We women are tough! So super tough. Sensitivity to love others with depth, but courage of spirit to prevail in the most challenging of times. Kindness and compassion, mixed with grit and endurance.
But do we feed one and not the other?
I have this crazy kidney disease. It’s called Cystenuria. It is pretty rare, but I have been the oh-so-lucky possessor of this rare gem all my life! In a nutshell, it is a genetic disease that causes chronic kidney stones and infections. It hurts. Bad. Unforgettable-I-think-I-am-going-to-die pain.
Somehow I manage to “forget” that!
Somehow, I begin to imagine myself as invincible.
There are a couple of medications that help manage the disease immensely. But I do this dance with my disease and the medications. I take care of myself for a few months, manage the disease, and lead a pretty normal life. That is where the invincible mentality steps in.
“I have so much to do for the kids, I can just cancel my appointment this month. I probably don’t need this medication anymore either. Why don’t I just cut my dosage down and see if I can get off of it? It is one more expense and one less phone call to make.”
“Awww, I’m doing great, I can eat that or drink that.”
Then one day BAM, it starts. In a matter of hours, I go from a twinge of pain in my mid to lower back to screeching on the bathroom floor pleading with Jesus to come NOW!
It sounds so ridiculous, but I have seriously done this dance several times in my life. Why didn’t I just take care of myself and save myself from this disaster?
But as ridiculous as it sounds, haven’t you been there in some way, shape, or form? You deny yourself? You choose others and refuse to take care of yourself? Maybe for you it is not your health. Maybe it is your faith. Or maybe, like me, it is both.
I do the same dance with my faith and the time I spend filling up on Jesus.
If I hit a faith crisis, I fill myself up with Him to get through. I get diligent about my time with Him and about surrounding myself with those who can minister His love and guidance to me. Life gets better. The confidence comes back and the invincible mentality creeps in.
I justify pushing out all that I need to take care of myself in order to serve and minister to others. I replace my personal time with Jesus with the busyness of life. It feels okay because at that point I’m okay. I’m strong. I’m invincible.
Then one day BAM, there I am. In a heap. Needing Jesus like crazy because I thought I was strong enough without my Life-Giving Medicine … without Him! I ask myself, “How did I get here AGAIN?”
I know I’m a mess. I know I most definitely bring on a great big portion of my own troubles. But I know that you other strong women out there, get yourselves in the same kinds of messes. I know you go like crazy, loving on everyone along the way, rarely stopping to take care of yourself. Feeling like soaking up Jesus and filling your heart is an indulgence.
But Jesus is not an indulgence. He is our life-giving medicine, my friends. Without Him, our hearts will bottom out. Our spirits will exhaust. Our bodies will crash.
In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus says,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ‘There is no commandment greater than these.”
He didn’t say to love yourself less or more. He says to love yourself as your neighbor. He wants you to take care of yourself. He wants you mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy!
There is a unique balance in there somewhere we each must find for ourselves. Extending our hearts and compassion in service to others is a gift we have been given. Balancing that gift with self-care is the winning combination.
Let’s do this together, k?
Dear Father, I know that you created each of us as unique and wonderful creations. You love us intensely and desire for us to be healthy. You most definitely do not want us to treat your creation with anything less than our best! Thank You for giving us not only the permission, but the commandment to love ourselves as well as our neighbors. Please fill each of us with Your strength and wisdom to know and say “yes” or “no” when it is right and good to do so. I ask You to wave a red flag in our minds and hearts when we sway toward replacing You with the busyness of life. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Blessings and smiles,