It was still a glorious day, even if there is no pictorial evidence of it. Equal parts restful and productive, all with my most favorite people.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Why Self Care is so Important
Mother’s Day came and went. In true Detweiler fashion, it passed without one single picture of this mom and her kids. Well, there was one. It was staged but the kids found it hilarious. So we went with it.
As the day went on I found myself thinking about the why behind Mother’s Day. I’m afraid sometimes that it can be a little condescending. I fully endorse the love and appreciation that is lavished on moms, and women in general. I love that part of Mother’s Day. But I also hate how it’s so complicated for so many of us women. For those us who are motherless, or have lost children, or have never had children, for those of us who don’t even want children, Mother’s Day can be a discouraging day.
But I wonder at the subtle message it sends about us moms. We must have an entire day of care given to us poor moms, for the job of motherhood is grueling. Yes, we know it’s tough, but a lot of life is tough. Anything worth doing, whether it’s parenthood or marriage or business start-ups, is tough. And the toughness of those requires us, even demands us, to practice self care lest we crash and burn in a brilliant ball of fire. Don’t become a brilliant ball of fire.
To devote an entire day to that care implies that we moms haven’t figured out how to do this ourselves. The reality is that self care must be a regular part of life-whether we are moms or not. I talk a lot about life on purpose, it’s something I use as a measure for my days. I want to live with the best of intention that I can. Living life on purpose means I think about the choices I make and the way I structure my life. Living life on purpose means that self care is not an act of selfishness, it’s an act of self preservation.
The book of Ephesians reads like a playbook for life. It’s full of wisdom on how to mange a life, from relationships to our view of God, on down to the choices we make-Ephesians is filled with nuggets of truth. Towards the end there is an emphasis on the marriage relationship, how husbands and wives are supposed to care for each other. There’s an interesting thought in verse 29, after giving direction on how husbands are to love their wives as themselves, Paul says “after all, no ever hated his own body, but he feeds it and cares for it, just as Christ does the church.” I emphasize the later because it seemed to be a non negotiable in Paul’s eyes. We should care for our bodies, just as Christ cares for his people. The word church that Paul uses is a word that means a gathering, or an assembly of people. It’s not a church building that he’s talking about, he’s talking about God’s people. If God loves us enough to care for us, shouldn’t we do the same out of respect for his love?
Paul has more to say about this in his letter to the Corinthians. In his conversation about sexual immortality he reminds us that our bodies are temples, or homes, for God himself and his spirit. We are not our own, and so we must honor God with our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Though his emphasis here is on our sexuality, I think it’s a point that applies to every area of our lives. We can dishonor God with our bodies in lots of ways. Poor diet, lack of exercise, extreme stress and busyness, those are all ways of dishonoring. And I think it must make our creator very sad to see the way we fail to care for the wonderful bodies and lives that he gave us.
Today, on this normal Tuesday in May with a week that was filled up before it began I am reminding myself that I need to care for me. I need to make sure I’m getting enough rest, good food, and taking time to do the things that feed me well. If I don’t do this, the people I love will get my grumpy leftovers. And I cannot represent Christ to anyone when I'm worn out and exhausted. How attractive is it to follow God, if all of God’s followers are worn out and sick?
I wonder what our lives would be like if we choose to be kind to ourselves this week? If we took some time, even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day, for self preservation?