Self on a Shelf: Challenge #1

In order to start dreaming again, you’ll need a place to write down those dreams. So a priority for this week is to purchase a self-care journal, preferably something that’s beautiful and inspiring. If affordability is a problem, check out the dollar store or just purchase a colorful spiral notebook. This journal will be a useful tool beyond this month, a place to return and remind yourself what matters to you.

You’ll also use this journal when you meet with the Savior every day.

Every day?

Yes. Even during the holiday craze. Especially during the holiday craze.

How is this self-care?

First, your heart needs what Jesus provides, he is the Prince of Peace, after all. Don’t you need some peace today, tomorrow, and all month? Which family member is going to give you peace for Christmas?

True peace comes from Christ and it is practical. We know this from the biblical account of Martha rushing around in a frenzy, annoyed that her sister wasn’t helping fix dinner for Jesus. Martha subtly accused Jesus of being unsympathetic, but he had none of it: “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. “ (Luke 10 MSG)

Worked up over nothing? Martha was preparing dinner for the Messiah and he said it was nothing? Let it sink in.

What are you worked up about right now?

Affording, decorating, baking, rehearsing, and serving… all in the name of celebrating Jesus? All stressed out in the name of Jesus? That was Martha. Is it you? The Babe-in-a-Manger-Now-Grown says spending time with him is important.

Secondly, your heart wants what Jesus provides. Have you been dreaming of being a spiritual mother, a God-fearing, Christ-loving mother? What have you allowed to interfere with that goal? Work, sleep, the kids, the hubby, the internet, your sin, your laziness…all in the name of no-time-for Jesus?

Imagine the shepherds too busy to answer the angel’s call. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The scriptures say the shepherds hurried off to see the new-born King and they returned to their sheep glorifying and praising God. (Luke 2 NIV)

This can be you, answering a call you hear from God to attend church, join a small group, use that devotional book that’s on the shelf gathering dust. Spending time with Jesus will not only revitalize your spiritual goal of becoming a godly woman, you’ll return to your little sheep with fresh joy and motivation.

Thirdly, sitting still in prayer and Bible reading will enable you to discern between genuine self-care and selfishness. Any attempt to take yourself off the shelf requires making this distinction. As you spend time with Jesus, you will understand balance and grasp his will for your life. No internet challenge can be that personal. Only God knows you and your circumstances.

And think about Mary, Christ’s mother, and all the things she felt upon hearing she would bear the Savior. Clearly, self-denial and motherhood were a combo in her life! The scriptures tell us she treasured and pondered these events, trusting God as his will unfolded. (Luke 2)

It’s your turn to do the same.

This Week’s Challenge

1-Buy a journal. Devote 2- page spreads for each of the following categories:

Spiritual Desires.

Physical/Health/Appearance Desires.

Intellectual Desires

Practical/Material Desires

Start creating your lists. Be random. No order is necessary.

2-Spend time with Jesus every day. Read the chapters referenced above. Find Advent reading online and follow along. Spend time praying, pondering your life and what you sense Christ speaking in your heart about his will for you. Write those things down in your journal without obsessing over your handwriting or being coherent. What you’re doing is taking your heart off the shelf and putting it in Christ’s hands.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11.28-30





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