The words were before me in a version I do not read regularly:
“God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful – as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7, MSG)
They stayed with me for days as we began to prepare for a vacation. It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that rest was needed. It seemed almost like someone had flipped a switch and my life went from feeling orderly and routine to heavy and unmanageable.
And the Scripture kept reminding me that this was not the way it should be.
My days were being managed by factors other than myself or my choosing and any semblance of order seemed to have disappeared. I had not even seen it coming or developing.
It was a small request, one I could easily have managed, that broke it wide open for me. In that split second, I knew I could not do the “one more thing”. The moment rushed on me as I spoke the words, “No, I cannot do it. I cannot handle another thing.”
We can slip from able, capable, and responsible to fragile and fragmented very quickly if we do not pay attention to our heart’s cry. It is easy to ignore or push aside the inner cry that craves times of rest, quiet, and to just – be.
Our love for family, friends, and God’s people can push us to keep on going and doing. But at what cost?
God calls us to tend to ourselves. Many have called it “self-care” and I have often viewed that as being rooted in selfishness or a preoccupation with ourselves.
We care for ourselves on the outside. We are careful to shower, blow drying our hair until each strand falls into place. We put on our makeup with extra care. We take a last glance in the mirror to be certain our clothes fit us well and our shoes match.
But in reality, God calls us to “soul-care”. We need to tend to our souls, the part of us that we offer to others on a daily basis. Perhaps this is the most beneficial thing we can do both for ourselves, and for those around us.
We need those times to “be” still, for it is then we allow God to care for us – restoring, redeeming, and reviving our souls.
The way to be as “beautiful on the inside as the outside.”