Finding Rhythms of Self-Care


At one point in my life, I was raising four children. There were six of us in my house, and I spent my days off caring for everyone the best way I knew how — by doing an excessive amount of laundry. This was good work because if I didn’t do the laundry, the dirty clothes would have eventually started to smell up our house. I loved this season of life, but I missed something crucial; I was still a human being with needs of my own. In the midst of trying to do good, I totally neglected myself.

I’ve found seasons of my ministry looking like this too. I found myself telling lies like if I could only get past this event, this camp, or this season, then I would find better rhythms for myself. I have often found myself in cycles of looking toward the next season to be less busy in exchange for finding time to adjust my routine in the moment. To be honest, this is a direct reflection of how I spent my first years of ministry, and this mindset has almost burnt me out of serving the church for good.

I found myself telling lies like if I could only get past this event, this camp, or this season, then I would find better rhythms for myself.

Jen Willard

If you are like me, you often find yourself caught up in good things like serving your family or your students, but you struggle to find time to let yourself be cared for. Here’s a truth for you— God called you with your gifts and talents to serve Him. You are a good creation, and God is giving you this life to live to the fullest. You can still seek to know the God who put you together while caring for your soul and heightening your sense of passion for the days ahead.

If you are like me, you often find yourself caught up in good things like serving your family or your students, but you struggle to find time to let yourself be cared for.

Jen Willard

Even as I write these words imagining the scriptures I’m referencing, I feel conceited in some ways to celebrate the good work God is doing in you and me. Can you trust God to still sit on the throne in heaven even if you aren’t keeping all the plates spinning? We should be practicing Sabbath and moments of self-care that allow us to confidently say yes to that question.

Living my life full speed ahead for 10 years in ministry has left me in burnout recovery alongside thousands of other pastors and lay leaders. The desire to help and serve at full capacity all the time has come at a high cost. We aren’t sure who we are and where we fit in the kingdom of God. Jesus came to preach good news to the people who had nowhere left to turn, and there is good news for you today.

I’ve started a journey toward self-care, and it has reshaped my life spiritually, physically, and mentally. It started with my therapist helping me to realize that a day of Sabbath shouldn’t be spent simply trading work I get paid to do for work around the house. Months later, my journey toward self-care started to look like peaceful walks to the Starbucks half a mile from my house each morning. Even still, slowing down sometimes looks like leaving my zip code to go on a new adventure for at least a few hours.

Your form of self-care might not be the same as mine, but I urge you to take time to let God show you life to the fullest. It is often your job to minister to others and to keep the good work going, but the Holy Spirit is just as present with you as you are with those around you. Take time today to make plans to step away and let the Spirit of God speak new life into you.

Jen Willard