“You’re doing too much” said Eileen.
“Girlie, you need to rest” says Cheryle.
“You’ve got to take care of yourself” my mom said.
“Lord told you to start slowing down” my mother-in-law declared.
“Teri, you’re just too busy” griped Michelle
During the last several years, my immune has been astonishing low. It seems that I can catch a cold from someone across town! I tried vitamins – for a while. I tried scaling back my commitments – for a few weeks and I even tried getting eight hours sleep and eating right – for about a month.
I’m sure it does. The problem is that we don’t do what I heard a famous country singer call “putting ourselves on the list”. If we don’t make self-care a priority, the walls of life begin to slowly close in on us and soon we fall into a dangerous cycle of self neglect.
Do you know what I mean? Picture it: there you are, taking care of everyone else. You ride your ambitions to wonderful projects only to cheat the process by not taking care of yourself. This self-neglect does a ghastly disservice to everything (and everyone) you give birth to because in your weakened state, you’re not able to nurture, support or complete any of the endeavors effectively and with excellence.
I am dogged about doing very little in the evening so that I can be available for my family. But all the stuff I would do during the day would leave me drained during the evening. All wrong.
I recently agreed to take a speaking engagement. As I reviewed my bio the Holy Spirit showed me something. It noticed it looked like a road map to China! I am all over the place! Writing, speaking, web-designing, working a new part-time gig and the list goes on!
So, after an attack that made my left arm numb for hours, brought heart-wrenching pain and put me in the back of an ambulance, I opted to change my ways forever. How, you ask? I have learned the power of “NO”. I can’t do everything well-meaning folks want me to do. Heck, I can’t do everything I want to do. My body just won’t allow it. I’ve learned to say “N-O”.
In fact, just since I’ve started writing this blog post, I have declined a speaking engagement and a new website project! It’s not that I don’t want to do these things; it’s just that I cannot. My plate is already full. Aaaah, sweet progress.
I now realize that I don’t have the strength of Samson, the energetic stamina of my brilliant husband or the desire to “yes” myself into an early grave. Today I trust God for the strength and wisdom to change long-term so that He can use me effectively and strategically.
Today, I put me – girlfriend, sister, daughter, mom [to one], mommie [to another] and pastor’s wife at the top of the list. I hope you will put “you” on the list as well, Godsy Girl.
Here’s what I promise myself (I hope you’re inspired, and I pray I’m determined!):
1. I will no longer prepare a meal for my family only to have a cookie and a coke in front of the computer.
2. I pledge to eat some kind of breakfast every day.
3. I am determined to bring some activity to my life – be it yoga, walking with my dvd.
4. I will drink at least five glasses of water a day (that’s the best I can do for now).
5. I will say “no” more often than I say “yes” for the rest of 2010. Further, when I’m tired I will stop and give my body the rest it craves.
6. I will take at least a multi-vitamin every day.
7. I will allow myself frequent time to read a book I enjoy – regularly.
8. In adding myself to the list, I promise to let myself “off the hook” when everything is not perfect. That Proverbs 31 Woman stuff will kill ya!
9. From this day, I will scale back my consulting business, trainings, websites and technical assistance projects. I’ll trust God to guide my career. If I miss Him and make a wrong decision, He’s big enough to find me and re-position me. Today, I trust Him with everything, in lieu of trying to be everything.
10. I can’t think of a #10 right now. Any ideas of how you take care of yourself?