I have to cultivate the habit of stepping away to see that my needs are met. It may seem daunting, but it's necessary. Sometimes I feel isolated, or believe there are no resources. But the truth is there is a way to self care- if I am willing to commit to it, to work towards it. Wellness takes work. It takes planning ahead- and sometimes, a willingness to step into the unknown. To put my needs out there and ask for help. It's risky, and sometimes I don’t want to ask. But the benefits are worth the risk.
Sometimes it's an issue of “want to”. What keeps me from drawing aside, what do I gain from over-working? Does it help me forget? Does it make me feel better about everything that seems wrong in my life?
Everything I commit to fills a need in me. The need to be a good wife and mother. The need to feel valued, like my work matters. Do I deny my needs because I have to be a martyr to feel acceptable? Do I believe that I do not have the right to take care of me, too?
It’s time to give permission to have needs. To take care of me- in a healthy way. Chocolate cake may taste good for a moment, but it won’t heal the gash in my soul, nor will it placate the troubles in my heart.
Exercise, movement, is healing. I walk and pour out, and sometimes I want to run. I don’t do it well (or for very long), but I need the physical reminder of what I am carrying emotionally. I run, a block, maybe two, and at the bottom of the hill my chest heaves and I sputter and breathe jagged breaths and it feels like my life. I have to train for the long haul and I have to rest before I am spent.
Jesus did said to serve others, just as He did. And He served with His whole heart- but he also set the example of drawing apart regularly and seeking rest. If we want be like Jesus, we have to balance pouring out and finding rest.
Isaiah 55:2 says:
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what
does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
The Message puts it this way: “Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.”
We have to make time to let God’s love wash over us, healing, restoring, giving rest in spirit, soul, and body. Don’t take this for granted. We need fuel not filler. We need to pursue that which nourishes, that which truly fills. We can chase after what leaves us empty, running on fumes- or we can plan time to rest and recover. Self control is not only self denial. Self control is seeking that which gives lasting nourishment- in spirit, soul and body. It’s making time to find daily abundance in the heart of God.