According to Mr. Noah Webster, the word “nurture” means “to nourish, educate, train or bring up”. Thinking about this, I thought about nurturing our children and people who nurture plants. For me, I was good at nurturing children, but could kill a plant in less than a week. No amount of talking or singing to a plant would have nurtured a plant to health. Trust me!
We nurture our kids in many ways. We feed them, clean them, provide a place for them to live, help them to grow up to live a fruitful life in society and hopefully become independant adults. We bring them up to believe and live for Jesus and learn His principles. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Prov. 22:6
Wait a minute! What about all those kids who have now turned their back on God in their adulthood? Sometimes, kids who were raised in the church see their parents sitting in church and then see what they are really like at home, so they feel all Christians are hypocritical. Sometimes they see their parents sounding and acting like the Pharisees; acting superior, being overly legalistic and having critical spirits. These kids will either be just like their parents or step away from anything that looks like a Christian or with religious ties. I have seen this endless times. We all know that Christians are not perfect or even more “perfect’ than unbelievers, but sometimes we need to evaluate what people’s (Christian or not) perceptions of us are.
In “Chained No More” classes, I have seen more and more participants who just try to survive day by day with the hurts and issues they carry through decades of their lives. Many feel there is no hope and they will never be able to feel free of those chains. Many have just accepted where they are and stop reaching for healing. A good example of this is someone who only listens to sad songs when they are depressed or hard, banging music when they are angry. In essence, just feeding their hurts. One participant, who was greatly abused by many in her life, said she watches movies about abuse because when she did, she could “cry for others when she can’t cry for herself”. She stays in the swirl of hurt by feeding her mind with painful visuals.
Learning to nurture yourself can come in many forms. Here are a few:
- Listening to worship music when feeling down
- Knowing the Scriptures that will raise you out of depression
- Going for a walk or working out when you are angry
- Going out with a friend or two when feeling lonely
- Going to a park to feed the ducks or drive to a lake, ocean or river when feeling closed in
- Knowing when you need to be with people/family and when it wouldn’t be good to do that
To begin with, you need to spend enough time knowing yourself and what you need to bring you back to being positive. Be more sensitive and notice how you are feeling and then fill yourself with things, songs, books, experiences of God to soothe your soul and give you hope. Don’t ignore it and what you are feeling. It is important. “Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5a
We have all been through dips in our spiritual life and it can get to the point of feeling like we are thirsty in a desert for things of God. Maybe we stopped having quiet time with Him or spent less and less time praying. Maybe we stopped going to church and getting fed while connecting with other believers. Maybe God has become so far down on our priority list, that we barely think about Him anymore. Many times we can misinterpret happiness for the joy of the Lord. Think about that.
Maybe you need to evaluate how you are being nurtured in every way? What “nutrients” are you lacking? What would nurture and nourish you again so you are strong, joyful, and vibrant? Nurture yourself after you ask the Lord God how and see what He says and what He shows you. Then, put feet to it. Let’s go!