Self-care is necessary in the life of every disciple

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

Things My Father Taught Me

“Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence – priceless and irreplaceable.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

Today I have to admit that I’m tired … a bone-weary, overwhelming exhaustion that doesn’t get better with a cup of coffee, a walk in the fresh air or a break on the couch.

Today I want to stop thinking, and writing, and worrying, and planning. I don’t want to open mail, reply to messages or answer the phone.  I simply want to rest, to be alone and to breathe deeply and freely.

There are times like today when I am unfocused, cranky, and struggling to write, and I have to acknowledge the emotional and mental fatigue that is plaguing my spirit and my body, because if I don’t acknowledge it, I can’t overcome it.

I am not alone. Most of us have experienced this kind of fatigue at some point, or maybe many points, in our lives.  What experience has taught me is that we often feel guilty about our need to rest from the frantic pace we live, and we deny ourselves the one thing we need most – self-care. In resting we feel embarrassingly unproductive, having lost sight of the fact that rest is among the most productive of states.

We only need look at the example of Jesus. He knew what it was like to be bone-weary, exhausted, spent, done for the night and maybe the next day. When we come to him in our weariness, he is not going to give us a sermon about pushing through for God. He’s going to remind us of what he told the Apostles when they returned from the mission Jesus had sent them on, two by two: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

Jesus knew the value of such rest because he had entered into it many times on his journey.

The Apostle John tells of Jesus’ arrival in “a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.”

Noon was a time when few people came to the well because of the heat, and the disciples were off getting supplies. Jesus had some time to be alone and rest, before encountering the Samaritan woman and giving us all an opportunity to drink of Living Waters.

Matthew tells us when Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded, “he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”  Jesus knew that grief and anger can be debilitating if we don’t give ourselves time to process it.

For Jesus, such time away was all the more necessary because of the great demands on him because of his love for the people. Matthew continues, “The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.”

Jesus instinctively knew that in order to live our mission in the world, we must engage in self-care, which for many of us means rest and time alone to refocus on our path. He continues to teach us that we are, as Father Henri Nouwen describes  “unique stones in the mosaic of human existence -- priceless and irreplaceable.”

We have a mission to fulfill, a passion put in our hearts by God, but we can’t fulfill it if we are burned out.

So, after going away by myself and getting some rest, I embarked on writing this column, because when the Samaritan woman needed a drink of living water, Jesus didn’t’ say, “Not now, I’m exhausted.”

Mary Morrell is the former managing editor of The Monitor and an award-winning writer, editor and educator working at Wellspring Communications.  She can be reached at [email protected], and read at her blog, “God Talk and Tea.”

[[In-content Ad]]

Related Stories

“Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence – priceless and irreplaceable.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

Today I have to admit that I’m tired … a bone-weary, overwhelming exhaustion that doesn’t get better with a cup of coffee, a walk in the fresh air or a break on the couch.

Today I want to stop thinking, and writing, and worrying, and planning. I don’t want to open mail, reply to messages or answer the phone.  I simply want to rest, to be alone and to breathe deeply and freely.

There are times like today when I am unfocused, cranky, and struggling to write, and I have to acknowledge the emotional and mental fatigue that is plaguing my spirit and my body, because if I don’t acknowledge it, I can’t overcome it.

I am not alone. Most of us have experienced this kind of fatigue at some point, or maybe many points, in our lives.  What experience has taught me is that we often feel guilty about our need to rest from the frantic pace we live, and we deny ourselves the one thing we need most – self-care. In resting we feel embarrassingly unproductive, having lost sight of the fact that rest is among the most productive of states.

We only need look at the example of Jesus. He knew what it was like to be bone-weary, exhausted, spent, done for the night and maybe the next day. When we come to him in our weariness, he is not going to give us a sermon about pushing through for God. He’s going to remind us of what he told the Apostles when they returned from the mission Jesus had sent them on, two by two: “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

Jesus knew the value of such rest because he had entered into it many times on his journey.

The Apostle John tells of Jesus’ arrival in “a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.”

Noon was a time when few people came to the well because of the heat, and the disciples were off getting supplies. Jesus had some time to be alone and rest, before encountering the Samaritan woman and giving us all an opportunity to drink of Living Waters.

Matthew tells us when Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded, “he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.”  Jesus knew that grief and anger can be debilitating if we don’t give ourselves time to process it.

For Jesus, such time away was all the more necessary because of the great demands on him because of his love for the people. Matthew continues, “The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.”

Jesus instinctively knew that in order to live our mission in the world, we must engage in self-care, which for many of us means rest and time alone to refocus on our path. He continues to teach us that we are, as Father Henri Nouwen describes  “unique stones in the mosaic of human existence -- priceless and irreplaceable.”

We have a mission to fulfill, a passion put in our hearts by God, but we can’t fulfill it if we are burned out.

So, after going away by myself and getting some rest, I embarked on writing this column, because when the Samaritan woman needed a drink of living water, Jesus didn’t’ say, “Not now, I’m exhausted.”

Mary Morrell is the former managing editor of The Monitor and an award-winning writer, editor and educator working at Wellspring Communications.  She can be reached at [email protected], and read at her blog, “God Talk and Tea.”

[[In-content Ad]]
Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


CBA grads urged to keep God present in their lives
Christian Brothers Academy Principal Neil Begley challenged the Class of 2024 with a critical question...

St. Rose leaders praise grads for their impact
The Class of 2024 holds a place of distinction in the history of St. Rose High School...

SJV grads urged to look to future ‘with the eyes of faith’
Recalling the Gospel story about a blind man who had both the insight and courage to ask Jesus...

Summertime and the livin’s easy
Summer is a special time for family and friends by making time for them.

Notre Dame students well prepared
“It is marvelous to think about all the changes, but how much has remained the same."


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.