“In the morning, while it was still very dark,
he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
And Simon and his companions hunted for him.
When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’”
You may not know this about me, but I am quite an Olympics junkie! I really love following the athletes, hearing their stories, cheering their achievements, and grieving when things do not go as well as hoped. The last of those has certainly made a lot of headlines in the past few days as Simone Biles has removed herself from some of the gymnastics competitions due to mental health issues.
Almost immediately we started to hear people complaining that she had let the team down, that she should have pushed through the struggles and competed anyway. Thankfully those were not the only voices to be raised. While some were complaining, others were raising their voices in support of Simone. Those voices often sought to remind her that her worth is not in how many medals she wins, nor in her achievements. Rather her worth is simply in being who she is.
While none of us has the notoriety of Simone Biles or any of the Olympic athletes for that matter, it is just as important that everyone hear that their worth is not tied up with their ability to work, to produce, to care for others, et cetera. You are worthy because you are here. Your life matters. Your mental health matters.
We often overlook passages like the one above from Mark’s gospel. Amid all that was going on In Jesus’ life, as his ministry was just beginning to take off, he took the time to step away, to care for himself, to rest, and to pray. Even Jesus knew the importance of caring for himself. That includes all the aspects of our health, mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and relational. We simply must follow the example of Jesus and care for ourselves, care for all aspects of our lives, so that we can be the people God has created and called us to be.
As the summer winds down and the fall approaches, I want to encourage us all to set aside some time to rest, renew, refresh, and recommit. It doesn’t have to be a week-long vacation. Maybe it is only a few hours on a weekend or an evening where your spouse offers to take care of the household tasks. Whatever that looks like for you, I want to encourage you to take the time to care for yourself.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, reach out to a therapist and/or your physician. You do not have to “tough it out.” Seek the help you need, and if you don’t know where to start, please reach out to me and let me help you find the resources you need. Let’s not wait until there is a crisis, rather let’s take care of ourselves (and I am committing to making this a priority in my life as well) before we find our lives spinning out of control, wondering which way is up.
You matter. And you are loved. Please take care of yourself as the precious child of God you are.