This is a post in which I will be essentially cheerleading for a team I don't play for. I guess a lot of my posts are like that... What I mean is, I'm going to write passionately about something that I'm really... really bad at. By the way I talk about it you'd think I was some sort of expert by experience. Maybe I am an expert by experience, however its in reverse. I believe in this because by failing to practice it I've experienced an unnecessary amount of pain, frustration, and exhaustion. "Enough build-up already, we get the point!" - All 4 of you
I'm notoriously bad at self-care. Somewhere along the lines I became a proponent of Christian people-pleasing ( That thing where people take verses about humility and make them about justifying poor boundaries). What happened was, I started following Jesus, then I heard somewhere in ministry or something that loving like Jesus means always putting others before yourself and in fear of disobeying that, I decided to give everyone in my life more than they asked for or expected.
(What ACTUALLY happened is I gave people who I was most afraid to disappoint more than they asked for or expected. )
I actually believed that taking care of yourself was wrong and a big fat pot of sin and if Jesus came back when you were taking care of yourself BOY you'd better believe he'd smack you in the hands with a ruler!!
Yes, Jesus came here and, like it illustrates in Paul's letter to the Philippians "made Himself nothing" for our sake. Yes he healed the sick and spent time with the least of these and yes He, in the most selfless sacrificial act of all time gave Himself over to death on a cross for the sake of restoring all of creation! However, I missed one KEY part of the story and I think others have missed this as well... Jesus took care of Himself.
Oh yeah, I said it. He was into self-care. What did this look like? Frequently stealing away by Himself to be with God. That's right: By HIMSELF. Here He was, the visible image of the invisible God, the Messiah, teaching all of us what it looks like to be fully alive and fully human... and he made sure to get some quality time alone.
( Cut to scene of Jesus' disciples bumping into him after he'd been missing for a few hours.
Disciple: Dude, where have you been?
Jesus: Needed some me time, bro. Get off my back.
*I kid. I don't think Jesus ever used the words "me time" nor would that describe what he was up to)
Now, I could post every day for a year about the need for self care, for sabbath and rest, and how the church does a terrible job at giving a balanced and healthy understanding of this to its congregants... But I want to tie this into marriage right now.
In this lovely passage of time between Jon's jobs, I have been learning a ton. Something I've come to a lot lately is that if I'm not taking care of myself I'm pretty bad at marriage.
Here's how it goes:
* I neglect reading scripture, taking time to journal, reading books I love, doing my thang thang.
* Sub-consciously my soul is getting increasingly restless and thirsty.
* Thirst turns itself into stress that brews subtly.
* I interact with Jon from a place of stress, thirst and frustration with myself which turns me into a crazed jerkface.
When I'm in this place, I get incredibly selfish and become irritated with anything that isn't pleasing to me. I start to think its Jon's job to make me happy- that its his job to maintain my contentment.
But the truth is obvious; He's not Jesus. He's not gonna measure up in that capacity because he's not created to! When I'm letting God fill my cup by reading His word, spending time with Him, doing things He gifted me to do, doing things that He created me to enjoy ( reading a good book, taking a hot bath, cooking, being with friends) and taking care of the heart and body He gave me, I can engage with my husband without expecting him to be perfect. I feel like myself. I love better.
Its YOUR responsibility and YOURS ALONE to make sure that you are taking care of your soul- and if you want to preserve peace in your relationships, start with doing what you need to preserve peace in your own heart.
When I am taking care of myself spiritually, physically and emotionally, I am able to step up to the proverbial plate of marriage as my best self. On top of that, and maybe most importantly, I show up without the expectation that Jon is supposed to do that work for me. I can give and not just take.
In conclusion: Child, you'd better fill that cup
Ok, not exactly like K-Fed pouring what appears to be GIN AND JUICE into a ridiculous pimp cup...
I'm talkin about the good stuff. Build into your life time where you can do things that fill your cup. Make sure to prioritize time by yourself and time with God no matter how hard it is to force yourself to do it. Its unnatural for me but the truth is that if I'm taking the time to let God pour into me whether thats by prayer and meditation, reading scripture, singing, writing, painting, taking a walk, taking a bath, whatever... something in my heart re-sets. That may look different for you than others you know( you may hate baths and love tennis) but its too important to neglect.
If you don't love yourself, you won't love others well. And that's SCIENCE.
Until next time,
Carly Calmes the First