Planting in a Pandemic, Part 3: “Self-Care”?

Self Care

Okay, it took a Pandemic for me to stop disliking the term “self-care“.   I’ve distrusted “self-care” for at least a couple of reasons:

First: I love the Apostle Paul.  Yes, he wasn’t Jesus (Duh!), but he threw himself completely into the work God called him to do, and he was a church planter to boot!  He didn’t seem to be all about “self-care”.  In fact, Paul was famous for saying things like:

“So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.” (2 Corinthians 12:15, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Second: Some of the people who shout “self-care” from the rooftops, seem to do it because they are in difficult ministries, with difficult people, in circumstances that don’t look like they are going to change.  In these situations, “self-care” can be: a fifty pound phrase that tries to stop the train in its tracks, or is like using an eject button, without really getting off the plane.

I’m determined to find a way forward – through this Pandemic – for Foundation Presbyterian Church. I believe the order of the the day, is: “Adapt and overcome”.  And, I love Paul’s example as an inspiration for how to make that way.

But I know Paul could – sometimes – say things like this:

“As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12)

You know you’re having a bad day, when you write a letter, encouraging your opponents to neuter themselves: You didn’t just have that dark thought – you put it in writing (and in Paul’s case, it’s there until Jesus returns). You didn’t do the work of guarding your heart and mind, and you “went there”.

As I sit with, and listen to business leaders, parents, and to my own heart and mind, I am (thankfully) not hearing what Paul said (unless I go on Twitter… stay off Twitter, y’all).  But, I am hearing some of the the dark side of our drive to find a way through the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Self-care” is about discovering why the dark side of our good gifts, express themselves in anxious, chaotic times.

What I’ve learned by listening again to the “self-care” discussion, is this: When that “dark side” comes out, it will show you some stuff you gotta deal with.  It may be hard, exhausting – or even awful – to get a no-nonsense look at our own hearts.  But if we are given that look, there is grace in it.  It would not be grace if God just said: “Hey, don’t worry about it….”

“Self-care” that, at the end of the day, doesn’t need Jesus, can go – it can be one of the first things to go, in this Pandemic.  But self-care that is all about getting ourselves out of the way, so that Jesus can shine through?  Let’s press in to that.

So I’m taking the quotes off self-care – it’s vital, and this is a great, Christ-centered discussion of self-care and managing anxiety, that I think any leader, parent, or worker would benefit from during this time.

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This week we looked at personal changes that this pandemic is forcing.  Next week, we’ll look at those changes that might be required at the church and community level.

Are you reading anything that has inspired you in the “personal change” department?  I would love to hear from you in the comments section, below.

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You can read the first part of “Planting in a Pandemic”, HERE.

And the second part, HERE.

If you are Parenting in the Pandemic, I hope this helps.

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