From Nancy Jean Whitehead...

Dear Friends I am sitting in front of a friend's computer in the Waikato trying to think what to write about this month. I am enjoying a few day's holiday and catching up with old friends. Sometimes it is really good to move out of our usual context and away from the most immediate needs for a few days. Seeing things from a distance and talking with different people can put quite a different perspective on our lives and can help us sort out what is important and what really doesn't matter.

Sometimes we are so close to a problem that it can be almost overwhelming but when we can move a little further away we may see things quite differently. It is also good to not feel guilty about sleeping in in the morning and to be free of diary commitments for a few days. Many of us are not particularly good at caring for ourselves. It is often something that has been drilled into us from childhood - you look after others before you think of yourself. Yet if you have flown anywhere recently you will know from the safety video that if an oxygen mask is needed you are instructed to do your own first before helping someone else.

Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment. He replied "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." Then he added "and the second commandment is this: Love your neighbour as you love yourself." In other words you must care for yourself before you can care for others. If we don't take time out for ourselves to rest and refresh ourselves, then we very soon will be no good to anyone else. But isn't that being selfish? No! I believe it is being a true follower of Jesus.

When we read the Gospels we see a man who worked incredibly hard, who met the needs of people where they were, but who also went away by himself to quiet places and also spent time in prayer. When the disciples returned from their first missionary journey, Jesus took them to the other side of the lake, away from the people, so they could rest and talk about what they had experienced. So I encourage to take time for yourself, have fun and don't feel guilty about it.