Tuesday, February 20
Self-Denial vs. Self-Care
Day 6—Read Luke 5
The season of Lent often conjures up images of self-denial. No watching Netflix or eating dark chocolate for you! But tucked in the middle of today’s passage of Scripture lays a subtle, but important invitation for self-care.
Luke records several stunning events in chapter 5. He starts with Jesus guiding a handful of hardcore anglers on a fishing trip that most only dream of experiencing, and then calling them to follow Him into a similar but different vocation (Luke 5:1-11). He follows that up with healing a man from one of the worst diseases in that day—leprosy (Luke 5:12-15).
As Jesus sought to keep a lid on His swelling popularity, Luke writes, “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Luke’s gospel account tracks Jesus’ travels around the countryside of Judea as He went about the mission of revealing the good news—the arrival of God’s kingdom coming to earth (Luke 4:42–43). Luke notes that Jesus also took the time to take care of Himself through prayerful solitude. Not occasionally—He sought it “often.”
Often. Let that word sink in. The word implies solitude was part of Jesus’ regular pattern. He needed it to be—as do we.
Solitude is getting away and getting quiet. To feel, think, and pray. To collect ourselves, recharge and regroup. To wrestle and get back on track when we lose our way. To listen to the still small voice of the One who made us for Himself and His kingdom.
We have more to offer others when we take care of ourselves. But solitude won’t magically fall from the sky like manna from heaven. We have to practice it intentionally.
Start thinking about a space you can get quiet and alone. Consider going for a walk in the woods or through your favorite park. Slip into the back corner of your house or your favorite coffee shop. Find a space for your prayerful solitude and just be.