How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions? I hope they included intention not just to improve yourself, but to maintain yourself! As your children's greatest spiritual resource (not to mention physical and emotional and intellectual!)--you need to remember to put yourself on the "Needing Care" list!
Years ago when I found myself exhausted and somewhat ill, a doctor said, "You can kill yourself if you want to, but if you want to live well for years to come, you need to take responsibility for your health--no one else will!"
I began to realize that for many years I had exhausted myself and given so much that I had gotten to the danger point. At this particular point, Joy had nocturnal asthma and was up 1-2 hours every night, Sarah had an unusual illness, Clay was gone 3-4 days a week and still every day everyone had to eat, wear reasonably clean clothes and have some of my attention. Plus it was the beginning of the growth of our new ministry and I was in the thick of homeschooling. So how was I going to make my life different?
Here are some priorities I put in place. You have heard it all before, but regular focus on these priorities will keep us healthy. Might any of them be of help to you?
1. Change my schedule to fill my own needs--since I am the well from which everyone draws all the time, I needed to be sure that well was being regularly filled back up. Rethinking how to center my life was essential.
2. Cutting out of my schedule those things that people wanted from me and that life seemed to call forth from me, but that weren't essential. This is always hard to figure out and I have a hard time saying no. But there are meetings, lessons, "experiences" and always people wanting my attention. Had to realize that I could not have integrity in my messages if there was no integrity in my life. So, though I would love to meet all the needs I see out there, I have to get used to the fact that I will never, ever be able to get everything done I would like to, and so I have to choose to ignore some things in order to attend to the most important things (my walk with the Lord and quiet time, my physical body, my husband, my children, then my ministry.)
3. Added regular exercise to my life to get rid of my high adrenalin--there is high stress in my life and much of it can be dealt with by exercise. Plus, that's how I discipled Sarah--she walked with me every morning-2-3 miles.
4. Watching my diet more carefully--lots of fruit and vegetables and salads and nuts with some occasional "bad" stuff, but trying to focus on the 75% healthy side that my naturalist suggested and 25% splurge. (Traveling demands that I be flexible and we love to celebrate life--Sunday is the main splurge day for our family!)
5. Reading and filling my mind from other mature believer's lives. There are many wonderful writers out there who encourage and teach me, and I like to think of them as mentors. I also meet with a wise friend who's a bit ahead of me on life's journey and walk with the Lord, as often as we are both in town and able to meet. Make sure to have a quiet time.
6. Simplify, simplify, simplify all of life. What can you cut out?
7. Sabbath rest--always take Sundays off to rest, have fun, fellowship, worship and let everything rest until Monday--it is still there.
8. Create joy and fun for yourself--you are responsible to keep your cup filled so that others can draw life from what you have invested in yourself. Plan anchors of filling into your weekly schedule--I go for breakfast, (my favorite meal), with a friend, go for regular walks, have daily tea times, plan trips to see my kids, and so much more.
This is what I am doing now. I have had some real fulfilling months and yet very taxing. Some weeks are about dropping everything. He can take care of all of the demands--if I don't observe these days of planned Sabbath for my soul, I will not be prepared for anything else--He and His ways must come first if I am going to make it this year!
So how are you doing, in the area of caring for your very important self?