The ministry that is self-care
What I wouldn’t give to be on a sandy beach, in eighty-plus degree weather, with my feet kicked up on a lawn chair; but instead I am preparing for the second half of my first semester at Wake Div. A welcomed task, but a daunting one indeed. When arriving here to the school second and third year students talked a lot about the word self-care. They explain it as taking time out intentionally to rest or put down the books for a while to preserve your mind. All I have ever known is work, work and more work – no time for breaks. My most famous saying has been, “I will sleep when I’m dead,” not knowing that I will be gone a lot quicker if I do not take time out to be intentional with rest. With the hustle and bustle of trying to juggle work-study jobs, papers, studying for midterms and projects that seem like they are far away but are quickly approaching, it truly seems like there is no time for the weak and the weary.
However I can hear the words of Jesus ringing clearly in my ears, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT). Don’t get so caught up in the things of life where you can’t take care of yourself. What good does a burnt out minister serve? None! Whether it is just going for a walk or turning on some music take the time out to do something for yourself. The work isn’t going anywhere, trust me. After you’ve spent an hour or two away you will come back with a renewed focus.
You may not think this is real, but according to a New York Times article from August 1, 2010, “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans.” If we take the time out to just focus on our self-care and not ignore things as though they aren’t happening, we can combat these alarming numbers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-year or an alumni, self-care should be at the top of your agenda if not a few hours everyday then at least a few times a week. Don’t feel bad for turning on the music and dancing like you’ve lost your mind, or playing video games, or even enjoying a nice sunset or sunrise. You can’t think properly when the body is under stress. So take your time, take a deep breath and practice self-care.
Nathan is interested in Youth and Young adult ministry. He hopes to one day lead a congregation of forward thinking Christians interested in changing the world.