Do you find it easier to take care of others than yourself? Do the needs of others – spouse, children, pets, friends, church, birds, squirrels, the guy selling flowers on the corner – take precedent over your own? You might be just like me, a worn out caretaker.
I didn’t really think much about it. I breathe, therefore, I take care of others. It is what I do. It is who I am. And really, if I don’t take care of the people I love, who will?
Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Aren’t we called to put others before ourselves? Paul tells the Philippians, ” Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)”
But what happens when your body gives out on you? When you are overcome with anxiety and stress? Ultimately, I can’t take care of others if I’m not also taking care of me. In the passage above, Paul states that we must take care of ourselves in addition to others. It’s not either, or but also. I am coming to see that it is a balance to be learned.
My therapist taught me to say, After me, you’re first. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of others. I can’t be who I truly am. I can’t be the person God has called me to be. But the thought of putting myself first is very hard for me. Kind of like stopping a runaway semi, it takes a lot of energy to change the way this “old dog” thinks.
For 2020, this blog will be about the herculean effort to change the way I approach my own health – body, mind and spirit. I will write about these things as I conduct a personal experiment in self-care. You’ll notice that things look different than before. Have a look around!
Follow me as I go down this journey or just be “nebby” and watch the train wreck! I don’t have a good track record in my follow-through, so I promise to honest and authentic along the way. There will be a lot of love thrown in as I work on eating clean, trusting in God’s love more and exercising my creative muscles!
After Me, You’re First is my motto, Nourish is my word and Love is what holds it all together. 2020 will be a great year!