Saturday, October 17, 2009

Self care is loving the world

The angels message hits home with me this week. My greatest challenge in my work and personal life over the years has been to constantly remind myself that it is not my job to 'fix' anyone's life but rather to allow God and the angels to guide and love them through whatever it is they are going through at the moment. It is the tendency of so many good people to want to focus on the lives of others and do all we can to make everyone else happy. It is our hearts that want to reach out and do this, and it comes from the best of intentions.

And yet, it is our only job to listen to God's guidance in our hearts and follow that in our lives, for to do this is to truly fix our own lives, to live as God intended, and therefore to trust that God is also going to use us as He knows best to help and assist others in their growth.

There was a time in my life when my mother was really burning herself out taking care of my grandmother. It was so hard to watch. There was no balance and she was starting to get sick as well. I had to have a horribly hard conversation and tell my mom that if she got ill from not taking care of herself, I was not going to burn myself out and get ill taking care of her - that I would do my best, but that the cycle of martyrdom in our family tree had to stop. It was unthinkably hard to say this. I was afraid she would think me uncaring. I was afraid of not being seen as a 'good' daughter. I cried. She cried. But she began taking better care of herself and I thank God she is still with me today.

Being true to yourself is, at times, unthinkably hard. It goes against our tendencies to want to please. And yet this honesty is often exactly what is needed for all, at levels we cannot even comprehend because of our limited perspectives. God knows what He is doing. We have to trust this.

I ask God every day, "Please let my words be your words. Please guide me in what you want me to do. Please let me know what you want in every aspect of my life." I have had to turn down a lot of offers to spend time with beautiful people in order to stay in balance in my life. Every now and then I do get off, but getting back on track is so much quicker than it used to be.

It is not selfish to take care of yourself. It is absolutely required if we are to be able to let our lights shine in this world. It is ok to say 'no' to another if that means saying 'yes' to your own self care. In the long run, there will be more to give and share. Self-care is almost always blocked out on my schedule and private time is non-negotiable in my life. It allows me to refill my own cup and bear witness to the world's pain with great love. It allows me to make sure my relationship with God and myself is in the right place first before I relate to others. When I slip, the consqeuences are obvious in my life. Self care need not take long - it can be a few minutes spent in silent prayer, a brief nap when I'm in the middle of a busy day, or at least a brief time to sit and eat and replenish my body. We know what we need. We just need to listen. It takes practice, because we aren't trained to do this. We're human. Sometimes I forget. But when I do, I get back to basics immediately - rest, good food, time with God, and positive thinking - and life begins to turn around.

So take care of yourself and ask God how He wants you to serve. Rather than automatically reaching out to save or fix another, pray to God and ask Him how you can best serve. God knows always what is best for all. Trust in that and you will be giving from a full cup instead of pouring from an empty one.

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