own needs we have missed the mark.  We don’t care for ourselves in order to be self-centered, we care for ourselves in order to be God-centered.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

Do you see the most important word of this verse?  It is a tiny word, only four letters. 
ALSO’ – the use of the word ‘also’ shows God has
already made an assumption we are caring for ourselves.  We should also care for others. 

God never intended for us to be self-centered, only focused inwardly, rather He expects us to also focus on others.

So, is it wrong for us to focus on ourselves?  No, of course not. Even Jesus took time away from the disciples.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
Luke 5:16 (NASB)

However, if we are focusing on ourselves for the express purpose of being self-centered, we are not meeting God’s expectations. 

Our sole purpose to refuel, refresh, is so we are full and ready to give.

Rest and self-care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel. – Eleanor Brownn

God-centered care begins when we replenish our spirit first.

SPIRITUAL CARE – THE FOUNDATION OF SELF-CARE

Are you trying to fill the emptiness and exhaustion with physical and emotional food only?

If we aren’t re-filling spiritually then we aren’t truly fulfilling our exhaustion. We are simply masking it for a time and as soon as the activity is over, we will still feel weary inside.

Feeding and nurturing our spirit is the foundation to overall health. And true refreshing comes from time spent alone – with God.

Jesus knew the importance of spending time away from the noise and rush.

Remember our verse from above –

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
Luke 5:16 (NASB)

Notice the use of ‘often’ in this verse – Jesus made it a regular part of His routine to pull away from the demands on His time to get alone with God in prayer and be recharged, refilled, ready to pour back out in service to those in need.

We must make taking care of ourselves a priority – and that’s not easy for busy women.

It requires being intentional to set aside time – scheduling an appointment with God and keeping it.

Yeah, I know, who has time for that, right? I get it.  Truly I do. However, we must acknowledge taking this time for ourselves is important because we are valuable.  Not just to the people who need us, but we are also treasured by God.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19 (ESV)

We are valuable – so valuable His Spirit chooses to dwell in us.

Therefore, shouldn’t we take care of the place where God’s Spirit abides?

As Christ lives in us and guides us to serve others, we must be healthy in all facets of our lives – spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, and yes, even financially – ready in whatever way He calls us to serve.

Let’s be women who embrace caring for ourselves so we can embrace caring for others.

Lord, when we struggle to see the importance of taking time for ourselves, remind us Your spirit lives within us.  Remind us to care for the vessel in which You have chosen to dwell. Help us to set aside time to sit in Your presence to refuel and refill so we may serve others as You have called us to do. May our focus always be on You, Jesus. Give us wisdom to know when to press pause, care for our own needs, and when to move in love toward others.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

FURTHER STUDY

Christ gave us examples of how we should live our lives.  There are several places in Scripture where He took time away from the disciples to get alone with His heavenly Father.    

  • Read Mark 1:35 –

Why do you think Jesus made it a point to rise early? Is it important to you personally to rise early and spend time with God?  Why or Why not?

  • Read Mark 6:45-46 –

What can you learn from Jesus about setting boundaries in these verse?  Are there times when you need to set boundaries so you can spend time with God?  Write out how you can create some space in your schedule so you can care for yourself.

  • Read Luke 4:42 –

Jesus had a plan – and He stuck with it even though the people followed Him and made demands of His time.  As a busy woman, does this sound familiar? We intend to stick to our plans, but the kids, boss, etc. keeps trying to  invade that space of time.   

Let’s be women who make a plan for self-care and stick to it!  Get out your calendar right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Set a regular appointment on your calendar to spend time with God. 

Next, make a note of where you will meet – a specific room in your house, a walking trail in a nearby park, a special place that makes you feel at peace.  Get creative; find a place that inspires you to keep your appointment.   Wherever that place is, mark it on your calendar.

Okay, got it?   

Now, if you used the calendar on your phone click on the alert and set it. Just like Jesus was interrupted in His time, you will be too…so go ahead and set that alert. 

Finally, set to repeat daily.  Yes, I mean it.  Remember, Jesus made it a habit to slip away and spend time in prayer and we, too, should make it a habit.

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Written by Stephanie K. Adams

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