The commercials that tell me to buy something, do something, go somewhere, treat myself, or indulge because “I’m worth it” really turn me off. In fact, for years, they actually made me rebel against the idea of doing anything for myself. After all, I’m called to serve my family and others selflessly – not spoil myself, take lots of “me time,” and spend money on stuff to make me feel pretty and vivacious.
I still agree with my old way of thinking when it comes to being called to serve my family and others selflessly. Indeed I am. Feelings are fickle, so while I could spend money on something to make me feel pretty, that very same item might make me feel fat and ugly five minutes later. “Me time” can be wasted and unproductive, leaving me more hesitant to serve, instead of refreshing me.
However, I’ve discovered that the me that rebelled against taking time, energy, and even money to care for myself was not actually always being selfless. Much of the time, I played the role of a martyr. With a sigh, I’d tell myself things things like, “Maybe someday when the kids are older, I’ll have time to exercise/write/play games/craft/relax. I must give to my family and others until I drop – but it’s okay. I’m called to serve. I’ll eat healthy when I have more time. I don’t really feel like drinking water or eating fruit. I’ll just grab these five cookies and a Pepsi to pick me up. I hate to leave the kids with anyone else, they really just need me. Someday I’ll have time to myself.” And on and on my thoughts would take me.
While I was deceiving myself into thinking I was being selfless, I was truly feeling sorry for myself and the role I played in our family. More than that, I neglected my spiritual, emotional, and physical health in the name of selflessness.
Ladies – I’m here to tell you that there is nothing selfish about taking good care of yourself. Stop listening to lies and feeling guilt over what God calls you to do for yourself and your health. You are so very worth it! God says so. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health are vitally important – no matter your season in life. You can not effectively care for your family when you are exhausted, under-nourished, sluggish, sleep deprived, unhappy, dehydrated, moody, out of shape, or depressed.
You know what I discovered after years of believing that I didn’t have time to spend in the Word each day? That I don’t have time not to spend time in the Word each day. That my time is more effectively used, more productive, and more focused when I take time out to sit with Jesus each day. So what if there are dishes to do? I can do them cheerfully later, after I’ve let Jesus refresh my spirit.
You know what I discovered once I stopped thinking I didn’t have time, energy, or desire to exercise? I found that I love exercise, need exercise, and that regular work-outs give me more energy and help me get more done each day.
You know what I discovered once I stopped eating and drinking so much sugar? I think more clearly, sleep so much better, don’t have sugar crashes, and crave more water and nutrient filled foods.
You know what happened when I started listening to and obey God instead of the world or myself? I became a more loving wife, a more patient mother, a more cheerful person, and a more Christ-focused servant.
I still struggle sometimes. I fight anxiety. I get angry. I don’t always get enough sleep. Life isn’t perfect for any of us. Puke happens. Kitchens explode. Laundry piles multiply. Kids disobey. Husbands aren’t perfect. I fail.
But His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I only recognize this truth when I am taking care of myself.
This might mean I’m spending money on health care, good food, exercise classes, or going to my massage therapist. This might mean I’m taking a few minutes to dress in a cute outfit and fix my hair. This might mean I close my door while I’m writing so that I can enjoy uninterrupted time doing what I love to do.
Then, I come before my husband, my children, my church family, my community, and any stranger I run into with a godly focus, a more peaceful heart, a more energized body, and with a clear and alert mind.
Am I worth it? Oh yes, I am. And so, my friend, are you.
What about you? What can you do to take better care of your health? What do you love to do that would be refreshing and energizing to you?