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  • Writer's pictureJenni Lien

Finish Strong | Spiritual Self Care, Life Anxieties, and the End Times

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Ready to shut your laptop and get some rest this Christmas season? Have you had a super busy fall and ready for some fun? Before we jump into celebrating, let’s spend some time praying over how to end this year well and prepare for 2024. In this episode, we’ll dig into Luke 21’s “The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times”. Let’s talk about getting on God’s ‘spa table' for some treatments (including what this looks like for me after a busy month in startup world and ahead of a new move), how to handle the anxieties of life (via recent testimonies of open and closed doors), and a pep talk about preparing for Jesus’s return (how to think about life today in light of eternity). Love you, friends! God is still doing so much. Let’s continue to seek him as we celebrate his faithfulness in 2023 and look forward to a new year.

Listen to You Are You Christian podcast for women on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Or for my reading-lovers out there (I'm with you!), the transcript is below.

Hi friends! Today let’s jump right into the word and discuss Luke 21:5 to 38. This passage is called “The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times” and is one of those “red text” passages with Jesus speaking the most. He warns us:

  • Not to be deceived by false prophets

  • Not to be frightened when we hear of wars and uprisings (they’ll happen first but the end will not come right away)

  • Not to worry about how to defend ourselves if persecuted for the gospel for he will give us words and wisdom that no adversary will be able to resist or contradict

And then in verses 34 to 36, Jesus says:

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Let us pray.

Father God, thank you for the Word. How we need your wisdom. Help us to understand your teachings and how they apply to our lives today. Give us your wisdom and strength to stand firm in our faith, growing deeper in our love for you in the days, months, years ahead. We love you. In Jesus’s name, we pray. Amen.

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Spiritual Self Care

The day before I read Luke 21, I was thinking a lot about spiritual selfcare (and physical, mental, and emotional self-care) because I was feeling quite dry. I love my life the most when I am so close to Jesus, spending so much literal time with him reading, praying, talking, etc. that I don’t even think much about tv shows, worldly pressures, etc. I know following my Savior’s way is best, and being in his presence makes me feel super watered and nourished. But sometimes we find ourselves in periods or seasons (that we know won’t last forever) where we are really busy and eventually can’t help but feel dry. Going into November, I knew it was going to be a busy one and I was a little worried about burnout. But I also knew that God had opened some precious doors and felt with him I could handle it.

During covid, I went through a period of burnout for various reasons, but one was because I didn’t have strong boundaries when it came to work hours. My team was in the UK, and I was largely working with people more senior. So when I was invited to but also excused from meetings due to the time zone, I’d try and go anyway because I wanted to learn. But saying yes to 11pm meetings after working a whole day eventually takes a toll. Overcoming burnout took a long time — maybe a year. And now, I’m grateful what God has taught me about boundaries and godly rest (may we remember that even God rested on the seventh day!) because entrepreneurship is definitely a path where people can feel pressured to work the hardest, fastest, and take no breaks.

So in October, I was accepted into a female-focused incubator program called Fierce Founders Bootcamp which is part of Communitech, one of Canada’s tech startup incubators. It’s a six week program for early stage founders and has long been a dream of mine to work with them. The catch was that all the meetings were on ET, and I was 12 hours (and then 13 hours with the time change) ahead. This meant meetings often started at 10 or 11pm and would go until 1am, twice a week. During this time, I was also still having other meetings with those in North America so three to four times a week, I’d be up until around midnight doing work.

Now I’m not complaining for a second. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and leaders, as well as the flexibility to have had such a schedule this season. But I believe it was only sustainable because 1) it was God’s plan, 2) God gave me the grace to do it, and 3) it was for a season — not forever. And now that it’s over (I’ll be back on the same time zone for the next leg of the program), I’m ready to recover with some self care. For as much as it would be idea to have some self care every day, maybe for many of us it’s just not realistic. So while we might still be praying and washing our face every day, having an extended worship session or say 90 minute massage helps get out knots that have built up.

