I laid on the couch for 3 days straight. My kids were out of town, and my life had just been turned upside down. I had planned to get so much done while they were out of town, but now I could hardly move.
All weekend long, I knew I had the final lesson to teach for my online Bible study Monday night, but I had nothing to give! I kept telling myself just a few more minutes. But those minutes turned to hours, and hours to days.
Now it was Monday at noon, and I still wasn't prepared. I needed help!
In last week’s blog you began looking at self-care. You learned Jesus would sneak away from the crowds to connect with His Father on a regular basis.
You also discovered three aspects of self-care that Jesus maintained during His earthly ministry:
- He connected with God daily.
- He used His gifts daily.
- He connected with others daily.
Have you ever been where I was a few weeks ago?
Dreading that commitment? But knowing you needed to show up?
How did Jesus handle the daily demand on Him to show up, heal people, preach impeccable sermons, or feed the thousands or any other number of amazing tasks?
I believe that because Jesus spent time daily connecting with God, these opportunities energized Jesus.
Now, remember there were days that Jesus said, “no” to the crowds, and He took time alone. But most days, you would find Him in the trenches with those He came to save.
Maybe like me some days you feel empty. The thought of giving of yourself to anyone is beyond what you can handle. So what do you do?
Should you hide under the blankets or should you get busy worrying about everyone else and ignore your needs?
The answer is…Neither.
First of all, in these moments you need to first connect to God, and seek His wisdom. There are times that He calls us to rest and say “no.” But there are times that self-care can include ministering to others through our brokenness.
Here's what I mean.
As I mentioned before life has been a bit crazy at my house lately, and there are days that it is more than I can handle. But now Monday was here, and I had to decide what to do.
Normally Mondays are my favorite day of the week…the day I get to connect with my Bible study ladies and teach God’s Word…two of my favorite things! But this particular Monday I was not in the mood.
The turmoil in my personal life consumed my heart and my mind. All day Monday I thought about cancelling or postponing my teaching. I opened my Bible to prepare, attempted to open my heart in prayer…but nothing. I couldn’t calm my mind or settle my heart long enough to tune out the mental chaos and really connect with God.
As I prayed, God prompted me not to cancel. My natural tendency is to will myself to dig deeper in my own strength and push through. But this time, I did something different.
First, I told God I had nothing to give. Secondly, I gave myself grace that tonight's talk would probably not be the best talk I had ever given. And then, I texted a few of my closest friends and asked them to pray for me. I gave up my need to be perfect, and replaced it with grace for myself.
And guess what? When I got out of the way, God showed up.
His power and love and wisdom were all the more present in my weakness.
The most amazing part was as I spoke, my heart was encouraged. My life had meaning. I had more energy than I had had in a week! And I felt like me.
Here is what I learned:
My gifts aren’t mine. They are God’s gifts that He uses through me. And when I use the gifts He has given me, I don't feel drained or empty.
Using my gifts is life-giving!
How could that be true? God gave you your gifts to bring glory Himself! You were created to glorify Him, and when you fulfill your purpose you feel energized! Even when you are at your worst, God's gifts still reign victorious.
Your gifts are not about you!
I walked away from that night feeling encouraged, loved and whole, not because I did something grand, but because I allowed God to work through me to accomplish His purpose through the gifts He entrusted to me.
When you are overwhelmed, your temptation might be to say, “I don’t have anything to offer. I can’t do this. I am empty.” You might be tempted to use each of those as an excuse to shy away from your calling rather than seeing this as an opportunity to step aside and let God do His thing though you. I was tempted to think this way.
If you use your God-entrusted gifts in your own strength, it can definitely be draining.
But, when we are connected to God, He can use our gifts to fill us up rather than drain the life out of us.
What are your thoughts? In the comments I would love to hear about you.
- What gifts has God entrusted to you?
- How do you feel when you use your gifts?
- Has there been a time when you were weak, and connecting to God and using your gifts filled you up?
Wanna dig a little deeper? Take a closer look at your gifts and how you can use them to energize you in today's worksheet. To snag it, click here!
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