Self-care. It’s a hot topic, and I’ve seen arguments about the meaning and the purpose of it within my Christian circles.
But honestly, I’m pro-self-care. Because self-care looks different for everyone. Self-care for me means that I’m starting my day off with drinking a hot cup of coffee, having some quiet time with Jesus, writing in my journal, and taking my anti-anxiety medicine, but self-care also means that I get a sitter a few times a month to get out of the house for kid free errands, dinners with friends, and some alone time while I wander the aisles of Target.
My definition of self-care is a personal definition with personal action steps and results. Self-care for me means that I’m able to show up for my girls with a softer heart. It means I’m able to tackle the endless list of chores. It means I’m able to fight another battle with God leading the way because I’ve armed myself with the sword of truth that morning.
Now don’t think for a moment that I’ve got this figured out. Every month looks different, and often I have to put myself aside to care for the girls because mom life.
But I’ve learned this self-care lesson the hard way. Several times over. I’ve lost myself in the daily demands of being a mom, and that didn’t make me a better mom. In fact, it only made me have a short temper with the girls, and I struggled with resentment towards the calling of God on my life.
But when I take the time to fill my own cup, I’m able to be more present and patient with my girls. I’m able to lean on God for strength instead of trying to carry all the burdens on my own shoulders. I’m not strong enough that, and God never intended for me to carry it on my own.
My morning routine is not perfect. I have to pause about 293 times to change a diaper, break up fights, take the dog out, find a pacifier, kiss a boo-boo, and take care of whatever else the girls throw at me. So my “quiet time” isn’t so quiet, but it’s a time that I set aside to connect with God no matter how interrupted.
My breaks from the kids to run errands and hang out with friends doesn’t happen consistently every month, and clearly with quarantine, this isn’t happening at all but to go grocery shopping, which isn’t a fun experience at the moment.
But I know that I can’t survive without taking a moment for myself. I have seen the other side of this too many times. My girls deserve a mom who is loving and patient, but I can’t do that out of sheer will-power. I must give myself the space and the time to take a deep breath.
Parenting is hard enough, don’t force yourself to carry a burden that God never asked you to carry. Set those weights at His feet, and embrace the grace of rest.