by Sandra Allen Lovelace      @SandraALovelace      #WallflowerWomen

Sue dropped into bed too exhausted to review the day and pray. It was probably just as well because she’d have to confess about fudging her hours at work and screaming at her kids over dinner. Then there was the ongoing battle with calories she kept losing. She didn’t have the energy to deal with any of it so she turned over and closed her eyes.

Details across my week are different than Sue’s, probably yours too, but somehow we women get caught up in what’s happening around us and lose track of what’s going on inside us. There never seems to be enough time to consider our needs, never mind try to meet them. Then again, aren’t we supposed to be focused outward? 

Well, . . . Yes . . . and No.

Christ did say we need to deny ourselves, pick up his cross daily, and follow him.* Those who believe in Jesus have faith duties to perform. That’s clear. But many take the words to mean we need to burden ourselves with some kind of painful, nearly impossible load. Look closely. The verse directs us to shoulder, pick up, the responsibilities along with the benefits of the salvation Christ earned on his cross. In essence we’re to exchange our human will for the Father’s as Jesus did and walk the path of grateful obedience.

My mind began pondering this fresh perspective when I memorized a Scripture passage along with my daughters. One verse stood out in stark relief against the church concept I’d accepted and attempted to live by.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.**

Paul seems to imply there’s a balance between paying attention to the things that concern us and those that concern others. That the Philippian believers ought not concentrate only on what’s going on in their own lives, but keep others in mind as well. The words of Moses, Jesus, and James support and promote that understanding with the words, Love your neighbor as yourself.***  Seven times.

A healthy, biblical sense of self as God’s masterpiece, empowers us to care for the person the Father cherishes … in the same way Jesus did. Though He carried on His public ministry with compassion, He made sure to take breaks from the crowds, walk and talk with His friends, spend time with His Father, stay safe, eat and sleep.

Popular culture might say Jesus was serious about self-care, but since the care He practiced for His human self was based on the will of our loving Abba Father, let’s call it Abba-care. And, with Jesus as our example of obedience, we can tend our God-designed self with confidence. No need to feel guilty for workouts at the gym or the cost of membership, nor finally going to the dentist or taking a walk on the beach.

The Father led His Son to tend His human form so that Jesus would be equipped with strength and courage, wisdom and confidence, everything He would need to meet the challenges of His divine purpose. And we can follow in His steps for the same reason.

For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus with a purpose which God designed in advance for us to fulfill.

What one way to exercise Abba-care makes you smile?
Share it here to give the rest of us an idea.

Stepping out with expectancy,

   Sandra

*Luke 9:23, NASB unless otherwise noted
**Philippians 2:4 ESV
***Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19, 22:39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8

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5 Comments

  1. Getting in a little rest from the many, many projects is going to be my Abba-care as the weekend approaches. Taking two days out of a schoolweek to just pace myself instead of preparing for another thing. And I think taking the stresses in prayer to Him this week, so I’m constantly in need of Him instead of taking it back onto my back to carry along with life responsibilities.
    Thank you for writing this reminder, Sandra! <3

    1. Thank you for your reply, Heidi. Slowing down the merry-go-round many of us call life is a great first step. That’s when our eyes and hearts are able to focus, and we can breathe. May the Lord bless you in the extra time you spend in prayer. Amen <3

  2. I appreciate your insights. It brought back to my mind the beautiful freeing message of the book, “Boundaries” by Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend. When we set boundaries and we stop to care for ourselves, we refuel so we are better equipped to care for others. It’s a lesson I’m working on daily.

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