Why is it so hard for some of us to take care of ourselves? It is such a lie that we tell ourselves that to take time to rest, do nothing, or simply have some lighthearted fun is somehow inappropriate when there’s so much work left undone around us. I have lived my whole life telling myself, “I’ll do this when…,” “If I can just get this task done, I can enjoy myself…,” or the worst one — “I can’t justify spending the time/money on this thing I’d love to do/have.”
Justify? Since when should we have to justify? That screams, “YOU ARE NOT WORTHY!”
As I get nearer and nearer to that big half century number fast approaching, I am beginning to see life so much differently than my 30s and early 40s. I have come to the conclusion that no one is going to be there to hand out peace and joy to me to reward me for all my toil and tears. I have worked hard. Some would look at my life and not think so. They just don’t see the “behind the scenes” reel of my life.
If we want inner peace, joy and rest for our weary minds, friends — we are going to have to take it — in whatever way is right for our individual lives.
We spend way too much time looking at how others are doing it, that we stop listening to what is inside of us, aching to be heard and seen and known.
I’ve begun reflecting early on my coming year. Usually, I am doing this after the holiday rush is behind me and a new year is about to spring upon me. This year is different. My life keeps evolving and changing in ways I never saw coming. I am changing. I sense freedom is on the horizon and a new way to live is opening up to me.
No more living a pre-planned, rigid, work first, play later life. No, today is the day to live. I might not have tomorrow. And I’ve wasted too many yesterdays.
I just can’t afford to wait for January 1 to roll around. My new year starts today as I shed the old and welcome the new. I am going to live my life recognizing those things that spark joy in my life and leaving behind those things that don’t work for me. I finally realize I don’t have to fit into someone else’s mold, but rather, I have been created to live a free and abundant life, as the person God designed me to be.
Thinking I’m not good enough, smart enough, or anything else enough, is to live the lie rather than the truth.
When Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, I believe He was giving clear approval and in fact – instruction – to love ourselves. Why would he say that if He considered it to be selfish? The reality is, burned out and stressed people become sick and are no good to anyone. He knew the things we would face in our day and that we would desperately need to take care of ourselves against the onslaught of negative messages we face every day.
So, if you’ve been like me, wearing yourself out being everything to everybody, I urge you to STOP! Take a breath and find whatever self-care speaks to your soul and spirit, and make regular time for it. Stress kills, and it is a slow and painful dying of the soul, mind, emotions and body. We each have the power and responsibility to not let that happen.
With all this said, I’m off to go spend some time enjoying a pedicure with my daughter. Now WHAT could spark more joy than that?!