One day all I could think is: I want a hot bath. I want to soak and REST. Let the hot water sooth my aching back. Just stop everything and for 20 minutes experience peace.
So, I did. 🙂
Then I got to thinking. At church I am co-teaching a class on Spiritual Disciplines (practices that open us up to God). Out of desperation and a desire to prove that taking a hot bath is not a waste of time, I turned to my Spiritual Disciplines Handbook asking, “Is self-care a spiritual discipline? (please let it be true, please let it be true)” And what do you know?! There it was! Under Open Myself to God. Here is what the author, Adele Ahlburg Calhoun, writes about self-care:
“One of the greatest gifts we have next to Jesus is our own selves. We are gifts of God. His Spirit lives in us. And we are to receive the divine love that takes residence in our bodies… As we practice self-care we intentionally receive ourselves as God’s own beloved. Receiving this love into our bodies births the ability to give love and forgiveness to ourselves and others.”
When we run ourselves ragged without responding to our aches and pains, we are reinforcing the message “I’m not worth it” to ourselves. We are rejecting God’s love for us by not loving ourselves. And, in the end, we are unable to love others.
In one of my favorite books on spiritual disciplines, The Life You Always Wanted, John Ortberg talked about how he wanted to learn how to love people better. After reflecting awhile, he realized he loved people better when he was well rested and that if he wanted to be a loving person he was going to have to get more sleep. Within a page and a half, Ortberg had convinced me to put the book down and take a nap.
Perhaps that’s what you need today. Rather than concerning yourself with all of the things on your to-do list, love on yourself. More than that, receive the love God wants to show you. So please, go draw a bath and soak in that.