Giving ourselves the gift of self-care

This past weekend, my husband and I stepped away from the rat race of our lives for a 48-hour respite with dear friends from Chicago. We had originally planned to meet in a neutral location far from both our homes, but in the end, we hid out at our house here in Dillsburg. It was a low-key, low-cost weekend and exactly what the doctor should have ordered for all of us.

work_taking_over_13771The miracle of our two days with friends was that not one of us succumbed to guilt over grabbing a bit of me/we time. Okay, so the iPhones came out now and then, but for the most part, we were off the grid. As a result, we return to work and other commitments the better for having heeded the importance of self-care.

Interestingly, this week’s reading for the online course I am teaching in Messiah College’s graduate program in higher education administration addresses this very topic. The students and I are working our way through Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation where he writes:

. . . I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and gift it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch (30-31).

We need look no further than the example of God in Genesis and Jesus in the Gospels to be encouraged toward rest and renewal. If creating, leading, and serving were tiring for the Most High, we lowly earth-bound beings should not be ashamed for growing weary in well-doing.

In your pursuit of the work to which God has called you, may you do so determined to carve out time for self-care. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – to you, your family, and the organizations we serve.

For more on the importance of self-care, friendship, and rest, see:

Friendship, vocation, and staying the course

Rushing toward rest and relaxation

When life flows on in endless work

What's your take on this topic?

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