This mom thing is a hard gig. Sure, it's got its rewards, but it can be exhausting, and you can lose yourself in it. You can become so consumed in parenting that you forget who you are and what you're passionate about. It's easy to live in survival mode and forget that God has called us to a life of abundance and joy. And the best way I've found to find that joy and abundance is by taking a little bit of time to focus on ourselves.
Yeah, I admit it feels totally selfish to practice self-care when we have an endless list of things to do and our children need so much of us and we want to spend time with our husbands too. It may feel counter-intuitive to plan how to do more of what makes us feel good, instead of doing more for our family. But, more than likely your husband and your children and the people around you want to see you happy. A happy mom makes a happy home. And if you take time to refill your cup, then you have more good things to pour out to others.
If we just keep going and don't take time to take care of ourselves, we will eventually hit a wall. It could manifest as depression, anxiety or other health issues. It could manifest as burn-out or becoming angry easily at others.
We need to start viewing self-care as essential as going grocery shopping or doing the laundry. It is essential not only for our wellbeing but for our whole family as well.
Jesus was a busy man. People were constantly coming up to Him, asking Him questions and begging for healing. And He would stop and talk to them, touch them, love them, heal them. He had to wake up early in the morning just to get some alone time with God, when people wouldn't be all around him. He had parables to tell, a Kingdom to preach, people to heal. And in the end, He had to bring salvation to the world.
When Jesus died upon that cross, He said "It was finished," John 19:30. It wasn't everything on His to-do list that He'd finally crossed off. It wasn't all of His dreams and goals coming to completion. It was simply that He had finished what God had planned for Him.
Yes, Jesus was busy. But He focused on being busy doing what God asked of Him. And He took opportunities to rest. If the God of the universe needed a day to rest after creating the world, if Jesus needed rest and to spend time with God daily, how much more do we need rest? How much more do we need to know God's plan for us, so that we are busy doing the things God wants us to be busy doing, and letting go of the things that God doesn't want us to be holding on to and trying to control?
So make sure you set aside some time each day to pursue God and rest. It could be time reading your Bible or another Christian book. Meeting with a friend for coffee. Or soaking in a bubble bath (bonus points for adding Epsom salts for health benefits) listening to worship music. Whatever brings your spirit closer to God's love for you, and brings you joy and peace, pursue that. 🙂
Another area where we can practice self-care, is to take care of our bodies. We only have one body, and we are to be stewards of it. It is easy for us to put our childrens' needs ahead of our own. We run ourselves ragged, our stress levels are sky high, and our health suffers.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
It is so easy to think that our health affects only us. But how we treat our bodies shows God how much we respect the body He has given us. And the healthier our bodies, the more energy we have to love and serve the people that are important to us and to the kingdom of God.
Focusing on your health doesn't mean you have to start a whole new fitness routine, or start hitting the gym if that's outside your fitness comfort zone. Little baby steps toward health are what we're talking about here. Drinking more water. Eating healthier. Going for walks or whatever form of exercise we enjoy. Getting more sleep.
God uniquely crafted each of us with gifts and passions and dreams. We may have to put some of them on hold to care for our families, but He doesn't want us to lose ourselves and how He created us.
God is a creative being. He made the world, and then He uniquely created each of us. And we are created in His image. That means, He made us to create too. In Exodus 31:1-6 God tells Moses about how He designed and gifted Bezalei.
"I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship." Exodus 31:1-6
You can sense the pride in God's voice as He brags about Bezalei and how Bezalei is using his gifts and skills. And it makes the parable of the talents all the more real. The manager (God) gave three of his servants talents of silver (our talents and gifts). The first two servants did something with the talents they were given. And the manager was proud of them and blessed them with even more talents and gifts. But the third servant did nothing with it. He simply buried it in the ground. And the manager was furious with him. God wants us to use the gifts and talents and passions He has given us. Being a special needs mom is not an excuse for not stewarding your gifts and talents.
All of us have a desire in our hearts to create something. Maybe it's writing a blog. Maybe it's quilting or painting or cooking good food or making beautiful music. Maybe it's connecting with other women and leading a small group or a children's ministry at church. You know what it is. You can feel it in your heart.
It's time to let go of that mom guilt we may feel when pursuing something that interests us, because God created us to be more than just mothers and wives. We are also women He bestowed gifts and passions on, and He wants us to use them, for His glory.
Think of a few things you would like to do to practice self-care. Put it on your to-do list, schedule it in your calendar, schedule childcare if necessary and make it happen. You and your family deserve it. Embrace your beautiful, gifted self that deserves a little bit of self-care so that you can better care for those you love.