Since the COVID-19 outbreak first came to the United States months ago, how much time have you spent caring for others? Raise your hand if you’re doing (or have done) any of the following:
- Working through the shutdown as an essential healthcare, transportation, grocery, or sanitation worker
- Buying groceries for an elderly parent, relative, or neighbor
- Running errands for someone who is under quarantine
- Helping your children navigate online learning when schools were shut down this spring
- Putting in long hours figuring out how to provide online learning to your students
- Cooking meals around the clock for a house full of family stuck at home
- Volunteering for local social services such as food banks, shelters, etc.
- Showing up to march in protest for the equal rights of your black brothers and sisters
- Sewing masks or collecting PPE to support your local hospitals or nursing homes
- Providing connection and care to those who are lonely and isolated in quarantine
- Talking to friends, children, or siblings who are scared and anxious and trying to help them work through their fears
Let me take a moment to tell you that you are wonderful! You are doing God’s work in caring for others during a time of crisis, and your work is appreciated. Today I would like you to reflect on this important question: How much of yourself are you giving away? Is this constant taking care of others taking its toll on your spirit? You can’t become so busy caring for others that your spiritual life suffers. Your relationship with God is the foundation that supports everything else. You can’t be the best YOU without it!
Think of yourself as a watering can. Every time you care for someone, you pour out a little bit of water to nurture them. What happens when the watering can is empty? What are you doing to refill it? Are you taking time to rest? Are you taking time to sit in the stillness and feel the presence of God all around you? Are you praying, meditating, taking long walks in nature, playing your favorite spiritual music, or finding other ways to connect with God?
Re-filling your watering can has to be a commitment. You can’t wait around for the time to present itself. With the state the world is in right now, it might not happen anytime soon. The work of caring for others never ends. There’s always one more thing you can do. Let it be a gift you give to yourself—making the conscious decision to stop and fill up your watering can in whatever way works best for you.
The good news is, you don’t have to do this alone. I’m sure you have someone in your life —a friend or family member—that you can always count on to lift your spirits. No matter how hard your day is, how tired or stressed you are, when you’re with that person, they make you feel good. That’s what God can and should be for you when your watering can is empty. Allow yourself to rest in God. To be refreshed by the peace and joy that can only come from God.
Then you will be ready to be poured out once again.