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About the Episode

Mom guilt. It’s real and it’s awful. We deal with it on a daily basis. We’re not doing enough, we’re not enough. And when we bring in the conversation of soul care, the mom guilt flares up. How can we focus on doing things that make us feel “alive” without being selfish or discontent? How can it be true that we both adore our kids and enjoy being their mom but also feel a nagging that something is missing? Today, we’re tackling this question, defining soul care a bit differently, and discussing how Sabbath both teaches us to embrace soul care and gives us a safe space in which to practice it. I hope you take a listen.

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You’re listening to episode 25 of the Simply Sabbath podcast.

Rest doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. If you feel like you’re about to break from exhaustion. Let me invite you to Simply Sabbath, a podcast for the burnt-out Christian mom, who longs to get back to the core of who she is and to reclaim the deep joy and stabilizing peace Jesus has for her in her every day– without the mom guilt that often accompanies self-care practices.

Hi, my name is Rachel Fahrenbach and I help busy moms just like you add a simple restful family Sabbath to their week. So they can experience a refueling that gives them exactly what they need to live the life that God has called them to. I’m so glad you’ve joined me today. Let’s get to it.

A few weeks ago here on the podcast, I defined what I consider self care, soul care and the Sabbath and how they differ from each other. And then last week I posed a question that I think many moms wrestle with is, am I being selfish ? Am I being selfish if I want to go get a manicure am I selfish, if I want to go do this Bible study? Does it matter which one I’m doing? Is one better than the other? And we kind of dived into scripture and saw that God cares for our physical wellbeing as well as our spiritual wellbeing.

And today I wanted to talk a little bit about mom guilt and why I think we struggle with mom guilt specifically in this idea of rest and work. And I want to define a little bit more of what I mean by soul care.

So I realized when I recorded the episode, self care, soul care and Sabbath and the differences and then when I recorded the episode, am I being selfish? I realized that I had missed a category or actually, I had lumped a couple of things into the same category. And so I wanted to dig into that a little bit, as well as pose this idea about why I think we, we struggle with mom guilt and maybe what we could do about it.

So, what I realized I had done with the category of soul care. Well, first let me say self care, just as a reminder, I define self care as the things that I do to care for myself. This is taking care of my physical needs. These are often daily and weekly and monthly routines such as taking a shower, eating your food, um, washing your clothes, uh, making sure you have clean clothes to wear, um, exercising, doing things that keep your mind sharp. Maybe like doing a, a word puzzle or something, things that care for your physical needs. Going for a haircut every six weeks, you know, making sure you go shopping occasionally and have clothes that don’t have holes in them, things like that. And I didn’t want to say that one is an extravagance over the other or that, um, you’re indulging yourself when you go get your nails done or you’re indulging yourself when you get your haircut. I don’t want to put that label on anything within that self care category. I think it’s really important that we care for this body that God has given us, because if we’re not feeding it properly and caring for it, you know, trimming our fingernails and just all these little things that are just little nuanced things, but we really should be doing them to help our bodies be healthy and just help us to, um, function well in the world. I think that we have a responsibility to that. I think that God asks that of us. And I think sometimes we as mothers, we neglect it because we feel like we don’t have time. And we’re going to get into that a little bit more in a minute. And so that’s what the self care side of things were.

And then I had the Sabbath, which I think is a practice that connects us to God connects us to each other. It is an exercise in trusting him to provide, even if we stop our production, we’re trusting him is an exercise in that it’s, it’s got much more spiritual implications than we can even fathom. There is something about Sabbath. It’s a gift to us. It allows our bodies to rest. It allows us to, to enjoy the world around us. It that whole stop and smell the roses because we often are too busy to do that in the world, but God is carving out a space for us to do that. That’s what Sabbath is. And it’s a practice in which self care and soul care can happen. But really it’s, uh, it’s this bigger concept than just taking care of our physical needs or taking care of our spiritual needs.

So that’s self care and that’s Sabbath. And then there’s soul care. And I’ve realized after recording those other two episodes, that I had lumped a couple of things into the soul care category. And I think from here on out, I’m going to refer to them a little bit differently.

So if I was to rerecord that episode, self care, soul care and the Sabbath, I think I would break spiritual wellness out from soul care. And I would say that that’s another category of needs that we need to attend to if we’re caring for ourselves in a holistic manner.

So what do I mean by spiritual wellness? Well, I would count bible study or studying the scriptures. I would count that, your prayer time, you know, both the time of praise and adoration as well, supplication, I would probably include going to a church or doing a small group. I’d probably include those into that spiritual wellness category too.

