Sound like a super weird question?
Well, about nine months ago, I was working with my awesome counselor. She asked me to look at my schedule. I thought— “YUMMY! We are talking my kinda talk.”
You have probably already picked up on the fact that I love systems and plans and to-do lists. I love scheduling. In fact, when I worked in the marketplace, I was in charge of scheduling at each of my jobs. Want to romance me? Don’t send roses unless you send a planner with them! Haha!
So, I pulled out my schedule and planner to let her peek inside of my life.
She asked me about how much time I spent each day the different things I do:
- Quiet Time
- Time for me
- Time for my health and fitness
I felt pretty good about it. I had given a lot of time through the years to my schedule. But, what happened totally messed me up and changed my life trajectory.
I could see her calculating all of my time.
She looked up and asked, “Cindy, do you realize that your average day is around 18-20 hours per day?”
She asked, “And…your work and ministry are MINISTRY?”
She asked the most stinging question I have ever been asked, “Do you realize that although your quiet time is great, it is not even 10% of your day? How can you get full yourself and have enough to pour out into others?”
She spotted my gap.
She spotted the hole in all that I was doing.
Then, she shared an illustration.
She said that she saw me as a person who probably has made cookies for E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E else for years, yet never ate them for myself. I might sneak them here or there, but I was giving ALL my cookies to everyone around me, often without even tasting them myself.
Then, she came in with a request that literally made my entire being twist and shout!
Yes, she asked me to spend the next period of time – indefinitely – not sharing “my cookies” with anyone else.
I instantly reminded her that I was in business/ministry. I had to develop fresh content. Wrong. She said to repurpose for a little while. OUCH!
I then reminded her that I was in school. I had to study and write for my courses. Wrong. She said that I could not count that as MY COOKIES. If I wanted to count that as a batch of cookies, I had to carry it into the quiet, sacred, secret place with God AND eat those cookies! Ha! She is obviously a tough cookie herself!
So, then I reminded her that I pour into the lives of people without even thinking about it. WRONG. She said, feel free but just don’t share my cookies.
I was twisting and turning inside.
If I could describe myself, I was like a little girl who simply was not hearing what I wanted.
Then, I asked, how long were we going to do this?
She smiled and said that we would see how long, that she would let me know when it was time for me to share cookies again.
So, she gave me the rules (which she obviously knew I would follow):
I was to get “cookies” every day.
I could eat them all in one sitting, one at a time throughout the day, or all along the way.
Don’t share ANY of these cookies with anyone until further notice.
I was honestly afraid that this one request was going to be the hardest thing she had ever asked me.
- I can read books.
- I can make phone calls.
- I can go to dinner with people.
- I can serve people.
- But…eat my own cookies. Well….
Oh! I barely left my room when I caught myself about to share my cookies.
I was in trouble! This was going to be very, very difficult.
I cannot begin to tell you how this one thing confronted me. I really don’t know how many weeks we continued this. I do remember about 3-4, maybe 5 that it was an issue. The first few weeks I kept asking her if I could start to share my cookies again. The answer was, “No. Not yet.”
Want to know when she let me share them? Never.
I just got it!
I realized that I had been so busy doing what so many of us do. It is as if it is noble and better and more godly and more sacrificial to give everything that we get.
We miss that no one wants what we will not “eat” ourselves.
We miss that if we don’t have something for ourselves, we cannot truly give from an overflow. And, that is God’s design.
First, I realized that I had been so public for so long (since childhood) that I was not having my own private.
Private is secluded.
Private is sacred.
Private is essential
I am not the first and I will not be the last to struggle in this area. Go back in time to John 6.
Do you remember this passage? Jesus and His disciples had just fed FIVE THOUSAND. Think about that one again. What a days work!
They fed them physically and then they fed them spiritually.
Look at John 6:
“The apostles [who had been sent out on a mission] gathered together with Jesus and told Him everything that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat. 32 And they went away by themselves in the boat to a secluded place.”
Did you catch that? There were ministering “continually.” There was so much going on—coming and going—that they could not even find time to eat.
Wait here for a moment.
That was ME. Ever been there yourself?
Of course. We all have been there. Why else would this passage be so specific? Nothing that Jesus did was by accident. He only did what the Father told Him to do. He only said what the Father told Him to say. This was a discipleship moment. It was a discipleship lesson because this is EXACTLY where we will find ourselves.
So, then, He modeled before them what they were to do in the midst of ministry demands—Come away my beloved!
- Come away to rest—get a real rest.
- Come away to take a break.
- Come away to learn.
- Come away to retreat, refresh, renew, and refuel.
