Recently my youngest daughter had a group of four girls come over to create masterpieces in our kitchen! They tackled rosemary focaccia bread and some chocolate cut out cookies. They all worked alongside each other to troubleshoot, figure out measuring conversions (thanks to our good friend “Alexa”), and just what each part of the recipes should look like. To my knowledge, none of the girls had made any bread from scratch. But not one of them was afraid to try it.
Bread can be fairly time consuming. This particular bread needed some exact measurements, some tender loving care in kneading, and a hefty amount of time left alone to rise.
While the bread was rising the girls moved on to prepare their cookie dough. When that was in the fridge, they went off to play, while they waited for the bread to rise. As I dutifully cleaned up the mess (they had attempted to clean), it really got me thinking about my own life journey. See – we humans are a little like bread….
We need some “exact measurements” which I feel are the responsibilities that we have to our particular rolls in this world. To accomplish the things that we need to in order to survive, to serve others in the way that Jesus has prepared us for, and to worship and read God’s word often. Then we need “some tender loving care in kneading” which I feel are the relationships that God provides us. Those people that love and care for us. Those that we allow to fill up our hearts and souls with good things. Those people that we can call on for help, for kind words, and for listening ears.
Then – the BIG ONE – “a hefty amount of time left alone to rise”.
This is the tricky one my friends because it is the one most of us forget about, or lay aside for another day. I know that I am super great at most of the “exact measurements” and even dab a little into “some tender loving care in kneading”, but who has time for time left alone to rise?!? I am 43 years old and just learning now how important this stage is in my life. How can I be successful to my family and loved ones if I don’t take time to take care of myself?
The best bread is that which has been prepared with patience, kindness, and just the right amount of love and time. It makes your mouth water while it bakes and the warmth in your mouth is a little taste of heaven here on earth. That’s what I want for me. To be the best that God has in store for me. To be able to accomplish all the responsibilities that he’s laid before me and to enjoy every minute of it because it’s all a gift.
People say all the time that we should live our lives more like Jesus would. In that spirit, I looked around my bible to find places where Jesus took time for self care. One particular chapter stood out for me. It is Mark chapter one. There are eight verses (21-28) where Jesus was in the synagogue teaching. It is here where Jesus drives out an impure spirit that had taken hold of a man. Then in the next six verses (29-34) he leaves the synagogue to go to the home of Simon and Andrew where he heals Simon’s mother-in-law from an illness. That evening Jesus was asked to heal many ill and possessed people of that town.
The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons…- Mark 1:33-34
How many times in your life have you felt a little like Jesus probably did on this day? Everyone needing your attention, your words, your touch, your care? You start your day thinking it is going in one direction only for a crisis to divert you. Then you walk right into another one. I have been there. It is exhausting! Literally mentally and physically exhausting.
This is one of the beautiful things about God giving us the gift of His son as a baby. He had to grow up on this earth. He had feelings. He had hurts. He had celebrations. He needed to eat, sleep, and take care of himself just like you and I do. He needed to be at his best so he could spread the word, heal the sick, and leave us the presence of God in our lives! That was a HUGE task that probably came with it’s own ups and downs. But after a long day of teaching, healing, and leading this town’s people what did Jesus do? He took time alone. Like our bread that rises on it’s own. He took time for himself. He practiced self care.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. -Mark 1:35
Right away in the next verse, Jesus was bombarded by Simon reminding Jesus that …”Everyone is looking for you!” (Mark 1:36) Jesus then took Simon and his companions to another nearby village to start it all again. He had taken time to care for himself so he was ready to care for everyone else.
We must practice self care. It is so important. In order to be our best we must take time to care for us. Self care may be different for each of us but this is what it looks like for me: a daily workout (ESPECIALLY when my anxiety and/or depression has shown it’s face again), prayer, healthy food that fills me with energy to keep going (I’m really into juicing now which will be another post I’m sure at some point), time to read to recharge, a therapist, weekly chiropractic care, and prayer.
Self care is NOT a weakness. In fact it’s the opposite. As Jesus has shown us – it is an integral part of what we need to do, to be our best self. The person God had planned for us all along.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:11
So…..God rested. Jesus rested and prayed. What do you do? God set aside a Sabbath day to remind us to rest. What does your Sabbath look like in your life? Mine is a little time for me each day. Mine is a loving husband who reminds me it’s okay to just stop and take a rest. Mine is a loving God that loves me and ALL his people….so that I can go out and serve Him with ALL OF MY HEART!!