“How are you taking care of yourself right now?”
~Pastor Megan Filer, all the time
This is a phrase that, if you have spent much time with me at all, you have heard me say A LOT. How are you taking care of yourself? What are ways you might find rest? I just wrote a whole blog post about the power of sabbath, clearly this has been on my mind.
And honestly, it’s a topic I can’t say enough about. It’s a topic I can’t hear enough about. Taking care, practicing self-care, is so important for us in our lives and our ministry, that even I need this reminder.
Taking care of ourselves so that
And so to remind myself, I write. Jesus commands us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:36-40). Which implies that we also need to love ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves. There are lots of points in our scripture that remind us that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20) and to cast our cares onto Jesus (1 Peter 5:7-9)
But I think sometimes we forget that part of this temple-treatment of ourselves, part of this giving our cares and our worries to our Savior, is a needed reminder to care for ourselves. To care for ourselves so that…
So that we can serve our God and our neighbor in need. So that we can be in healthy and responsible relationships with those in our lives. Sometimes we need these reminders of self-care so that we can rest, and just rest.
And honestly, I need this reminder a lot more than I’d like to admit. Part of my personality is enthusiastic, positive energy. And sometimes even the energizer bunny needs to recharge. I’ve been practicing saying my catchphrase, “How are you taking care of yourself right now?” to myself.
I’m still happy to ask this question of others, to help people name the ways they are taking care, but it’s become my personal mantra as well. And as I ask this question, I have been happily surprised with the answers.
Answering my own question
I find myself laying on my living room floor with my daughter, recognizing that this moment of joy and laughter as she waves her little finger in the air to music, is one of my answers. Sometimes my answer is seeing the latest Marvel movie with my husband and taking a break from reality together. (Also super heroes are a big part of my self-care regime.)
There are days I answer this question of how I am caring for myself with the life-giving excitement in our church. Days where I leave the church after an event, worship, service project, or other ministry opportunity filled with that joy and energy that fulfilling our callings can brings. And there are days where my answer to caring for myself is a long and restful vacation.
I have found care in friends and colleagues, in quiet time alone, in creativity, in reading, and even in video games.
And sometimes, there are days, where I can’t seem to find that rest. There are days where the usual answers to that question, “How are you taking care of yourself right now?” allude me. And those are the days, the moments, when I remember my most important answer to that question: prayer.
Sometimes all I can do in taking care of myself so that I can go out and do, so that I can rest, is to pray that God helps me to do so. To lift up my worries and my cares to God. To pray for peace or comfort or strength, whatever it might be. That when I can’t seem to take care of myself, I know that there is Someone caring for me.
How are you taking care of yourself right now? No really! What are you doing for self-care? How might you answer that question during times in your life that feel stressful or overwhelming? What about when things seem calm? What are your prayers to God for you in your life today?