Essentially, I would put any kind of a discipline, spiritual discipline into that spiritual wellness category. In those activities, you are making sure that you understand your faith, you’re engaging your faith, and you’re surrounding yourself with a community who shares your faith. All those things will help you be spiritually healthy.

Now ,you might be thinking, well, what does that leave for the soul care category then Rachel? If you’ve taken all of that out, isn’t that what soul care is about? And I would say to you, no. I would say that soul care is more about operating within who God designed you to be.

It’s easy to look at soul care and say, well, that’s the spiritual side of life. And if I’m reading my Bible and praying every day and going to church and I’m going to grow, grow, grow. Remember that song from Sunday school? If you ever sing that, you might feel that way. Like I should be good because I am doing my Bible study, I’m praying, I’m engaging in Christian community. I’m doing life of other believers. I’m good. Right? I should be good, but here’s the reality. And I think we all know this as mothers, but we don’t necessarily have words to describe it. You could be caring for yourself physically, you could be eating healthy, you could be exercising, you could be, um, making sure that you are taking showers, you know, frequently and all the things. You could be taking care of your spiritual needs, you could be going to church. You could be praying every day. You could be reading your Bible and there still will be a nagging, a nagging that says:

I don’t feel like myself. I feel like I’ve lost myself. I don’t necessarily feel like I am doing the thing that I’m supposed to do, but yet I am. And this is where the mom guilt comes in sometimes is when we start to contemplate this idea of maybe there’s something more that I want because now, oh my gosh, we’ve, we’ve stepped into the territory of contentment, right? And how many of you have heard the phrase? “You just need to pray for contentment? As mothers, we have a lot in this season, we need to sacrifice and just pray for contentment in this season. Just be content where you’re at in life.”

That’s not contentment folks. That’s settling. Just settle for what you have right now. And don’t expect anything more. That is what really, what people are saying when they say, just pray for contentment. Now, I, I need to make a little caveat right here.

Like I, I do like, right, because not being content with things is there is a reality that we really do need to be praying for contentment. If you’re longing after a bigger house, and maybe I should go back to work full time instead of being a stay at home mom, because I want a bigger house, I’m not going to say that’s wrong, but I’m also going to say, like, that’s something that’s between you and the Lord. And only you can define whether or not you are being discontent in the season of life, or if you are not stewarding the giftings within you and the call of God has on your life. Only you can decide that I can’t decide that for you and nobody else can either.

And some of you just heard that example went well, that is obviously a form of Discontentment and others of you’re like, well, no, it’s not a form of Discontentment. I want a bigger home for my family because we’re all on top of each other and it’s causing, you know, Breakdowns in relationship because we’re just kind of, we just are always on top of each other and we feel like we can’t function.

You know what? There are many solutions to a problem. And I think part of our calling as Christians is to prayerfully consider what it is that God wants us to do in solving those solutions. But that’s a podcast for another day. And so I want to steer our conversation back to this idea of caring for our souls. What does that mean?

I think that we all know as moms and I think this is why things like me-time pop-up. We instinctively know that we are suppressing something throughout the time of our kids being littles at home and middles and even high schoolers we suppressed and we say, We need to take care of the needs of our kids first and then once they’re gone, we can go back to doing the thing that we want to do, but until they leave our home, our time is not our own. But as we function through motherhood, we start to recognize, oh my gosh, I’m missing the woman I was, I missing the dreams that I had. I’m missing engaging the world in the way that I am uniquely designed to engage it. I feel like I’m missing a part of myself. I feel like I don’t recognize myself. I feel like I’ve lost myself. I feel like my life does not belong to me.

I think that’s what soul care is about. I think it’s caring for our essence, our being. And I know you might be tempted to say, well, no, that’s, God’s job to take care of our, our essence and our being. And I would argue that no, God has given us the responsibility to steward the person that he’s made us to be. He has called us to steward, the giftings, to steward our personality, to, to grow in those different ways that he’s designed us. To create in the way that he has designed us to create. To serve in the way that he’s designed us to serve. He’s given us giftings skillsets talents interests dreams. He’s given all of that to us.

He did not give it to us and say, okay, for the next 20 something years, I want you to just suppress all of it. We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he predetermined for us to walk in. If we don’t walk in those things that he has for us, we’re not being good stewards of the life he’s given us.

Now I want you to hear me in this. I am not saying that that has to look the same for everyone. I am not saying that you have to work outside the home. I’m not saying that you have to have a business inside your home.

I’m not saying you have to homeschool. I’m not saying you have to send your kids to public school. I am not saying that you have to do any thing. I’m not saying you have to do anything. I am saying that you, well, I guess I am saying one thing I am saying that you have to care for your soul.

