“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor [or itself]; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10
Just like many people this weekend we spent the whole weekend in family celebrations of Christ’s resurrection. And it was SO MUCH FUN!!! But it was exhausting too. During this school year we’ve learned that our daughter NEEDS her sleep! She always has, but this year we’re coming to realize that she absolutely is not able to sleep in on mornings when she’s allowed to. She’s also very good at keeping herself awake during a weekend afternoon “quiet time”. All the rest of us sleep, she lays in her bed and talks to her stuffed friends. All this leaves us with one option, a STRICT bedtime. And for this particular Knochel household, the word “strict” is hardly in our vocabulary. This year it’s been introduced though!
If she’s not in bed by 8:30, we can hardly get her out of bed in the morning. And when we do, she’s a sobbing mess until she can wake up fully. But the chaos doesn’t end there. I’ve noticed that on weekends, if we do let her stay up later, her grades are decidedly lower that week, her attention span is less and her temper is higher. This girl NEEDS HER SLEEP!
Well today, I’ve realized that I’m just like my daughter. THIS GIRL NEEDS HER SLEEP. Life takes it’s toll on all of us differently. God has told me for years, but has been training me for months, on the vast importance of my Sabbath rest. This isn’t news to any of you who’ve been reading this blog for any length of time. I can’t tell you all how many times I hear, “Gosh, I wish I could take a Sabbath like you do, I just don’t have the time right now!”
Guess what, NEITHER DO I!!! But God told me and keeps telling me it’s not only important for me, but for my family too. Keeping my Sabbath holy is HARD! I am constantly tested on a weekly basis. I am faced weekly with a decision between keeping my Sabbath or doing something that will almost definitely gain the praise of men (one of my biggest joys – I live for praise and recognition). And it seems like the longer I go the harder these temptations have been to resist! I’m tellin’ ya folks, following God’s command of a Sabbath isn’t easy!
I’ve done my time disobeying it too. I’ve burned my candle at both ends and my family has paid dearly for it. The majority of my Sabbaths are spent SLEEPING! I’ll get my family off to school and work and then I go back to bed and often I’ll sleep until noon! I sleep until I can’t sleep anymore than I’ll usually get up, go to the couch (or the kitchen first and then the couch), and I’ll sit and watch TV until the kids get home; all the while choosing to IGNORE the million things around me screaming for my time, attention and energy. It’s NOT easy!
The main goal of my Sabbath is to let my body, brain and spirit rest. Christ is my constant companion in my resting and I talk to Him in every waking oment. There are some days He will give me something so good I just have to write it down and then there are others when He gives me that good thing but tells me to keep it to myself. As much as I love sharing, I like when it’s just for me. 😀 Either way my Sabbath (and obedience to it by avoiding the temptation to do the things I “have to do”) is a tremendous gift! It’s a gift, from God to me, but even more than that, it’s a gift from me to me! It’s me loving myself enough to tell the others in my life, “You can wait” for one day. And for the longest time I thought that would hurt them. It doesn’t. Me not being fresh and patient – that hurts them. Me being so tired I can’t think straight, but pushing myself on anyway – that hurts them. Me losing my temper and raising my voice because I can’t take one more person asking one more thing of me – that hurts them. As a mom and as a Christian we’re called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And I’m finding more and more as I age, that I simply can’t love others well if I haven’t first loved on myself.
Today is not my Sabbath, it’s Monday. But when I got up this morning, or rather I should say, when I was forced to get up this morning, it was all I could do to get the family out the door. Mondays are my “recover the house from the weekend” day, but all I could do was stand in the middle of the room and stare at the three, count them THREE, baskets of clean laundry to put away, the Easter baskets still full of candy abandoned to go to Grandmas and get more. The empty pizza boxes on the dining room table from FRIDAY night, the kitchen table full of clutter from the week before and I won’t even tell you about the kitchen counters or the office still in construction chaos! I was so overwhelmed and overtired I didn’t know where or even how to start. So I did the only thing I could think of, text Sean.
“I’m having a rough day today. I’m freaking out about how much I have to do and how little time I have to do it in.”
And my husband, the smart and wise man that he is said, “Why worry? Just do what you can and forget the rest, the kids and I will help out.” (Seriously, I LOVE THIS MAN!!!!!)
Wise words don’t you think? “Why worry?” By worrying can we add an hour to our lifespan or an inch to our height? (Matthew 6:25-24) Does worry change ANYTHING? NO!
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42
Sometimes, not ALL the time, but there are times when you HAVE to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. It’s not possible to pour water from an empty vessel. Whether it’s mental, physical or spiritual exhaustion, you can’t love others if you haven’t loved yourself first.
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another [or yourself]? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another [or ourselves] any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. – Romans 14:13
Do not destroy the one for whom Christ died [that’s YOU]. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. – Romans 14:15-16
You’re precious in His eyes, don’t talk or think or act badly toward yourself. He died for you; obviously He thinks you’re worth it! Let’s work together to encourage each other to treat ourselves as though Christ died for us, because He DID!