How do you restore your soul, Mama? How do you refresh your spirit and find the energy to keep on going, day after day?
Is it self-care? Soul-care? Do you feel like you need to find child-care before you can get the rest you so desperately need?
This may be the most practical post on WHM yet, but I feel it's desperately needed by moms today. Self-Care seems to be preached from the rooftops and beautifully pictured every time you open your phone. But what is it, even? And is it actually that important?
I'm going to jump right in and tell you that I don't like self-care. I don't even agree with it. The very name puts a catch in my spirit. Since when are Christians supposed to focus on self? And while taking a shower, wearing clean clothes and combing my hair every day makes me feel good, aren't those the same habits we're tying to teach our kids now? So shouldn't we have them pretty well figured out by now?
I know...I know there's seasons where it's hard to survive, and a shower feels like an oasis in a desert. But there's this unhealthy drive to pamper ourselves as moms and the results usually don't last longer than the actual event anyway.
We don't need more self-care. We need soul-care.
What is it that refreshes your soul and fills your heart with the Living Water that transformed the life of the Samaritan woman at the well? (John 4)
And what are you doing to make it happen?
For me, it's playing piano, writing, or spending time in nature. Each of these is an act of worship, and they continue to refresh my heart long after I've done them and am back at the daily-grind.
It's not that I have a problem with spa appointments, solo shopping trips, binging on your favorite Netflix show, or any of the things that have fallen under the label of self-care. It's that they have become such a necessity in our world. It's that our search for the perfect self-care routine has taken us off course and away from soul-care, which is totally different.
Self-care is about filling myself up with me, so I have something to pour out on others.
Soul-care is about filling up with life-giving water to pour out on others. A subtle difference, but very important.
You can't pour out from an empty cup, it's true. But what are we pouring out? Self or Jesus?
Soul-care is something I can fit into my daily routine without much effort, keeping my heart refreshed and my spirit renewed and energized. It doesn't require me to leave my home and there is no need for child-care. Did I mention I have four kids? It's still possible! And it's possible for you too, I promise.
While I usually dislike step-by-step methods, this is a practical post, so I'll allow myself to number some paragraphs for you. ;)
That's it, really. And it's actually much less complicated than it sounds. The only thing I would add to those four steps above is f l e x i b i l i t y. The house doesn't have to be perfect before you refresh your soul. The job charts don't have to be done. You don't have to be an organized mom or even a showered one to take the time to let God restore your heart.
Some days you'll sit down and let God fill your heart in your unique way and there will be laundry on the couch, breakfast dishes on the table in the middle of the afternoon, and cranky kids in their rooms. This is life. We can't afford to wait for it to be perfect before we drink deeply from the life-giving streams Jesus longs to pour out for us.
Soul-care is as important as cooking, cleaning, and showering. Take time for it, Mama. It will change your home.