- Come away to be fed – eat your cookies that are ALL YOURS!
I love how the Passion Translation pulls us into Mark 6:31:
“There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.”
Ever experienced that swirling of activity?
If you have done anything eternal, you have felt that swirling of activity.
It is in that activity that we miss it.
Sure, we have to be ALL THERE.
But, we cannot care for others if we are not taking care of OURSELVES.
That brings me to a passage that really wrecks me and takes me to my second lesson that God gave me…
Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 2:21:
“You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?”
The Passion Translation really confronts us:
“So let me ask you this: Why don’t you practice what you preach?”
Ok. Let me take a liberty with this Scripture to get into your business. 🙂
Sweet friend, whatever it is that you are called to do, you need to PRACTICE on yourself first!
This is YOUR COOKIES!
- Are you called to worship—do YOU worship for yourself? In the private moment. Away. Secluded. In a sacred outpouring and personal soaking? You, then, who worship for others, do you not worship for yourself?
- Are you called to teach—do YOU learn anything just for YOU? Is it all for ministry? Is it all for business? Is it all to be seen or spoken for others? Or, is there a time that you are learning just for you? Is there something that is sacred and secret that is just between you and God? You, then who are teaching others, how long has it been since you learned just for YOU!
- Are you called to minister through the prophetic word or word of knowledge—do you hear God for YOU? Do you ever sit before Him to let Him tell you His secret and sacred passions for you? Do you ever press in and hear His Word for you? Do you let Him tell you things just for you that no one else hears about? How long has it been?
- Are you called to encourage and exhort others—do you encourage and exhort yourself? Have you run around tired and weary and in deep need of encouragement, when He is beckoning you and wooing you to come to Him and refuel, refresh, and renew? How long has it been since you pressed into His presence only for yourself?
- Are you called to help—do YOU experience God’s help FIRST!!! Do you struggle with accepting help, even from God? Even the way HE wants for you to experience it? Do you HELP YOURSELF? Does it hurt and stretch you to let God help YOU? Does it only feel good when you are helping? Are you pushing away His ministry to you? How long has it been since you have truly accepted and enjoyed His help for YOU alone?
- Are you called to serve—do you LET God serve YOU? Does that idea just mess you up? Do you serve yourself? Are you distracted by all of the things that need to be done? Are you doing what is really needed…or running away from it?
We just come back around to Matthew 11:28-30. Look at it in the Amplified Bible:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
Come to HIM.
Come to Jesus.
Learn from HIM
Look at this passage in The Message:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Oh! And…The Passion Translation:
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”
Do you remember how Jesus did it?
Do you remember how He did all of the things that God called Him to do?
Do you remember His secret to being all there all of the time?
We learn from Him.
This is not just HOW we teach.
This is not just HOW we minister.
This is not just WHAT we teach.
This is how we take care of ourselves.
This is how we let others in the Body take care of us!
Now, before I dig into the next few verses, I want for you guys to know that I am fully aware of Mark 10:45 that says that Jesus did not come to BE SERVED, but to serve and give His life for ransom, but I want to take you somewhere that I think will help you to take better care of YOURSELF!
Soooo…..Do you remember how Jesus did it?
We don’t just learn WHAT we teach.
We don’t just learn from Him how to…
We also learn from Him how we take care of ourselves.
We also learn from Him how to be vulnerable and let others in the Body take care of us! Yep! Look at Scripture again…
- Think about Luke 7 as Mary washed His feet.
- Think about Luke 19:1-10 when Jesus let Zachaeus minister to him by preparing a meal.
- Think about Mark 15:41 when the women ministered to HIM—they travelled with Him and look at this “They followed Him and MINISTERED to Him.”
- Think about Luke 8:3 – they supported Him financially (Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, Susanna, and many others).
I don’t know about you, but I struggle in this area. I am learning how to do it better. But, can I ask you:
Are you letting others minister to YOU?
Are you being real?
Are you being vulnerable?
Are you being a part of the body or cutting yourself OFF?
Let me share one passage that you need to really remember, especially during these days when there is so much warfare. Take a look at 1 Peter 5:
“Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith. For you know that your believing brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing the same kinds of troubles you endure.”
SO….how do we KNOW what others are experiencing? How do we stay strong TOGETHER? Read it again in The Amplified Bible:
“Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].”
Look at this passage again in The Passion Translation:
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith.”
Here is where it starts…
Eat your own cookies! Accept the cookies when others share with you. Then, you will find that God will bless you with even more so you can share the overflow with those around you! 🙂
Eat Your Own Cookies!
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