I need to confess, I haven’t always been a good advocate for self-care. Frankly, I once thought it was – well, just a little bit selfish. Tragic, I know but circumstances and environment shaped me, leaving me with some stuff to sort through. Feeling worthy of self-care was one of them. No wonder I burnt out on more than on occasion.
Since our own ‘series of unfortunate events’ – an overseas accident and our journey with cancer, I’ve had to acknowledge that I need to listen more to my body, to my soul and to my spirit.
listen to the BODY
Even lately, after all the learning I have done, I’ve neglected to look after this temple I call my body. I’m walking around with an occasional limp, bearing the consequences but hoping I haven’t caused some permanent damage. A silly fall left me with an occasional limp that I hope, with some good ‘self-care’, will improve. An early morning trek through the woods of the Te Mata Peak in New Zealand late last year had me galavanting off track to take a close look at an incredibly large mushroom. I spotted it down my on the hillside and went off track to take a look. I got the photo I wanted but unfortunately, my footing slipped and PING – something broke.
Now, I’ve never really had to deal with my feet not being able to carry my body where it needed to go, so when a week later I needed to board a plane back to Perth, I should have taken the crutches with me – but oh no – superwoman chose to go it alone (in more ways than one).
I arrived safely, a little worse for wear. The boys stayed in NZ and fortunately snuck in just before the COVID lockdown. I spent months prior limping along streets, navigating public transport, sometimes in tears searching for a place to live. So, after using copious amounts of strapping tape and what seemed like an eternity of wasted time, God faithfully provided a home. I wonder now whether it was most likely the same one he’d set apart right from the beginning of my searching.
Why could I have not just put my ankle up and rested in the fact that he really is a GOOD GOOD FATHER who would provide for his child? Why did I worry when he’s never let me down yet?
listen to the SOUL
As a man thinks in his heart – so he is.proverbs 23:7
Our mind, our will and our emotions. All these things that make us tick and neither is more important than the other. Oh how complicated we are and oh how important it is that we keep all these parts of ourselves healthy. What a minefield we are when things get out of whack.
I’m learning more each day to teach my mind to think good thoughts, honest thoughts, kind thoughts towards others and toward myself. This is self-care. I’m becoming more aware of patterns that could send me on downward spirals so I actively take captive of thoughts that could potentially pull me and others down – this is self-care at it’s best.
When it comes to my mind, my mantra for life has become a verse from the good book. “Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things lovely, whatever is of a good report – I CHOOSE to think on those things.” It’s not always easy when life has thrown a curve ball or two, but if we can truly put this concept into action, the out working of it is pretty powerful.
I am still amazed how this simple truth works. It’s powerful stuff. It’s God stuff. It’s a father teaching his children stuff. The good stuff. It tool kit kind of stuff – equipping us for the struggles He knew we’d face.
listen to the SPIRIT
We are not our body but it does need to carry us until the time we depart earth. Nor are we just the thoughts in our head, which often lie to us.
While our body may at times become overly tired and a little worn out, and our mind may struggle to believe we could be all we’ve been created for, our spirit can still stand strong and guide us to truth- especially when one makes an undeniable connection with the creator, the one who know us better than we do, all our undeniable intricacies and even understands our weaknesses.
My view is that there is a spirit spot in each of us that won’t be satisfied until we find our way to that connection. Listen for the still small voice – it will lead you. If you haven’t found it yet – keep searching because there’s nothing quite like deep to deep – spirit to spirit.
(disclaimer: there's so much more I could say, so many practical things about self care - this is just a quick and hopefully thought provoking blurb)