Don’t Stretch Yourself Thin – Self and Soul Care


It feels like it’s been forever since my last post.  I looked and realized that it had been almost a month and now a I look and we’ve entered fall (although it hasn’t yet felt like it in Georgia), and we’re just a few days from October.  The month of September has just flow by and so much has happened in such a short period of time.  I was on the road for two weeks, first to Liberty University for my final on campus intensive, and then over the pond to London for a week of work.  First trip over and it was a worthwhile trip.

In the midst of all if this, I begin to enter my Practicum/Internship phase of my Masters program.  With that we officially rolled out our new counseling ministry where I will base my work as a counselor, especially in the early phases.  A lot going on and then this week I begin co-leading a new men’s discipleship group.  I share all of this activity with one key point that continues to ring through my head and heart.  “Don’t forget to take care of your self.”As Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart…”

I know I’ve written about soul/self-care before, but I can’t reiterate just how important it is.  I went to my bride, Amber, this morning and said to her, “With all of the counseling and new ministry work that is coming along, please tell me if I begin to let it take over too much and if it is taking away from my time with you and the kids.”  One of the key things I’ve heard in my studies is that counselors and many in ministry as well, are horrible at self-care.  Burnout begins to set in, and then we have nothing else to offer.

selfcare-01bI’m in a season of transition right now, so there is a lot going on, but I don’t think it’s any mistake that God led me back to the mountains this year with Become Good Soil, where self-care was one of the key topics.  I feel that God is definitely teaching me to remember Him and to guard my heart through all of this work.  I’m fixing to take on the weight of so many people’s wounds and sufferings.  It’s not my weight to bear, though.

There’s a song by Will Reagan and United Pursuit that came on one morning while I was in Virginia early this month.  The song is called, ‘Take a Moment.’  The lyrics go as follows:

Take a moment to remember
Who God is and who I am
There You go lifting my load again

No longer am I held by
The yoke of this world
Come up under the yoke of Jesus
His yoke is easy and His burden is so light

I hear that song that morning and then that morning in class, our professor stopped her lecture to focus solely on self-care for a bit.  She realizes how important it is.  This just blew my mind when I hear this song and then that topic that morning.  The burden of other is not mine.  I have to remember who I am and who God is.  The burden was laid a feet of Jesus, at the Cross.
I write this, this morning as a reminder to myself and to share with all of you as well.  We can’t just take on so much that we lose ourselves.  We will kill our hearts and having nothing to offer anyone around us.
I sit in amazement of God as I think about this and how He continues to remind me of this important category.  Self-care and soul-care.  I was praying about this is morning and writing this post came to mind and then I read the latest blog post from John Eldredge at Ransomed Heart, and God just totally blew me away with this.  John wrote a whole post on soul care in the midst of the loss of Craig McConnell, who went home last month.  John writes:

“Soul care” is not a category for most people. They don’t plan their week around it. Maybe it feels unnecessary; maybe it feels indulgent. It certainly wasn’t a category for me for too many years. But my friends, the harsh reality is this: life is probably going to get worse on this planet before it gets better; all signs indicate it is getting worse at an alarming rate. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5). In other words, if you think this is hard, wait till the dog squat really hits the fan.

We are going to want our souls strong and ready for the days ahead, not weary and weak. We are going to need our souls strong. So we must practice soul care. I, for one, am trying to make room for it as part of my “routine.” It really is helping.

We are going to want our souls strong and ready.  Reading this I was just like, whoa…I hear you God.  It’s so easy to take on more and more, but I am reminded continually that I can only take on so much before I run the risk of taken out.  Busyness kills intimacy and union with God and with those import to me, especially my family.
The bottom line is this.  Don’t stretch yourself so thin and stuff your time so full that you forget about yourself.  The enemy is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  If we are so caught up in doing more and more and more, we can’t guard hearts from attack and the enemy will find a foothold to setup shop.
This myth of busyness and multitasking is another tool of the enemy to take us out.  It leads us further away from intimacy with God, which leads closer to sin.  Take time to care for yourself.  Open up your calendar.  There is room, I don’t care what anyone else says.  There is time.  As Dallas Willard says, “Time is made, not found.”  You can make the time for yourself and for your time with God.
Don’t forget about your heart in the midst of all the busyness of this world.
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