Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take Care

I know you’ve done it. Run yourself into the ground taking care of others. It’s our feminine nature to nurture others and it’s a noble thing. However, there’s nothing noble about depleting your reserves and putting yourself on the wounded list.

It’s great to feel needed. As women, we are always needed, especially at certain seasons of our life. We are surrounded by needs and we know how to help. We know how to be good listeners, how to feed the hungry, how to run the errands, how to tend the children, and countless other care-taking chores. We serve in our homes, our extended families, our neighborhoods. We love being needed, we love making a difference, and we love serving. Serving helps us feel important and valuable. Service helps us develop Christlike qualities and helps us feel closer to him.

This constant service, though rewarding, can be draining, especially if we neglect to tend our own garden of needs. There is much to be done and we can make a difference, but it’s easy to overlook our own needs and let our lives be swallowed up in service. The key is balance. We need to balance our own needs with those of others.

You can’t take water from an empty bucket, no matter what your dipper looks like. Filling your bucket needs to be at the top of your to do list. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, it is essential. How will we serve if our buckets are empty? Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your family, because it ensures that you will still be able to serve tomorrow.

What can you do to fill your bucket? For me, a good night’s sleep is essential. Lack of sleep is guaranteed to make me grouchy and unsociable. Service, not likely. I also need to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Fitting exercise into my life is challenging, but oh the difference it makes.

This probably sounds really simple so far, but I’ll bet you’ve put off every one of these things when someone needed you. In addition to taking care of my physical needs, I have emotional needs. I need a little me time every day to do something I love, something that feeds me. Writing can do this for me, so can reading a good book, chatting with a friend, a date with Friend-husband. Sometimes a nap is called for.

I have spiritual needs too, and for me daily prayer and scripture reading are a must. I can’t stay on top of my game when I neglect these rituals on a consistent basis.

Cleaning toilets, washing dishes, and folding laundry do not qualify as me time, even though it is nice to get things done. The result is enjoyable, but it just doesn’t fill my bucket. Maybe it’s different for you.

Bucket filling works best when we do it daily. If we let our buckets get bone dry before we refresh them, it’s going to be hard, but if we continually refresh, then we have more to give.

What refreshes you? Maybe we could make a big list and share it with other amazing women.

Take care. You take care of others. Please take care of you.

Linda Garner

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