For me, this past Monday night, I finished my last late-night meeting of the year and then got excited for some self-care. On Tuesday, I started to work on my physical self-care getting my hair coloured and a massage. Now on Wednesday I’m looking forward to a retreat day with God just asking him to speak to me about whatever and to lead me in how to best spend my time to close out 2023 well and pray and plan for 2024. I think this is my favourite spiritual self-care practice — giving God time and my full devotion to listen to whatever he wants to bring up or deal with in my life and heart. It’s like time on a spiritual spa table where the Holy Spirit exfoliates, plucks, refines, comforts, protects, and so on. This is what makes me feel my best.

Life Anxieties

I tend to have a lot of spontaneous spiritual spa days but also want to schedule them in more. My career as a Publisher and Managing Editor trained me to me hyper organized but I think becoming an entrepreneur has made me even more organized. There are so many things to not just do but pray over, strategize, seek mentorship about. And I’m constantly remembering that my business, first of all it’s God’s, but second of all it’s just one part of my life. When we stand before Jesus, we’re not just giving account of how we stewarded our professions — but all areas of our life.

This season in Taipei has been incredibly sweet. I recently wrote a blog post about digital nomad advice for Christians, and there are a few other Taipei-related blog posts scheduled. I hope you enjoy seeing more about Taipei — I’m in love with my ancestral homeland. So I am honestly so grateful that I feel I spent my time here well. I didn’t do it perfectly and have sense God speaking to me about some things to deal with before moving onto the next season. But I feel God is proud of my best and that when I was feeling life anxieties, I brought them to him and asked for his help.

There were so many things I wanted, so many doors I wanted him to open, that just hadn’t yet when I moved back in August. And in the months since, I have had incredible opportunities and long-awaited answered prayers, and I am so excited for the future! I’ve also had doors close that I thought God might open, things that I thought could also have been great for my future. So when the open doors came, I rejoiced, gave thanks and worshipped. But when doors closed, I also sat with God in my disappointment and asked for his perspective.

For example, with the closed door, I wondered if I’d made a mistake or hadn’t shown enough devotion in the interview process. That if I’d done this or said that or prepared more in advance, maybe the door would have opened? Especially since in this situation, I was on the fence about applying but felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge to do so. And it was such a prestigious and high-pressure thing — so if it wasn’t for me, why did God want me to go through the whole process, to even make it as a finalist and interview for it… but not get it? As I lay there, I felt God say he’s proud of me. That I will learn from this. That it’s OK to set boundaries. And that this whole process brough a lot of exposure; I met a lot of people and was exposed to new ideas and ways of doing things, and that I have no idea what he still might do. Then I got up, made a coffee, and went on with my life.

This is something that I have learned over time and am still getting better at this. That when we are emotionally upset, sometimes it takes a long time to get over. But sometimes, we can also leave it with God and just move on. God has what’s best for us. Guaranteed. It’s OK to feel life’s pressures but we can’t let them weigh us down. Blessed are we to cast our cares on the Lord. Because…

The End Times

Friends! Jesus is coming back! Our priority is loving, serving, and obeying him! He is trustworthy! God prepared plans for us to do before we were born! We are on earth for a purpose. God has more open doors for us that we can imagine. Of all sizes. Let’s keep praying that we can discern God’s leading, cut out distractions, and life our life full of his Holy Fire.

I hope today’s episode reminds us that life anxieties are normal as are the temptations to get distracted by worldly things. But Jesus’s teaching is to not let them weigh us down — to not get distracted by the wrong things and wrong thinking. When we notice this is happening, we can shake it off. As Paul teaches in Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

It’s not always easy. Sometimes it feels like we just want what we want. But chasing after the wrong things will never bring satisfaction. Imagine the growth that comes with allowing God to speak new dreams, goals, ideas into us and empowering us to pursue that.

I pray that we live with the beautiful realization that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God Almighty every day. We are wanted and we have a purpose! Closed doors are a blessing as much as open ones! With every opportunity comes an opportunity to steward it well and also to serve. May we shake off selfish ambition and grow in understanding of God’s will for us every day. I pray this Christmas season and 2024 is marked by a greater understanding of God’s word, his will, and his power. To God be the glory. Let us worship him with all we are.


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