Taking Care of Me

The last few weeks have seemed like a whirlwind. School is back in session along with the requisite activities and calendar-keeping. I was helping our women’s ministry team at the Beth Moore simulcast (which was wonderful). We had a family reunion. And then I left for six days for a “leadership vacation” (according to a friend); I’d term it an opportunity provided to me as a manager by my workplace in beautiful Colorado Springs for in-depth learning.

In the midst of the activity, I found that two of those opportunities – the leadership retreat and the Beth Moore simulcast – provided me with some much-needed respite. When I say that, I don’t mean sleep (although I need that!), but rather reflection.

The simulcast focused so closely on us as women and children of God and the need to be in God’s Word and know who we are. Just a day later, I was on a plane to Colorado Springs for a retreat that pushed and stretched and grew me. During the very intensive days of the program, I wasn’t just talking about how to be a better leader at work; I was being asked how choices and decisions I made was affecting the whole – my work, my home life and myself. I was blessed to have a leadership coach talk with me for several hours as she incorporated my faith life into how I need to operate and live my life. She reminded me that the way God created me was such that I needed time to renew my own energy so I could be what my family needed each day.

During that week, I was able to really dig into the Bible each day; I was also able to spend time working out and staying in a nice hotel. For the first time in a long time, I was feeling peace. I felt calmer; my mind felt clearer; and things that were frustrating me seemed so clear that my own sinful nature was causing the problem.

When I got home late Friday night, I felt like I had a fresh perspective. I was rested and calm. And I didn’t return to a perfect life. But I returned knowing that I have to take time to take care of myself to be fully who God made me.

Take care of yourself: it sounds hokey and trite – like when they remind you on an airplane to secure your oxygen mask before helping your child with one. But in the cheesiness is a simplicity that is certainly true – we cannot be all that God destined us to be to help nurture and grow the lives of others as women, mothers, sisters, wives, aunts without making sure we are taking care of ourselves!

So I’m working to try to incorporate time to do some of the things I enjoy, and the things that allow me to reflect and be fully present with my family. If you want to join me, a few quick reminders:

  • Don’t feel guilty. If I look to scripture, I can see examples where Jesus took time to pull away from others to pray and to reflect. If Jesus can do that – the savior of the world – do I really think the world needs me more than that and can’t take a break? Am I seriously that full of myself? Check out Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16 and Luke 6:12.
  • Don’t forget your girlfriends. Beth Moore spoke about this during the simulcast she did September 13, and made the point that a woman’s joy is not the same without girlfriends to share it. She referenced the story in Luke 15 about the woman who lost a coin and found it – she went to find her friends to rejoice with her. We need that support and friendship to help ourselves.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While I traveled, my mom was willing to come down and make life a little easier for the family by helping with school routines and making things less stressful for my husband. That also made it less stressful for me. Maybe you don’t have a mother right there to provide the same thing, but don’t hesitate to ask a good friend or family member to watch a child or do something else for you to give you time to take care of yourself. Jesus asked a few disciples to come with him to wait while he prayed. Can’t we do the same and ask for others for help?

As you start your weekend, take time to take care of yourself.

In Christ,

Jen Clark

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