Fit to serve

I am sitting on the couch, fingers wrapped around a cup of warmth and deliciousness, also known as coffee. It’s raining outside and thankfully there aren’t any urgent errands to run. After dropping Jesse off at school this morning, the house is still, and I take a moment to savor the quiet. As a stay-at-home mom, this is the career I’ve always wanted, but it requires me to be my own boss.

I’m responsible for how much gets done each day at home. If the laundry isn’t clean or the dishes stay piled high in the sink before dinner it’s on me.

Discipline is key. This principle applies to all of life really. Structure, routine, rhythm, whatever you call it, time management helps things run smoothly. Even structuring time for margin is important. One way I do this is intentionally taking time throughout the week to take care of myself.

“Self-care” is a word that in the past, I gave a suspicious sideways glance. It gives an impression of selfishness, curated by our culture’s post-modern vocabulary which I don’t trust as a general rule of thumb. But over the years I’ve learned it is actually very important. As a mom to a boy with autism, my days are demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. I need healthy ways to relieve the stress that internally builds up.

Imagine you’re flying in an airplane that is in distress. The emergency oxygen masks pop down and they tell you to put yours on first before helping the person beside you. That goes against every mama instinct, but the logic behind it is that if you aren’t getting any oxygen, you can’t help someone else put on their oxygen mask.

One way I’ve practiced self-care is by exercising a few days a week. I don’t make it a huge deal, just around 30 minutes is fine. But I feel better afterwards, for doing something good for my body and mental health.

After collapsing a few years ago with just my son at home it was a wake-up call to take better care of myself. I want to bless my family and friends and community by being around for as long as I can. The best way to do that is to make sure I’m able to function first.

Listening to my body and its warning signs: Am I breathing too quick and shallow? Brain fog? Short temper? Fatigued? You get the idea…It’s just about making simple changes to improve my overall health. Even if it’s just sitting for 15 minutes alone or not turning on music in the car to declutter my thoughts. Maybe you have to hide out in the bathroom to get away from the chaos of little ones for a few moments. That’s okay.

When we know that a short break will help us be a little more patient and kind to those we take care of, it’s actually a service to them too.

Our bodies are made to honor God, and He only gave us one. Moderate exercise, better food choices, even how I spend my time, are all ways to worship the Lord by demonstrating His authority over me. I don’t think it means we’re rigid with our lives, but I don’t want to abuse this gift either. I can please God by taking care of my body, which enables me to serve others well.

What is one way you take care of yourself? Or what simple change can you make to help your overall health? I’d love to know. Feel free to share in the comments below 🙂

 

Grace upon grace,

April

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