GPS | Week of January 17, 2021
Weekly Grow-Pray-Study Guide
This week we explored the heart of self-care, which does not mean "me first" but "me too," by looking at the examples set for us by Moses and Jesus.
Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength.
Self-Care for a Happier & Healthier New Year
READ | Scripture Readings
You are encouraged to use the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina as you read this week's scripture passages.

Try reading each scripture through 3 times, aloud if possible. (You may want to choose one scripture a day)
  • Pause when a word or phrase seems to “jump out” or “shimmer” as you read.
  • Why does that word or phrase seem to stand out?
  • What is God saying to you in this moment? What action is God calling you to?

Exodus 18:13-23
13 The next day Moses sat as a judge for the people, while the people stood around Moses from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people are standing around you from morning until evening?”
15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When a conflict arises between them, they come to me and I judge between the two of them. I also teach them God’s regulations and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing isn’t good. 18 You will end up totally wearing yourself out, both you and these people who are with you. The work is too difficult for you. You can’t do it alone. 19 Now listen to me and let me give you some advice. And may God be with you! Your role should be to represent the people before God. You should bring their disputes before God yourself. 20 Explain the regulations and instructions to them. Let them know the way they are supposed to go and the things they are supposed to do. 21 But you should also look among all the people for capable persons who respect God. They should be trustworthy and not corrupt. Set these persons over the people as officers of groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 22 Let them sit as judges for the people at all times. They should bring every major dispute to you, but they should decide all of the minor cases themselves. This will be much easier for you, and they will share your load. 23 If you do this and God directs you, then you will be able to endure. And all these people will be able to go back to their homes much happier.”

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2   He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; 
3   he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
  for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
  I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
  your rod and your staff—
  they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
  in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
  my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
  all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
  my whole life long.  

Mark 1:29-38
29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. 31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.
32 That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered near the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him. 35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. 36 Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37 When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!”
38 He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.”

Acts 6:1-7
About that time, while the number of disciples continued to increase, a complaint arose. Greek-speaking disciples accused the Aramaic-speaking disciples because their widows were being overlooked in the daily food service. 2 The Twelve called a meeting of all the disciples and said, “It isn’t right for us to set aside proclamation of God’s word in order to serve tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, carefully choose seven well-respected men from among you. They must be well-respected and endowed by the Spirit with exceptional wisdom. We will put them in charge of this concern. 4 As for us, we will devote ourselves to prayer and the service of proclaiming the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the entire community. They selected Stephen, a man endowed by the Holy Spirit with exceptional faith, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 The community presented these seven to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 God’s word continued to grow. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased significantly. Even a large group of priests embraced the faith.
REFLECT | Reflection Questions
These questions can be used as personal reflection questions, prompts for journaling, or as discussion questions with a friend or small group.
  • When have you set aside or postponed your own need for self-care? Was it a deliberate decision to postpone temporarily, for good reason, or was it an instance of neglect? How would you respond to the same situation now?

  • Have you ever said yes to something and then later wished you had said no? Or volunteered for something and then later wished you hadn’t? Consider why you said yes or volunteered in the first place. And why did you then wish you hadn’t? What can you learn from your experience?

  • Some people may tend to say yes too quickly, to ignore their own boundaries even in the absence of any urgency or good reason. Others may tend to say no too quickly, to keep their boundaries rigid with little flexibility or compassion. Which tendency do you see within yourself, and how does that relate to your need for self-care?

  • When has your self-care meant receiving help from someone else? How did your relationship grow and change as a result?

  • Rev. April Yamasaki says in her book, Four Gifts, "Dismantling racism and sexism, ending poverty, and addressing other social ills requires ongoing work, determination, prayer, and yes, self-care. We need self-care that genuinely cares for ourselves and our deepest needs without isolating us from the needs of others. We need self-care that refreshes and validates us for our work in the world without it becoming our permanent destination. We need self-care that can both comfort us when the way is hard and empower us to live with compassion and perseverance." What concerns do you have for social and structural change in our world and in your own life? In what ways does self-care empower you to engage these?
PRACTICE | When to say "Yes" and "No"
At the heart of self-care is the discernment of our core commitments - knowing what's really important for our life, knowing our gifts and passions, and knowing what God has given us to carry - as well as knowing our limits and boundaries.
  • Prayerfully reflect on your core commitments. This includes responsibilities for home, family, work, and your personal mission or God's call in your life.

  • In what ways do your core commitments give you opportunities for self-care? What challenges do they present?

  • Create an "I-Don't-Do" list to help you set healthy boundaries, as a way to say "No" to the things that do not align with your core commitments. Begin with the things that come to mind most immediately and don't omit things that seem obvious. Pay attention to practical time-savers, personal habits and attitudes that already exist. Then divide your list into those things that are more realistic, as well as those that are aspirational - you can build up to these.

  • Commit your "I-Don't-Do" list to God in prayer.

  • Ask for help when you need it. If you have more than you can carry on your own, what might others be able to do to help you? Who might appreciate the opportunity to share their gift?

  • Return to Jesus. When you are feeling burdened and overwhelmed, remember that Christ is with us. Pray, read comforting scriptures, or listen to and/or sing hymns and songs that remind you of God's faithfulness.

PRAY | Pray the scriptures
Select a scripture such as the 23rd Psalm or this one from Lamentations 3:21-24 to say as a prayer for self-care:

21 But this I call to mind,
  and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
  his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
  great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
  “therefore I will hope in him.”
JOYS & CONCERNS
If you would like to be part of a new Care Calls Ministry, to follow up on prayer requests, and to reach out to those in our faith community who may be lonely, ill or feeling disconnected, sign up on our website & Pastor Melody will contact you with more information: www.polkcityumc.org/service-opportunities

  • Charlotte Loter asks for prayers for Polk City Councilman Rob Mordini who's father passed away; and lifts up a joy that her niece Liz Rubey for accepting a 5th grade teaching position in Dallas City, IL.

  • Continued prayers for Diane Hammond who is being treated for severe Congestive Heart Failure and severe mitral value damage means; and for Steve Hammond who had a hard fall on the ice Sunday morning. If you would be willing to provide a meal for the Hammond family, sign up here: https://signup.com/go/nmEkncS

  • Continued prayers for JJ Johnson (who suffered a stroke last week) that he keeps healing and that each day he can get more movement in his left leg and arm. And also please pray that insurance gets his approval so he can get the intensive therapy started asap. Allison and JJ much appreciate all the support from our church family! If you would be willing to provide a meal for the Hammond family, sign up here: https://signup.com/go/ZUvEUxO

  • Prayers for George Hess who is having cataract surgery on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

  • Prayers for our nation, especially during this week of Presidential transition. If you would like to participate in a prayer vigil for the time leading up to the Inauguration on Wednesday, you can find information here: Where to Pray (Virtually) During Inauguration Week

Have a prayer request? Email Dixie Bequeaith or Pastor Melody Webb
RESOURCES | For further reading