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When you leave your kids with their grandparents, you typically feel a sense of relief. The burden of parenting was lifted from your shoulders, and you and your spouse are free to go out of town without the kids. You giggled like newlyweds as you hit the road and spent your vacation relaxing by the pool, sleeping in, and talking without distractions. You didn’t have to cut up food or get other plates ready before sitting down to your meal. When you wanted just to sit, you could close your eyes and enjoy the quiet.

Sadly, that’s not your regular life. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, whether you’re a pro or you’re new to it. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or five; it’s hard. Dirty clothes, endless meal prep, and decisions can make you feel used up. All you want is an escape, so, without intention, you turn to screens or social media for momentary relief. However, there’s an ultimate source of relief we can see in Psalm 23.

Where’s the time for self-care?

When most people think about self-care, they feel mixed emotions. At one point in life, they would’ve been in the camp that says they should take all the time they need to recharge, refresh, regroup, get away and find what they love to do. Only recently have most people felt the tension between self-care and self-sacrifice. However, your duties as a spouse and a parent have shifted your priorities. Instead of spending time at the gym, you spend time planning out meals.

Taking every Saturday morning to yourself has been replaced with family bonding time. Most people are still proponents of getting away and finding some time to refresh, but they’ve also realized that it’s not up to them to truly refresh their souls. Finding a temporary passion outside of the home or away from your responsibilities won’t give you abiding, genuine rest.

Where can we find true self-care?

Genuine rest will only come in communion with God because only He can fill those needs we have. The soul-deep and even physical care of your life isn’t found in yourself alone. In fact, we’ll never be able to care for ourselves fully on our own. Instead, we trust the Shepherd to care for you. Our Lord and Savior knows us better than we know ourselves. Can we trust that He can fill our deepest needs and give our lives full purpose?

How Psalm 23 discusses self-care.

Each verse of Psalm 23 shares a way that God replaces our poor efforts at self-care apart from Him, to how He cares for us as our Lord and Savior. Psalm 23:1 tells us that all of our needs will be met, so we don’t have to look anywhere else to find them because no need will go unmet. Psalm 23:2 reminds us that God is us, but rest will come when we submit to His leadership. Don’t think that you have to manipulate or plan your schedule without consulting Him. Trust that He will guide us, even throughout the day. Have you ever been on vacation and felt worse coming home? God’s rest isn’t something we strive for when we get away. His rest is for us in the mess of our everyday lives, as we read in Psalm 23:3.

What’s your greatest fear? Death is the ultimate equalizer, and honestly, it’s our most potent opponent, so whatever we fear, Psalm 23:4 says that God will walk through it with us. Even death won’t be faced alone by the believer. Many times, we feel like we have to shield our time, but what if God is caring for us by showing us people in our lives that we’re meant to serve? Psalm 23:5 tells us that instead of trying to protect our time, we choose to believe God will give us what we need throughout our day.

Mercy and goodness aren’t up to us. Psalm 23:6 tells us that self-care isn’t something to strive for but to trust in the Shepherd’s care. Listen to your body’s whispers and aches, and ask God to give you time for restoration. Only in trust, humility, and dependence on Him will we fill our lives with the goodness we crave.

This is a different perspective on self-care, and it’s not to decrease its importance, but when you feel that your care is totally up to you and requires no leaning on or faith in a God who’s stronger than you, remember He makes us lie down in green pastures. Don’t forget God cares for us so deeply that we can fully trust in Him, no matter what season of life. Finding time for ourselves is essential, but it can also become an idol we can’t satisfy. Here are some practical ways to find self-care when life is busy.

Come to God.

Your life won’t find rest without God. However, we find rest when we come to Jesus, so delight yourself in Him and find rest when you come to Him.

Confess sins.

One of the reasons we feel anxious is because we have unconfessed sins in our lives, so be quick to confess and find rest in confession.

Embrace contentment.

When we think about those around us who are at rest, we see contentment in their relationships, possessions, and circumstances. A deep sense of joy and peace follows those who are content.

Practice saying ‘no.’

Seasons come and go when we say “yes” to some things. If you find yourself exhausted and spent saying “yes” to every situation and everyone, give the load to God in prayer and say “no” to the things that are more than you can handle. People who learn to say “no” or “not right now” find rest.

Concentrate on the Eternal.

Only two things last forever: people and God’s Word. Fixing our eyes on these things will keep our hearts at rest, so invest in people and spreading God’s Word. It’ll be the only two things following us to Glory.

Remember who has your heart and who holds your life in His hands. Keep your heart focused on the One who holds the future, not on the unknown of the future. Rest in confidence because our God is truly enough.

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