Don’t Be Cruel to a Heart That’s True!

by Joan C Webb on February 25, 2012

This morning I read the following devotional* by author Joan C. Webb. (I just want to tell her “Thanks, I needed that!” LOL!) Actually, this story reminds me of Elvis Presley’s song, “Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.” And that heart would be my own! (Or in your case, Reader-Friend, your own heart!)

I sat in a lovely old library surrounded by the written wisdom of well-known Bible scholars. Pulling a book from the shelf, I settled into an over-stuffed chair to read. Sounds pretty good, huh? But these words glared at me from the page: “Christians may burn out, but they must not rust out.” The author probably meant that it’s better to act than not, yet I winced because this statement used to be my unspoken creed. Practicing it caused me to become a walking dead person. What good was I to anyone then?

Adhering to this philosophy (which as a teenager I adopted from my mentors), I assisted, befriended, encouraged and nurtured others, yet neglected myself. In his book, Burnout, Myron Rush explains, “When you burn both ends of a candle, it may produce twice as much light, but the candle burns out twice as fast. People . . . discover that all of their mental, emotional and physical energies have been consumed.”

You and I are part of God’s creation, just like the people we serve. Our souls are nourished when treated with kindness, and they’re destroyed when we’re cruel to ourselves. How do I know? (Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel. Proverbs 11:17, TLB) 

We respond to life with less anxiety and greater joy when we’re considerate not only of others, but of ourselves, as well. (Indeed, I needed to be reminded of this today! How about you?)

Will you join me in choosing at least one small way to nourish yourself this week? I’m thinking about it right now. Hmmm. What will I decide? I’ll let you know.


*Adapted from It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life by Joan C. Webb (released by Regal Books.) 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindy Combs February 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Joan, this is so powerful. Jesus certainly did talk about a candle in the Sermon on the Mount. There is soooo little teaching about self care, but soooo much about dying to self. It is amazing that when we care for ourselves ~for the purpose of being more equipped for the glory of the Father, as opposed to just pleasing ourselves, then we increase the channels for the rivers of living water to flow. We must present our bodies as living sacrifices, not dead martyrs. Love is such a huge secret, in any form. Revelation from the Potter is always needed…at least that is what I have personally observed.

Joan C. Webb February 29, 2012 at 11:55 am

Ahh, thanks for your comments, Lindy. Sounds like you’re valuing self-care! Smile-able.

tentmaker March 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hi Joan!
thank you so much for adressing those things again…
at this point of my life i’m involved in ministry more than ever before and more confused and hungry than ever before. busyness is like a painkiller, and it helps for a while, but it has its side effects. and i realize that now, but can’t help myself anyway. so i just bounce between excited kid jumping and dead man walking all the time. i’d love to trust church leaders or anyone else to help me figure things out, but they reinforce the same attitude…
what do you actually mean my nourishment, as in your suggestion at the end?

Joan C. Webb March 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I have to agree that sometimes church leaders aren’t all that adept at setting boundaries with busyness and self-care. However, there are some who desire to live in the “rest of God.” Just wondering if you’ve read the book called The Rest of God. It is written by a pastor.

About nourishing your own soul (which is your total being). Actually, I’m doing that this week by spending some time away at Strawberry Retreat Center, just reading, napping, lolly-gagging and praying.

When you and I nourish ourselves, we feed, nurture, encourage, affirm and spend time with ourselves. Doing what we like to do. Nurturing our gifts, interests, hobbies. Spending time with God, not just in gaining more info/knowledge. We give ourselves permission to sleep well, exercise, eat well, breathe more deeply, relax, say no when it is wise to do so and say yes when it makes sense. We’re honest about what hurts us and about what we need/want/desire. We rest instead of strive. And we let ourselves off the hook for trying to do it all, give it all, fix it all and not doing it all “just right.” We know we can’t do this all perfectly and that sometimes we’ll slip up. Sometimes we’ll get caught up in the over-extending. Then we give ourselves grace. Just as Jesus does. I sure don’t do this flawlessly. I think I’m talking to myself here! LOL But you asked…

Joan C. Webb March 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm

So how have your nourished yourself this week?

tentmaker March 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

thank you for explaining it more! i havent read the book The Rest of God, but i heard a teaching about it from Barry Adams (Fatherheart ministries) on the internet. he was talking about waiting and resting. it is a struggle for me, i alsways feel like i have to do somehing…
yesterday night i was resting and nourishing :) i was supposed to have a meeting at my place, but people didnt manage to come. so instead i was skyping my close friend i haven’t talked to for weeks, listening to an encouraging teaching, and knitting a little sheep from some wool leftovers :)
what about you?

Joan C. Webb April 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Sounds like you had a nourishing, rather relaxing and re-energizing evening on March 16! hope you’ve had several more since then.

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