"On Earth as it is in heaven..."
The Life of Faith:
Self-care is every mental health bloggers favourite word. Scroll long enough through the catacombs of the feed, and it will pop up. I get it, and in many ways, I appreciate it. Caring for oneself allows you to thrive, and it grounds all the caring you do for other people. But it can also devolve into a very egocentric practice where love is no longer present, and what's left is a feeble attempt to provide supernatural support from the place of finitude.
This is why the Christian faith has survived for so long - implicit within the tradition is surrender. Surrender is self-care but within the context of a divine hierarchy. This is very different to speaking affirmations that you're enough or worthy. Surrender depends on a relationship with the highest possible value and everything along that continuum working to protect you. This divine hierarchy does two incredible things: firstly, the hierarchy protects you. It is not you and you, and it's you and God, and that relationship isn't one of power but of ability.
Knowing that you are residing within the protection of God, angels, saints, and communities is unbelievably freeing. It speaks to the single most significant loss of Protestantism - confession. Confession served as a practice to surrender your sins, not to a therapist who holds on to them, but to a priest who offers them to God and then shares that emotional burden with the community. You become protected and supported by the hierarchy.
Secondly, that hierarchy calls you to heaven. We conceptualise heaven as a place we go once we die, but that's wrong. Jesus repeatedly stated that He came to bring God's will, love, and peace to the earth. What happens when we die is irrelevant to the life of faith, as the life of faith is centred on the here and now, where surrender is self-care.
Personality Tests: No doubt you have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test. This test has been used and abused, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is not a good test for personality. To be fair, the test was created with now outdated statistical models. A much more comprehensive test that is generally agreed upon within clinical psychology is 'The Big Five" - a test that scores you along the personality traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (emotional stability). Where the MB test is full of positive words and outcomes, the big five being rooted in objective science is much more harsh, but unbelievably accurate. There is no hiding where your strengths and weaknesses exist. If you do the test within your partner, it can show you where you will have conflict and where to lean for strength. The best test available can be found at https://www.understandmyself.com/ which will help you grow and find self awareness more than you can ever imagine.
News: With many parts of the world still in lockdown, it's important to not allow yourself or those you know are in lockdown, to be isolated. We are not made to be in isolation. We are a highly social species that depends on the communities we form, and divorced from those, we become depressed and neurotic. Use social media, pick up a phone, download Discord and start a voice chat room with your friends to talk over a meal.
Culture: We play out our most important patterns and stories in the movies we consume. The hero's journey is an archetype that is so familiar to us that we take it for granted when speaking theoretically, but when you see it embodied, it brings you to your knees in pride. Watch "A Quiet Place Part II" this week reminded me of that spirit, when a person who otherwise would be an extra, takes up their cross, and pilgrims into hell to seek and save the lost. It's is a phenomenal movie, albeit frightening. Pay attention to the patterns of hero, feminine and masculine, and apocalypse.