The beauty of blogging is that life inspires my shareable thoughts. In unexpected ways, I hear “Ah ha!” in my head as the words reveal themselves at just the right time. Today’s post was born from one simple, yet profound statement my chiropractor recently made about his personal philosophy on life. He said “I’m taking care of me for you.”
And there it was, the proverbial gong and clang on which his words traveled and landed in my core. Did you hear it, too?
I…We…must take care of ourselves – mind, body and spirit. I am Loving On Me for you. “You” is different for everyone. For me, it means the following and in this order: God, myself, family, colleagues and community.
This message couldn’t be more fitting to begin February – a month focused on the heart and love. As Valentine’s Day approaches and the American Heart Association’s Heart Month kicks off, I encourage you to think about how you can make “Loving On Me for You” happen in your life. The entire premise of “Loving On Me” is about honoring and respecting yourself so that you can be the person God created you to be – to be your best self and serve Him. In doing this, we must be obedient to Him and care for the gifts with which He has entrusted us. If we don’t take care of ourselves spiritually and physically, how can we truly be His light, give our best as parents, loved ones, friends, mentors, leaders and humanitarians?
An Ancient Lesson
Relevant to this day is an example from the Bible in Exodus 18. Moses, God’s chosen one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, was struggling to “take care of himself for his people.” He was literally feeling the fate of the world on his shoulders, trying to be everything to everyone, when he felt a tap from his father-in-law, Jethro. This is how I imagine their conversation going.
Jethro taps Moses’ shoulder: “Excuse me Moses, sorry to bother you but, what is all of this you are doing?”
Jethro clears his throat and speaks louder to get Moses’ attention: “Moses!”
Moses, startled, turns to Jethro, standing tall with his chest puffed out, dark circles under his weary eyes and a 24/7 five o’clock shadow on his face. He puts his game-face on (sound familiar?):
“Hello Jethro. What can I do for you?”
Jethro, looking puzzled with one eyebrow lifted said: “Do for me? Son, it appears that maybe I need to do something for you.”
Moses listened as wise words poured from Jethro: “Why are you the only one doing the work, sitting as a judge, while your people stand around and moan about their difficulties?”
Moses: “Because God put me in charge of these people. They come to me seeking God’s will whenever they have a disagreement or when they need me.”
Jethro: “Uh huh. Well, what you’re doing isn’t good. I’m going to give you advice whether you like it or not. (This is why we love our in-laws, right?) You won’t last much longer because the work is too heavy for you alone. You will wear yourself out and then you’ll be no good to anyone, especially God.”
(Yep! Moses just heard the “gong and clang.”)
Jethro continues: “God has chosen you to lead which means you must be your best self. In order to stay the course, you must delegate to your people. Teach them the laws and the rules. Assign capable people to handle less difficult situations and you take care of only the most challenging. This will lighten your load so that you can fulfill God’s commands.”
Back to Now
I hear you. It’s not easy. To be honest, I struggle every day with allowing distractions to send me off track. But, I have learned to set a slow and steady, compassionate pace that helps center me when I veer off course. Many of you are pros at this, but for those of you longing to have a quiet mind long enough to breathe and think, perhaps sharing these small steps that are essential for me to stay anchored to my priorities can help you set a new path and find what works for you.
- Before My Feet Hit the Floor in the morning, I thank God for another day of life and ask Him to guide my every word and step, and to use me for His good.
- I Listen in Silence when I take a few minutes to read my devotional and pray about the messages I receive. Sometimes I jot down my thoughts which often stay in my mind all day long. (Matthew 6:33)
- I Exercise even if I only have 20 minutes to get my body moving. Walking and yoga several times a week are ways I relieve stress and clear the clutter in my head.
- Cooking Healthy Food is therapy for me. Fueling myself, family and friends with healthy recipes brings joy to my soul. Our bodies are His temples. (I Corinthians 3:16-17)
- Listening to Music, even if it’s just a few minutes in the car, while I walk or if I’m singing in the kitchen, I must have this simple joy in my life.
- Put White Space on My Calendar to give myself time in between commitments and don’t rush from place to place.
These are just some simple steps that help me practice Loving On Me so that I can give my best to those who rely on me. For the most part, these actions require little to no money, but rather time and a commitment to allow peace, joy, and health to fuel my endurance and keep me living a purposeful life on this earth for as long God allows.
By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:19)
Next time you’re tempted to skip the exercise, make a poor food choice or say yes and over commit yourself, ask yourself this: “am I taking care of me so that I can serve Him and take care of others?”