It was a solitary Friday night. My girls were in bed and my husband was night-fishing until the wee hours. My head was aching from too many hours in front of the computer that afternoon, and my pregnant body felt bone-tired.
Time for me, I thought as I considered how to spend my hour or so of quiet time.
I dug out a DVD set of one of my favorite shows, and made a chocolate cake in a mug. The recipe said two servings, so I counted the baby and me, sprayed whipped cream liberally, and dug in, watching drama unfold in the halls of a fashion magazine office.
An hour and a half later, my stomach was woozy and my brain numb from the superficial, petty antics of characters I used to think were hilarious. In short, I was sick on too much indulgence.
Our bodies need relaxation every once in a while. But instead of grabbing passing pleasures, we should seek true refreshment. No amount of sugar, chocolate, or mean-spirited comedy could have given me that. True refreshment only comes from the Lord.
Proverbs 3:7-8 says that if we trust in God’s wisdom instead our own and turn away from evil, we will receive healing and refreshment for our tired bodies and souls.
The other day, I treated myself to my traditional pre-baby pedicure. A teenaged girl getting neon pink toes sat next to me. While I was adjusting the massage settings on my chair, I overheard her mention starting college the next week, where I teach freshman English. Instead of immersing myself into my magazine and enjoying the massage, I spoke up, introducing myself.
It turns out, she was really nervous about starting school, and a member of another church of Christ in town. Rather than losing myself in total self-indulgence, I found myself delighting in encouraging this girl and giving her advice on how to get involved with the Student Bible Center and do well in college.
Instead of turning to ways we think will relieve our weariness, we should lose ourselves in Christian service: Jesus said He will take our burdens in exchange for His own easy one, and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28, 29).
Let’s not make excuses for reasons we need guilty pleasures, because that’s all they bring: guilt.
Give your body and mind the rest it needs, but do this in a way that strengthens and refreshes you for the next day. An opportunity to serve often comes in a form we don’t foresee or would even choose, but it always replenishes our souls when we step up and take it.
A handful of M&M’s and a good book would have given me all the indulgence I needed that night, but instead, I got greedy. Next time I have a free night, I’ll seek God’s version of refreshment instead of my own.
By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.