The concept of self-care has been growing in popularity over the last few years. If you are worn out and overworked, you are told you need to #treatyourself because #youdeserveit. Our energy doesn’t last forever; after all, we are only human and sometimes need a break.
Even Jesus, who was fully God as well as full man, needed something to sustain His humanity, so it only follows that we would too.
So, what DID Jesus do?
Well, we have accounts of him sleeping—at least before the disciples woke him up because the storm freaked them out (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25).
However, I’m prone to lean not towards the point being that “Jesus took naps, and you should too!” (Although, yes, sometimes we may need a nap. I see you, fellow mamas!) but rather to point out Jesus’ DIVINITY. (This also makes more sense in the context of where this account falls in the Synoptics.)
Anyways, Jesus had no issue sleeping during what seemed to the disciples to be a life-threatening storm. Why? Because He was in control of the storm. He formed every droplet of water in the waves, and He had control over the weather. He is God, after all.
Ok, ok. So this wasn’t the answer for the ultimate, God-chosen self-care life hack.
This is not to say that we should never take a physical rest or do something fun but rather that these things should not be where we put our HOPE for restoring our souls. Otherwise, well, you’ve got yourself an idol.
Ok, so back to Jesus’ humanity: How does Scripture teach us that Jesus rejuvenated Himself? When He was down and out, what did He trust in to fill Him up and keep Him going?
He trusted in the Father. He relied on regular, intentional prayer time alone with the Father.
He may not have commanded us to take naps, but He did model for us and instruct us how to pray.
He prayed for the unity and protection of all Believers; He prayed prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and submission; He cried out in anguish.
Jesus also modeled the Lord’s Prayer for us which (to be brief and simplistic, by no means exhaustive) helps us:
• align ourselves relationally as children of God
• stand in awe of His holiness and glory
• crave His kingdom and will above our own
• ask for what we need (daily so we must continue to come to Him regularly)
• ask for forgiveness
• declare that in understanding and accepting the Gospel we will also forgive others
• ask for help staying away from temptation (therefore also admitting our humility and ability to fail easily apart from His help)
• ask to be kept safe from evil
In this intimate, fulfilling time of self-care, or soul care if you will, the object of our focus is different than the traditional, popular view in that it isn’t ourselves.
It isn’t about how stressed we are and how much we deserve to relax. Jesus knew what was coming for Him at Calvary because His divine nature clued Him into the ultimate redemption plan. Even so, He didn’t go to the Bahamas for some "chill time" beforehand; He poured out His heart to the Father.
How much more do we need to do the same for our self-care soul-care? When our souls get tired and when our bodies grow weary, let’s turn to the One who sustains us more than coffee, mani-pedis, video games, online shopping, a walk in the park, a trip to the Bahamas, camping with the guys, yoga, a superfood salad, or a 4.5 hour nap.
Let’s rest in Jesus; let’s put our hope in Him alone. Let’s pour out our souls to the One who hears us in prayer and truly sustains us.
Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, John 17:11, John 17:20-21, Luke 10:21-22, Mark 14:22, Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:44, Matthew 27:46, Matthew 6:5-15
A Little More About Britt
Britt is a Christ-Follower, wife to a Pastor in training, and mother to an energetic toddler. She earned her B.A. in Youth Ministry from Eastern University and enjoys using her knowledge and love for the Lord to mentor teenagers, serve in their church plant, and encourage other Believers.