Oasis Part 1: Physical and Emotional Oases

In our line of work as moms, and also as missionaries, our normal mode of operation can be a seeming continual pouring-out. We give time, hugs, love, discipline, pep-talks, advice, help, cookies, energy…. our lives. And this is as it should be! We were made for this lifestyle of giving! But our finite selves cannot give endlessly without being poured into and finding restorative oasis from time to time.

We will save the best for last in this series when it comes to the ultimate source of life, strength, and oasis rest, so right now I will only comment briefly on our dire need to be filled daily by the power of the Holy Spirit and to constantly be finding life in the Living Word.  Without regular communion with God, the source of life, any apparent oasis is nothing more than a mirage. We simply cannot be quenched apart from Him.

But God did not only make us spiritual beings. He made us physical and emotional beings as well (among other facets). At least in my own experience, it seems easy at times to recognize spiritual needs, but to downplay emotional or physical needs since they seem less important on an eternal scale. But each aspect of who we are is so intertwined with our spiritual self! I think verses like Mark 12:30 among others attest to how these things are interwoven. It is amazing the toll that sleep deprivation can take on me not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, not to mention other aspects of health such as diet and exercise.

Several months back I realized an emotional need for more fellowship with believers. I was in prayer and the word daily, listening frequently to great preaching, and feeling physically quite healthy, but relationally my life was lacking in meaningful connection with other believers. It had quite a profound affect on my overall state of being.

After recognizing this emotional need, my husband and I started putting a priority on meeting this need, knowing that not doing so would be potentially detrimental not only to me, but ultimately to the health of our whole family and even our family’s ministry. This meant restructuring some of our schedule to give me more time to connect with fellow believers. Coffee with friends, parties, and women’s events at church have needed to take priority over things that in the past would have seemed far more important. It has not only contributed to my emotional health, but my relationship with God and ability to love and serve others have also been greatly benefited.

Sometimes I think we can struggle to see taking care of ourselves and giving ourselves time to rest and be cared for as a legitimate priority. I definitely battled feelings of guilt as I left my hard working husband on kid-duty all day so I could go off and have a good time with friends. We can learn to operate in an outwardly selfless way most of the time, but what will be the effect on those whom we desire to serve if we end up coming to the end of our finite selves and begin to burn out?  Sometimes giving time, energy, money, whatever it may be, to caring for ourselves can help us regain strength to continue faithfully, joyfully, and sacrificially serving others. In my little example of making more time for friends, the result of doing this has meant that I have had greater strength to serve my husband and kids joyfully and to do more for them than when I was feeling emotionally depleted.

Would you take a little bit of time in the next day or week to pray and see if you may be in need of some physical or emotional oasis?  Are you feeling physically strained or unhealthy and are there ways that you might be able to reorganize priorities or change habits, even temporarily, in order to step toward greater health? How about emotionally? Do you need to seek solitude, or rest in order to regain emotional strength? Is there anything that you are struggling through for which you might need to seek encouragement our counsel? Are there other emotional struggles that you can identify in your life that perhaps you’ve been putting off dealing with?

Remember, seeking to attend to your own needs is not always a selfish thing! God is a loving father who deeply cares for the well-being of each one of us.  It is ok to receive grace and to accept opportunities to be refreshed.  I know that each one of us desires to bless and serve our families and those around us, but it is also necessary to make sure we are being filled and cared for.

How are you doing at taking care of yourself physically and emotionally? Would you like to share one way that you’d like to seek oasis in order to step toward even greater well-being? If you don’t struggle to attend to such needs, would you perhaps share encouragement as to what has helped you remain attentive to these needs for the sake of yourself and others ?

(Post by: Ashley)


14 Responses to “Oasis Part 1: Physical and Emotional Oases”

  1. 1 Kara Coe March 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I think the question of when I need physical and emotional oasis is a very important one, and tricky, too!

    Sometimes I think that I could easily live a life of leisure, reading, resting, drinking coffee and eating sweets, and never get tired of it. It’s so hard for me to know how much ‘rest’ I need. Often I return tired from outings that were meant to refresh me, and approach my children’s needs as more burdens to bear.

    It’s easier now that my kids are getting older, but when they were babies through preschoolers, my attitude was too often one of ‘escape’ and not of ‘energize’. Now, I seem to do better at engaging with them when I return, but I think that’s because they’re older. I have three hours with all kids out of the house every weekday, but still after the hour long picking up process, I just want to read a book or close my eyes for 15 minutes! Yet when they convince me to play a game with them, I do enjoy it. Somehow, what refreshes me is not usually what I feel like doing. And it’s hard for me to know how much the introvert in me just needs quiet, and how much I need to force myself to engage with people (i.e. my kids!).

