“Mom, you look like a hot mess and need some Rapunzel magic. Come to my room.”
The past few weeks have felt like running an Olympic track event on a continuous loop without an end in sight, and I think my 3-year-old can tell. Sick kids, the husband starting seminary school, then extra work obligations and all that goes with that, and I’ve let my own self-care completely slide. I’m not talking about the type of quick fix self-care like solo Target runs, endless cafe lattes and Netflix binges to escape from real life for a second. Those are nice – and I mean really nice when you need a gulp of fresh air – but what I’ve been neglecting is what I view as true self-care.
It’s the lasting kind that helps you create the kind of life you don’t want to run away and hide from. The kind that is actually taking care of yourself so that you can be the best functioning human you can be in body, mind, and spirit. The kind that isn’t just a hot air balloon ride but bears gloriously luscious fruit (John 15:5, 8).
True self-care means showing up for yourself. It’s committing and staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. Feelings change, cravings spring out of nowhere, and emotions run rampant leading into a spiral of “I just don’t feel like it, I’ll start tomorrow.” Before you know it, tomorrow has started over for a year and you’re still in a frazzled space.
So, where has neglecting self-care the last few weeks left me? Exactly in this space. Frazzled, cranky, disoriented and unproductive, unequipped to properly do my job and take care of my family, spiritually out of reach, and feelings of anger and resentment and anxiety. It’s definitely something Netflix cannot fix.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV)
Are you lacking? Is your body, mind, and spirit feeling depleted? Get up a few minutes early to ground yourself in scripture and prayer before the chaos of the day begins. Take the time to prepare and eat meals that actually fuel your body, and not live on caffeinated beverages and leftover fish sticks. Allow yourself to really rest when you need it, or make yourself take a walk when your mind starts eating at you. Self-care is more important than you think. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
You have the power to make healthy choices for your mind, body, and spirit. There are a thousand ways forward, or at least a dozen, and none of them will be without obstacles or drawbacks. But you have the power to choose, and you have the power to overcome. Wake up with Jesus. Take your pen in hand, lift your voice, open your Bible, pray fervently, and be Christ to this generation.
Good morning, Jesus – it’s a new day, a new week! Here’s to progress not perfection, but to making myself and my self-care a priority. I’m remembering to breathe deeper and not allow a bump in the road to derail me. Lord, I choose to rejoice in you, over and over again. I will not worry and be anxious about the swift change of seasons, my unfinished to-do lists, or my employer’s looming performance evaluation, but in every one of these situations I will pray and give you thanks. I will fix my heart and mind to what is pure, lovely and admirable instead of worst-case-scenario and I’m-not-worth-it thoughts to bring me down (Philippians 4:4-8).
Personal reflection questions:
1. How/what does self-care look to you?
2. Make a list of things that are life-draining and life-giving in your life today in areas of mind, body, and spirit.
3. What habit do you need to break in order to live a healthy lifestyle?
Goal setting and sharing (Abstract Conceptualization):
List 3 goals that you would like to accomplish (at home, at work, with family, etc.) that will allow you to live out your purpose in regards to healthy living in your mind, body, and spirit.