Care For Yourself (Daily Encouragement Series)

Brian Sullivan   -  

“And the angel of the LORD came again, a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” – 1 Kings 19:7-8

A couple years ago I participated in a pastors training in which the first session focused on personal health – physical, emotionally, relational and spiritual. It has been really beneficial and while not perfect, we have had in place healthy rhythms to care for ourselves. Like everyone, with the Coronavirus Pandemic, all of our normal “rhythms” of life are gone. 

Finding out my mom and step-dad are sick knocked us down and I am thankful to have many friends who simply ask “how are you today?” My answer the past couple days has been “cloudy”, “sad” “exhausted” “lack of desire/ability to do much” “I think we need sleep”. They affirmed these were “right responses” which gave me freedom and also reminded me to figure out a way to do the things we need to do to care for ourselves.

One self care blogger on the 1 Kings passage said “…Elijah is in a place of despair, facing depression and loneliness. I love that the angel of the Lord tells Elijah, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you” (verse 7 NIV). God doesn’t neglect Elijah’s needs, even though he has a broader perspective of the situation.”

This situation is “too much” for any of us, take the time to figure out what you need to do to care for yourself: 

Physically: Sleep…”he gives his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). Exercise…get outside for a walk, run or ride, do an at home workout video (my friend Greg put together a workout that takes no equipment — no excuses!). Eat as decent as you can (I started eating less each meal because I am not as active each day as normal.) 

Spiritually: Have avenues to fill your heart and mind with God – His goodness, His promises, His character. We are seeking to provide this through our Online Service and Daily Encouragements ( CrossPointe partner Jeremy Eagan has a framework of 3 questions to continually come back to: Who does God say that He is? Who does God say I am in Christ (son, daughter, loved, etc..) What does it look like to trust and obey in response? 

Emotionally: Pastor Peter Scazzero defines emotional health as “our ability to be self-aware and love well.” Have an awareness of how you are doing – ask yourself where you don’t feel emotionally healthy. Ask those around you if you are loving well. In his book Managing Leadership Anxiety, Steven Cuss talks about the importance of having “people, places, and activities” that are life giving (and lower anxiety). What are those for you in this time? 

Relationally: This piece has been radically altered with “self-isolation”. I’ve appreciated the push to call it “physical isolation” and not “self-isolation”. There are ways to still connect with people. Text, social media interaction, saying hi as you pass neighbors, phone calls, FaceTime and Zoom calls. All avenues to stay relationally connected. 

Take some time to figure out what it looks like to care for yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally during this season. 

And always remember that: “….He cares for you….” (1 Peter 5:7).