    About your post Ashely, I think the need for fellowship is even deeper than emotional. When we are living in community, our spiritual and emotional needs are being met in unseen ways. And I’m so happy to get to have coffee with you occasionally!

  2. 3 Ashley L March 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I agree, Kara! I have had plenty of days where I’ve spent a good amount of time doing all of the things that I think will refresh me, only to find that they were not the things that I actually needed. Sometimes I think I need solitude, but I really need to experience the joy that comes through perseverance. Sometimes I think I need to keep pushing through, when really it would have been better to just stop and take a nap by faith! I’m behind you on the journey of being able to discern these needs correctly all of the time, but I think I’m making progress! At times it takes nearly as much prayer to discern physical and emotional needs as it does spiritual ones!

    And as for the need for fellowship, again, I couldn’t agree with you more about it being very much a part of our spiritual need (it’s Biblical of course). In the instance that I was sharing about it just manifested itself very much on an emotional level which is why I labeled it as such.

  3. 4 Betsy March 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Thanks for this good word! I’m on furlough now and am enjoying three weeks at my mother’s with no responsibilities other than homeschool. I’m realizing how much I needed this rest. It’s like taking a break from the rest of my life!

  4. 5 Jamie Jo March 23, 2012 at 1:28 am

    That’s funny. Someone linked me to your blog in a comment on mine, and I see someone here linked you to mine from yours. God must really want missionary women to hear this message this week!

    I’m glad to have found you today.

  5. 6 Jamie Jo March 23, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Oh, duh. I see it was Kara that linked us both ways. Thanks again, Kara. 🙂

  6. 7 Phyllis March 23, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I’m desperate in this area! But I don’t know what to do about it. I feel like I barely ever see anyone. I’ve felt that in the past, but this time it’s true. I go to church most Sundays, but lately that has been my ONLY contact with other people, and I’m busy with children even then. Between some odd dynamics in this church, homeschooling, and whatever else, I am just really stuck. Please pray for me!

  7. 8 Ashley L March 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Becky, I am so impressed that you are managing to find such a great and restful oasis on furlough! Praise God! That is always such a struggle for me!

    Jamie Jo, it is great to “meet” you! I had a nice time pursuing your wonderful blog today. How fun that God led us to share about similar topics at the same time! Also, I am a big fan of WOTH and am very much hoping to go to the Estonia retreat in October. It’s so close to where I am!

    Phyllis, I am so sorry to hear that community has been such a struggle. I will definitely be praying for you, my friend! I wish we lived a tad closer and could get together face-to-face! I am praying for God to provide fellowship and relationships and creative ideas for finding community that will work for you even despite the challenges that you are up against. Also, are you on the Women of the Harvest mailing list? They just announced a retreat for women serving in Eastern Europe and Russia this October in Estonia! I am planning to go (Oct. 18-21) and I hear that it is a wonderful time to connect with other women who are doing exactly what we are. It would be so fun to see you there! The conference is only $125 plus travel, but it is worth far more. =)

  8. 9 Phyllis March 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Yes, I’m on their mailing list, but I think they deliberately time their Eastern Europe retreats to match up with when I’m still nursing. 🙂 Well, not really, but I’ve always had a nursing baby when they have a retreat, and they’ve never had one when I’m free. Once I begged to be able to come with my baby and just stay in a separate room or something, and they said no. I understand, but I really wish…. Never mind. They’re reaching out to people in a different time of life than I’m in. 😦

  9. 10 Phyllis March 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Did you pray already?! My husband just told me that the ladies are meeting at church tonight to start the “Wisdom for Mothers” series of videos, and I’m going!

  10. 11 Ashley L March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Wow! Praise God, Phyllis!!! I did pray for you and I will continue to! Thank you so much for sharing this praise with us. I just love when God displays his loving care so evidently and I love that even though we are many miles and borders apart that we can rejoice in this with you. (Isaiah 12:5) Have a wonderful time connecting with the women in your church!

  11. 12 Kelly March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    for the physical side- this book is on sale today! Energy Explosion. http://arabahjoy.com/challenge-week-and-special-offer

    It is very insightful and helpful if you put it into practice!

  12. 13 Estella April 23, 2017 at 8:12 am

    i am sooo loving the posts you write about organic living. i have been learning so much from you. however, what is slightly upsetting is that i am in canada, and the shipping is too much for my blood for some of these prc..otsdu.gonna check this one out though…love your hair this way 🙂

  13. 14 doughnut shop hop for rent Gallatin, Tennessee May 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Tu n'as pas à t'excuser mais c'est gentil de le faire, ne t'inquiète pas, une semaine ou plus sans nouveau billet n'est pas la fin du monde !!! Prend soin de toi !

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