We’ve all heard the adage “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
‘Tis true, but allow me for a second to break through the noise of the world to offer a differing perspective.
I believe this philosophy came about in the millennial generation, stemming from feelings of being used and taken advantage of. But if all else fails, we can always blame the feminists. Whom, I also believe to be the creators of such sentiments as “To become a wife and mother are not the pinnacle of womanhood”; and the oldie but goody, “I am more than a baby making machine,”; and the ever cringeworthy “What about meeeeee?”
In this millennial age of self-care, we seemed to have strayed further away from basic human principles like caring for the poor, sick, and elderly (James 1:27), to adopt a self care philosophy which really just sounds selfish. I get it, okay? You can’t be all takin’ care of people if your feet ashy and your nails are overgrown. So you have to take a day or two out of your busy schedule of fighting injustices on twitter and praying for the people on the side of the road who you had to ignore because you only had $5 left and was in desperate need of a latte. Grande, because you’re trying to save.
I get it. But consider that if you find yourself drained from pouring, you may be pouring from the wrong vessel. Allow me to explain. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He told her that He could give her water that would quench her thirst forever (John 4). On that same trip his disciples urged Him to eat to keep up His strength for their journey. Jesus told them that He had food coming from sources they couldn’t even imagine. Spoiler alert, he wasn’t talking about physical food. He was talking about food for the spirit.
What we seem to have forgotten is that we are spiritual beings first. Typically, infirmities in the body stem from a poor spirit, so if you find yourself weary from caring for others or troubled spiritually about people not returning the favor, it may be that you are not doing it for the right reasons. Seriously, ask yourself this question right now: Was I only being nice so that I can call in a favor later? Do I have The Godfather syndrome?
What has happened is that a misunderstanding of the Sabbath has been passed down for generations to it’s present form, which is #selfcare. The commandment was for us to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. Now, first of all, this commandment was given under the old covenant, meaning that it was given by God before Jesus was sent here. Once He was crucified, His death served as the fulfillment of the law which means that we are no longer bound by it. Those who are in Christ are governed by the Holy Spirit.
Now, for ages people have argued about what day the Sabbath should fall on. Did God rest on Saturday or Sunday? What qualifies as work? What if my job makes me work on weekends? This way of thinking about the Sabbath greatly detracts from the whole point: rest. A word which, in the 14th century meant to “rely on for support.” Matthew 12 details a story in which one day Jesus was walking with His disciples through some fields of corn. His boys got hungry so they started picking corn to eat. Just then some pharisees came by on some stop and frisk business asking Jesus why His friends were working on the Sabbath. Jesus had to let them know that He was the Lord even of the Sabbath! That wasn’t enough for them, so they followed Jesus into the synagogue where He healed a man with a withered hand. They asked Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus answered with a question of His own. He asked how many of them, having only one sheep and that sheep so happened to fall into a pit, would not go out and rescue his sheep, even on the Sabbath. Jesus knowing the answer to this question told the pharisees that of course it was lawful to do good on the sabbath. Why is that even a question? (My words)
Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) I think it’s safe to deduce that Jesus is in fact the Sabbath. The commandment to remember the day was a place holder, if you will, for the coming Messiah who would give us permanent rest. Back in Genesis 2:3, we are told that God rested from His work of creating the universe on the seventh day. God rested not in the sense that He was tired, but in the sense that He simply ceased to work. He took a day to stand back and marvel at what He had done. Sorry, Kevin Gates, God was the originator of “I don’t get tired.” So, in doing that, God wants us to follow suit and take one day out of seven to stand back from your work and marvel at His.
Well, indYah what does this have to do with self care? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the thing, if you scroll social media on a Saturday or Sunday you may see your favorite accounts tag posts with #selflovesaturday or #selfcaresunday or any variation of those two. Sounds to me like the debate surrounding what day the Sabbath should fall on has turned to who we should be serving instead of when. Instead of going to church on Sunday, we settle for a nice long soak in the bath or a mani/pedi/facial combo at the local spa. Now, this is not a condemnation, this is an observation. We take at least one day out of the week from slaving for someone else at a 9 to 5 to focus on us, to have some “me time”. Phone on airplane mode, blinds closed, shades drawn, candles lit, glass of wine, Jill Scott providing the soundtrack…I forgot my point.
Oh, yeah! My point is that because we don’t depend on God to supply us we often feel like our giving comes at the depreciation of ourselves. The fact is, because we were born into sin one thing that is sure to happen is death. Eventually, these bodies that we pamper and preserve will pass away. But your spirit, if it is in Christ, will live forever. Jesus said that He came here so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Now, how can I make my life more abundant than Jesus can?
Am I saying not to pamper yourself? Nope. I am saying that you can’t pamper you like Jesus can. I’m saying that these things are not necessary because if you are living your purpose in Christ, then all of your needs have already been met. So if you are tired of giving, STOP. Don’t give of yourself until you feel like it won’t hurt you to do so. I’m not saying wait until you have a lot of money or time, I’m saying wait until you tap into the source that never runs out of stock and the well that never runs dry.
So, let me paint a picture for you. It’s Saturday evening. You’ve finished all of your weekend cleaning and cooked yourself a wholesome meal. You settle into a nice warm bath, put your phone on airplane mode, blinds closed, shades drawn, candles lit, glass of wine, Jill Scott providing the soundtrack. Suddenly, you hear a frantic knock at the door. It’s your friend. She says she tried calling but her call kept going to voicemail. She’s upset because her child didn’t come home after school and no one has seen her. She wants you to come with her to help search. What do you do?
A. You apologize and explain that you would love to help but if you don’t get in your self love Saturday, you’ll be no good to anyone.
B. Organize a search party.
Hey, no pressure. There are no wrong answers. Comment below.
And if no one has told you today, I love you and most importantly Jesus loves you best.
The Thrift Maven