A J-BAR PRAYER
Father, we come before you now on bended knee, hoping to honor you with our integrity. Please make our judgement as sound as steel and be our hands upon the wheel. Give us strength and vigilance on our routes and help us to serve others, as You did, Lord, without any doubts. Remind us to be gentle, humble and kind, and help us when we stumble in body and mind. Please shelter our families whilst we are away and bring us safely back to them at the end of this day.
This morning, we are going to be discussing “self-care.” I thought about what this concept actually means to me and what it might mean to others – so I got the definition and wanted to share it with you: Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it‘s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.
After studying the movement, I realized that it isn’t just good, sound, medical advice either: Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38-39) In fact, the Bible tells over and over how great teachers and leaders often took time for themselves to deal with their issues and that those alone times were when they were able to have the greatest communion with Yahweh: But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16) In fact, we have explicit instructions to take time when we need it: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11 28-29)
In many ways, we are taught that caring for ourselves is “selfish” or that we are wrong in some way for looking after our own needs instead of concentrating on others. Nothing could be further from the truth — we should take what time we need for ourselves, to be as healthy and stable as possible to continue with our responsibilities. (After all, Jesus took his own quiet time whenever He needed it.)
This shouldn’t be confused with the “French Existential” movement of the early 20th century that led to the erosion of our morals and ushered in the “me” era where whatever feels good is considered ok just because it feels good. (The 60’s and on into later decades), which led to the degradation of the family unit and caused many children to be born out of wedlock and created a huge crisis for our country. In fact, throughout the past few decades, there has been efforts by different celebrities (think daily talk-show hosts wiggling their heads and snapping their fingers to convince women to “take care of yo-self girl. . . “) and media personalities, encouraging women to “do what’s right for you,” seemingly ignoring the needs of the family and everyone else and thereby further degrading the family unit. Or the same society’s glorification of males deserting their responsibilities by choosing careers that are self-serving and keep them from fulfilling their responsibilities to the family unit — prison is a milestone now (drug dealers, etc. . . ). Make no mistake; we exist for a purpose that God has willed and for most of us, that includes taking care of our families with every ounce of our being. This undertaking is noble and right.
So, we are left with this – to be healthy, we need to take time when we need to. We need to take care of ourselves. We need to spend time with our Father and seek His direction and comfort. If we follow these suggestions, we can then be better brothers and sisters to each other, better mothers and fathers to our children and better children to our Father, God.
We are J-Bar — we are blessed beyond measure. We love — we are thankful beyond measure. We serve, and in so doing become the leaders that God wants us to be.