Welcome back to the Living Loved community! I am so excited to share with you a sweet post that one of my new friends has written. Let me give you the premise before we begin.
There is something about believing in Jesus that sets us apart. We do things differently than the world deems appropriate. We understand that we are inherently sinful people. We are born that way. Often times, that knowledge can lead us to put our own beings completely on the back burner. In so many ways, that can be good. We put our children’s needs before our own. We share the Gospel when we don’t want to. We get in put down our own pride to serve the needs of others.
Yet with all those things in mind, we must not forget that our bodies which we are (and should be) giving so much of are the temple of a very real Holy Spirit who is living and breathing through us. He is the one who is pushing us to place our children and our neighbors and even our enemies above ourselves.
We also have a very real enemy who wants to speak over the voice of the Spirit. He wants us to get burnt out of serving. He wants us to not care about the Gospel with which we have been entrusted because we are tired of sharing about Jesus. He wants anxiety and depression to be your story. He wants to whisper half truths in our ear. He wants us to think that we are nothing. Christian, hear me say that you are something. You are a LOVED child of the most high King. Do not neglect to feed your Spirit with things of Him and not things of the devil. Our humility can so quickly become our pride if we are not careful to spend a little time letting the Spirit work on us.
And that’s where this post comes in. Olivia Farrington is a blog writer who has walked through anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. By God’s grace alone, she now lives in a world centered around Jesus. She wants to let you in her heart about some basic steps she used to take her eyes off of what the world wanted from her and fix them steadfastly on Jesus. I hope this is as sweet to you as it is to me.
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Do you isolate yourself? Are you stubborn when it comes to getting help? Do you always feel defeated, even before you try?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions you most likely have a “self-hatred mindset” which is serious business (and exactly what your enemy wants)! You see, self-hatred leads to stress, which isn’t only a mental problem, but it can also cause everything from IBS to concentration problems to eczema and even lowered bone density. No healthcare professional will argue that keeping stress levels down in important, but did you know it’s Biblical to take care of yourself as well?
Here are 3 great examples just from the book of Matthew about how God wants us to care for ourselves through His lens.
1.) Matthew 22:37-39:
“Jesus replied, “‘you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I have to start out with this one because it’s my “Go-To” example of self-care.
As Christians, we often believe that we should be as giving, as kind, and as patient as we can be with everyone around us; but the Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves.
Meaning it should be inherent that there is some level of love and respect for ourselves. So let’s invert it.
An easy way to judge how much you love someone is to think about how you talk to them.
If you talked to everyone the way you talk to yourself, would you be a loving person or a bitter person? Can you be a giving person to other but never show that generosity to yourself? Can you show kindness to others while never being understanding or accommodating to yourself? Can you possibly show patience to others when you’re incredibly demanding of your own life?
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” – Matthew 11:13b
What words and thoughts have you been pouring into your heart? Have you been reminding yourself that you are a loved child of God? And what would your words reveal if you only loved others are much as you love yourself?
2.) Matthew 14:23
“After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”
Jesus withdrew from everyone to spend time alone with God. Not just once, but according to Luke 5:16, many times; this was a very common occurrence for Him.
If He is to be our example, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we should all be getting away from the world to spend some quite time with God on a regular basis, dare I say daily.
Psalms writes that a Godly person delights in the Law of the Lord and that they are “meditating on it day and night.”(1:2) If we would all spend just 5-10 minutes of our busy mornings and evenings alone with a Bible, a clear mind, and an open heart praying to God how much better would we treat everything and everyone around us? To make this “quiet time” more restful I suggest soft music, herbal teas, and soft lighting. Even if you only meditate on a few words the Lord has put in your heart, let those few words truly permeate your being and spill out into the world. I personally like to meditate on the phrases, “You make beautiful things”, and “You are good.”
What will you meditate on this evening?
3.) Matthew 11:28
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Rest is one of few things you cannot buy, trade, sell, or take. You can give rest away though. Some of us give our rest to our jobs, families, friends, or even bad habits. What’s stealing your rest and how can you prevent that?
If you feel exhausted, disappointed, and burdened down by the weights of this world spend some time in real self-care: spend some time with Jesus. No sharing inspirational messages on Facebook, no sermons. Just you focusing on the presence of God and pouring out your heart to Him. Tell Him everything that’s bothering you, no matter if it’s a sensitive and personal subject, or if you think it’s small and insignificant. Nothing is too big or two small for God to handle. The same God that can send fire, floods, and famines cares for the sparrows and listens to the cries of the broken hearted.
If you want to practice genuine self-care this year, and for the rest of your life, make spending time with God your first and foremost priority, because in time you will see yourself as He sees you. In turn, you will love yourself more, love others more, and let go of the burdens that are making you heavy laden.
May God bless you and keep you in your pursuit of Him.
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I had a conversation with a friend this weekend reminding me how much of a given it is that we tend to care for ourselves. And not in a prideful, arrogant way (though it is so easy to go there), but in a way that beckons we feed ourselves, cloth ourselves, encourage ourselves before a big test and so on and so on.
But sisters, I promise you that we are NOT caring for ourselves in the way our God designed if we are not spending time with Him.
Depression. Anxiety. Eating Disorders. They are all part of the fall. They are all a consequence of the sin of mankind.
Encourage yourself in this, Christian. There is a shepherd who has placed you in His flock and has done anything and everything to care for that flock you are in. He has crossed worlds, treaded on rocky ground, died a death or criminals, and overcome a grave for eternity. You are more that what the enemy is telling you because He is everything.
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Thank you, Olivia for sharing your heart with us. To read more from Olivia, check out her blog, Fruits & the Spirit! It is a joy to read, and I know you will love love love it.