And when I say you have to care for your soul, what I mean is that you have to say no to others who have a demand on your time in order to carve out a space for you to steward this gift that God has given you to steward the giftings that he has given you.

It can be really hard to push against that norm and really hard to push against the mom guilt that is going to inevitably creep up. When you start doing this. Because you have been wired to think that unless you are catering to– not in a way that makes our kids spoiled– but just catering to every demand that is put on you as a wife, mother, and woman. Unless you are catering to every demand, put on your life as a wife, mother, and woman, you have somehow failed. You are not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And there is guilt and shame that comes from that thought process.

I think that we instinctively know that there’s something, there’s something more that isn’t supposed to be suppressed for 20 years until our kids are grown. We just, we know there’s something there, but we’re not quite sure what it is. And I would suggest to you that Sabbath reminds us what it is.

Sabbath reminds us that we were originally intended to work in the garden alongside of God in Eden, you know, in this garden kingdom that God had designed. He had created this world and he placed Adam and Eve in it. And he said rule and subdued and multiply and tend to this place and create. And then rest with me and enjoy this creation that we have together.

That is our purpose in life. Our purpose as humanity was to cultivate alongside of God and tend to this world and then rest with him and enjoy it. And so when we consider that Sabbath identity, this idea that we were supposed to be co-rulers in the garden kingdom, we can start to see that our souls were purposed with giftings and skillsets and abilities and functions and passions to continue to cultivate the space that we’ve been placed into. This garden kingdom that is broken and is damaged, but one day will be restored. And so right now, as we’re in this garden and it’s full of weeds and thorns we are tending to it.

And we’re pulling those weeds in those thorns out of this garden. But one day Jesus will return and he will restore it to the beauty and the splendor that it was originally intended to be. And until that day happens, we are tasked with cultivating in whatever way we can, tending to it in whatever way we can. And that is where our soul engages the space, this world that we are inside of, our souls engage with it. We cultivate beauty and goodness and peace and generosity and all these things that point back to the character of God.

We do not have to be in ministry to do this. I am not suggesting that at all. But we are called to this work. Every single one of us are called to this work call to engaging the world in the way that we are uniquely designed and placed into this space to do.

And you better believe that our secular culture does not want Christian moms engaging this world in the way that they were designed to do. You better believe that our secular culture wants us just focusing inward, just worrying about the next thing that we need to do, because if we are too busy to care for our soul’s engagement with the world, then we will be too busy to make an impact that points people back to Jesus.

I feel like I need to stop here and say: do not misunderstand me and think that I’m saying that if you are not doing X, Y, and Z, you’re not pointing people back to Jesus do not, please do not misunderstand me and think I’m missing the point that our kids are, that it’s important that we’re cultivating our children’s spiritual lives. I believe that a hundred percent. But I do not believe that that is the only thing that we are called to do. I do believe that that is just one facet. They are just one part of this bigger cosmos this bigger world. They are an important part and they are, I would say priority number three, you know, after you and God and you and your spouse, and then you and them, that relationship is so, so vitally important.

But, how can we teach our children to go out and have an impact on the world if they don’t see us doing it first? How can we teach our daughters to be movers and shakers for the kingdom– and I don’t mean in big, huge ways, but even in the subtlest of littlest of the ways, how do we teach them to be lights, beacons in a dark world, if we ourselves are not doing it? We are created in the image of God. Our soul is created in the image of God. And if we are not stewarding that in a way that shows people reflect that to the world around us, we are missing the point.

We are missing the point.

And so, I would encourage you to care for your soul. When I talk about this, I get this image of a machine. And I think we, as women, we are this machine that has been designed to function a certain way. It has a purpose and it’s been firing up, has been going right and it’s been producing and it’s been doing the thing that is operating in its design, as its creator has designed it to do.

And we are like that pretty much throughout our childhood and our high school years. And then in college even, and we get out of college and we start pursuing these interests and these goals and these dreams and we’re moving along and then we meet our spouse. And then sometimes our production keeps going, our machine wheels keep turning and we’re doing the thing that we’ve been designed to do. Sometimes we slow down that and then kids come along and it slows down even more. And I’m not saying that that is wrong sometimes that it’s very necessary, but you slow down, you slow down and then at some point you just stop and the machine’s not going anymore.

When that happens, it’s a little rough to get that machine going again, right. You’re going to have to oil it, especially when it’s been sitting. And the longer it’s been sitting, the longer you have been neglecting your soul and the way that God’s designed you, the more you’ve neglected that, the harder it is to get it started back up.

