And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-38
The church is a place where you can earn a certificate, or a plaque even, for running yourself ragged. We call it "laying our lives down." Or "Christian service." I wonder how many marriages or children have been sacrificed on these altars? I know it's far to many.
When we talk about loving our neighbors we often for get the second part of the verse. The "as yourself" line is another one of those areas where we think God might be kidding. I whole heartedly believe that God did not mean for us to sacrifice our mental, physical or emotional health when loving others or fulfilling the Great Commission. And He did not mean for marriages or children to be neglected in the process.
We wouldn't ask our neighbors to live like this. So why would we expect ourselves to do so?
This year has been very hard for me. In this season one of the things I have been working with my counselor on is being kind to myself and extending hospitality to me first. This is the opposite of what a lot of poor theology teaches us. But what I have learned is that making a practice of serving people from a place of depletion leads to burnout. But loving my neighbors from a a place of plenty means that I am filled up even more when I serve, instead of being drained.
In 2013, one of my room-mates at Allume was Shannon Coe. Shannon brought all of us beautiful jars of her homemade sugar scrub. I was six weeks pregnant at the time. During that weekend Shannon extended motherly hospitality to me as I slept through many of the sessions and spent most of the conference completely depleted of energy. I didn't know that after I flew home I would discover something was terribly wrong with the baby. In November I would miscarry and enter a season where I would need to be particularly kind to myself.
No matter what your current season, Shannon's sugar scrub is a start to being hospitable with yourself. Leave it by the tub bathroom or near the kitchen sink as a reminder to be kind to yourself.
Shannon Coe's Sugar Scrub
- 1 c. Sugar
- 1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Almond Oil
- 10-20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- Mix all ingredients.
- Use to cleanse, moisturise, and exfoliate skin.
- Store in an air tight container such as a canning jar.
This post is part of the 31 Days of Neighboring series.