Then came a text that made me flinch: “Whatcha doin’?”
I want to be known as a loving and giving person and am always trying to be more available to others. Somewhere in my formative years, I picked up the idea that caring for myself is selfish. But—I had taken the afternoon away from work. My body and my brain needed this four-hour appointment I had made with me.
Now I felt guilty.
For some of us, four hours alone on a random Friday afternoon seems terribly selfish when others are hurting, or your family may need your brilliance. That is, until you look at several specific times Jesus chose solitude. He knew and understood the importance of down time, and the value of being alone.
He [Jesus] left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.~Matthew 14:13 NLT
There are times we need to say “no” to others in order to say “yes” to ourselves. It is crucial we have space to think about big decisions. We must get rest in order to recharge. We need an hour once in a while to process, reflect, and plan. And, most of all, we need to set apart time alone dedicated to prayer.
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.~Luke 5:16 NLT
Here’s what I have learned from experience, and from Jesus’s lead: When I am feeling depleted and worn thin, chances are that nothing creative, positive, or kind will come from me. More honestly, acting out of my exhaustion and fatigue—saying “yes” when I shouldn’t—is a big risk for everyone involved. Mini-meltdowns, frustration, and tears are all possible. Ever notice that Jesus was never anxious, never stressed, and never worn to the point of snapping?
No one can pour from an empty pitcher. When we are empty we have nothing to left to give. We’d do best not to try.
So, back to that text, “Whatcha doin’?”
Here’s my simple and biblically based response, “I have an appointment this afternoon.”
I would suggest you use it as needed. No one will ever know the appointment is with yourself and the Lord. It’s called self-care, and it’s a page right out of Jesus’s playbook.
What are your thoughts on self-care? Are you overdue for an appointment?
Dear Heavenly Father, I apologize for the times I have not taken care of the body and mind You’ve entrusted to me. I want to be a better example of Your light and love to others—never hurried, impatient, or stressed out. Pull my spirit closer so I’ll be reminded that by connecting with You, and taking care of me, I will be able to give more, and better, to others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright2021: An Appointment with Solitude: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved