Jethro and Moses: A Story of Self-Care

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[image by marvin L]

17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 “You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 “Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 “Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 “If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”

I was reflecting on this passage from Exodus 18:17-22, and I was struck by how it is a story of self-care–Jethro teaching Moses how to better take care of himself. If Moses can’t take care of himself, then how can he lead the people his family, and others around him??

  1. When you push and push and push, you not only wear yourself out, but you wear out those around you as well.
  2. Some tasks are too heavy for us though and we need help….we can’t go it alone.
  3. Sometimes we need to listen to the counsel of others.
  4. You are to allow others to help you bear your burdens.

If we aren’t careful we can burn out those around us with our pace, and our inability to regulate our own self-care.  So what is keeping you from taking better care of yourself? Is there someone you need to listen to…perhaps someone who has been telling you to slow down, rest, etc?  Maybe it’s a spouse, co-worker or friend?

We need to listen to that counsel from others.  Maybe it’s time to let go and allow others to help you with something.  Maybe time for you to delegate and allow others to participate.  Maybe time for you to allow others to help bear your burdens.

One of the best things we can do for others, whether it’s at work as a leader, in church as a pastor, or at home as a parent and spouse is to take care of ourselves.  If we can’t take care of ourselves, then we also can’t model it for our family.

What kind of lifestyle of self-care does your children, spouse, friends, families see you model?  Would they want to emulate it?

Self-care is ultimately about letting go of the control in your life, and maybe the ego or pride that says only I can do this task.

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  2. by Hadassah on September 1, 2011  3:30 am Reply

    Hi Rhett! (adore your name by the way)
    I just started my grad program for MFT and one of our first presentations is about integration/self-care. Your blog was very helpful, thank you!

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