Taking Care of Myself

I have learned a few things about myself over these past couple years. As I have slowed down enough to reflect, ask, ponder, read and listen, I have learned to care for myself in ways I never would have before.  I am still learning so much, but may I share with you a few components of my healing?  These steps have allowed me to continue moving forward despite my chronic heartache.


1. No should-ing.  If the thought in my head is "I should . . ." I generally let go of that thought without action.  I don't should.  I do lots of things for others out of love and care, but I try very hard not to do things because of an unnecessary obligation placed on me by myself or by someone else.  I am responsible for my decisions and actions, but I am not responsible for others' interpretation of them.  No should's.

2.  I give out of my capacity and not my deficit.  This goes hand-in-hand with #1.  I love to call, encourage, text, invite, bake, visit and whatever else, but only when I have cared for myself enough to have the capacity to care for others.  When I am empty (be it physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually), it is not wise for me to continue to give to others.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39) means I have to love and care for myself so that I can love and care for others.  Good stewardship says I give what I have - not what I don't. 

3.  My soul craves time with God. When I started really giving my soul what it needed, it flourished.  This time of quiet sitting, listening and just being with God has propelled the intimacy of our relationship in ways I never previously experienced despite years of church attending and Bible study.  I have found it to be so invaluable that I will get up at whatever time it takes in order to give my soul the time with God that it craves.  

4.  I do it for the endorphins.  That's what my favorite workout shirt says and it is TRUTH. Endorphins are powerful mood boosters and feel-better hormones that our body naturally produces through various activities.  For me, those endorphins flow freely with strenuous exercise.  So I run, box, jump rope, lift weights, hit things, push, pull, squat, burpee or whatever I have to do to get the endorphins I need.  I know exactly how long my body can go without them before the anxious feelings and depressed mood begin to build and I begin to deteriorate.  So, yep, I do it for the endorphins.

5.  I can do hard things.  This has become somewhat a mantra of mine.  My kids hear it all the time.  When we are faced with situations that are hard, our first instinct is to quit.  I can't do it.  I'm tired.  I just can't go anymore.  It's too hard.  These are the things I used to say.   But I have learned that I can.  I can give just a little more.  I can do one more push up.  I can go one more mile.  I can learn it.  I can finish it.  I can get out of bed.  Whatever it is, I can do it.  Because I know that I can do hard things.  

6.  I choose to live.  All the days ordained for me were determined before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).  I do not choose the number of my days on this earth, but I choose how to live them.  Some days . . . some moments . . . life on this earth is not my favorite.  Sometimes the pleasure becomes obstructed by the work . . . the sadness . . . the ugliness . . . the injustice . . . the brokenness . . . the ongoing and after-effects of grief.  Yet I have a choice to make in that.  I can choose to simply exist in this world for the days ordained for me.  Or I can choose to live - with purpose, with love, with ambition, with excitement, with hope and with joy.  And I choose to live. 

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