Here’s my suggestion to you: set aside time within the space of Sabbath to engage your soul. And I do believe that when you start to engage your soul, you are going to reconnect with God in a whole new way. When you operate in the way that your creator has designed you to operate you connect with Him in a whole new way. And so I would suggest in your Sabbath practice, because honestly it’s going to take a lot of work for you to start saying no to the outside world to the good things that you are doing so that you can engage this design of yours, and there is a huge amount of mom guilt that you’re going to get hit with because of this belief system that you’ve had, that you need to suppress who you are in order to serve the people around you. It just it’s going to come at you.

And so I would suggest that you start practicing small and practicing in the safe space that is Sabbath. You’re going to engage your soul here in the safe space of Sabbath, because there’s no expectation of producing. In the safe space of Sabbath, you are allowed to just play. And I think play is a beautiful space where we just operate in who God designed us to be without the pressure to perform.

So within your Sabbath practice, I want you to designate one hour, just one hour, let’s just start there. One hour to do whatever you want. Now I say it that way, because I, I think that we know when we hear it that way, we’re like, oh yeah, if I could do whatever I wanted without needing to worry about anybody else, I probably would do this or I might do this. Only, you know, like, I can’t say to you: this is a way in which you engage the world or that’s just a selfish desire. I don’t think there is a, a measurement for that when it comes to soul care. I just, I don’t, because there have been things that like, fire-up my sister and make her fully come alive that I’m just like, uh, I don’t know how you can get so excited about that thing. But it is her to a T and she loves it. I can’t define for you what that thing is, but I think when you hear the, the question, “what is it that I want to do during this one hour?” there’s just something inside of you that responds to that.

And it can feel selfish because that’s kind of what we’ve been trained to think of it as is like “me time.” and, um, you know, this very self centered, self-focused aspect of life. But I think that that is Satan’s way of controlling the narrative on our desire to do the thing that God has called us to do. Our desire to operate in the way that God has designed us. I mean, God has given you your personality and your interests and all of those things. So of course you would want to say, okay, I’ve got an hour, what do I want to do? Like how, like, how can I have fun? Let’s start there!

I once asked this question on Instagram. What is something that you enjoyed doing as a kid that you have just let go of over the years? And why do you think you enjoyed doing it? Like now that you’re an adult and you can look back on it, how, you know, what do you think what’s kind of at the essence of that?

And the answers were fascinating. When we used to play as kids, we used to operate in our design in a very organic way. And so that’s what we’re talking about right now. We’re talking about allowing in the safe space of Sabbath ourselves to play again in order to engage our souls, engage our unique design, engage the way that God has designed us.

So pick an hour and I want you to actually say what that hour is. So if your practice starts at, you know, Friday at 5:00 PM and goes until Saturday at 5:00 PM, I want you to pick which hour.

So at noon on Saturday it’s mom’s hour. It’s mom’s hour to do whatever it is that she wants, to just play. And I want you to have fun with it and to enjoy it because that’s what God wants from you too. Like I just know as a writer, when people engage with my work and they, and they interact with it in it, it does what it’s supposed to do, it makes me so happy and it makes me feel the sense of pride. Right? I think God looks on us that way too. When we’re doing the thing that he’s designed us to do, when we are operating in our design, I think he smiles on that. I think he’s proud of that. He’s saying, look, my creation is doing the thing that’s supposed to do! And it’s reflecting me, reflecting my image in that.

Well, that was a lot but I do hope that it is helpful. And I do hope that it kind of distinguishes a little bit more what do I mean by soul care. And I hope that it helps you not neglect who you are and who God designed you to be.

So I’ll leave you with this question to ask yourself this week: how can I practice caring for my soul during my next Sabbath? I’ll see you next time. Bye.

Hey, I just want to say thank you for joining me for today’s conversation. I know many things demand your attention. I don’t take lightly the privilege it is to share your time. I want to make things as easy and simple for you. So I’ve linked to all the resources mentioned in the episode in the show notes, and you can always find the link and more helpful information on my website, www.rachelfahrenbach.com.

As we say our goodbyes, let me remind you that what we’re talking about in this podcast is not just another thing to add to your to-do list. This is not another expectation for you to live up to. It is a gift out stretched from the hand of your creator. An invitation to press pause on walking alongside Jesus in all the things He’s called you to do. And instead the down, across from Him and just be with Him.

It is an invitation to Simply Sabbath.

 

Resources

Episode 16: Self-care, Soul-care, and Sabbath

Episode 22: Am I Being Selfish?

 

Now What?

Ask yourself this question: How can I practice caring for my soul during my next Sabbath?

Want to practice Sabbath but don’t know where to start? Grab this free guide: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath

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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!

I help busy moms add a simple, rest-filled family Sabbath to their week. If that sounds like something you want for your week, but don’t know where to start, grab this free how-to resource: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath.

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