Self-Care Does Not Equal Self-ISH

Can we just admit it? We moms can be good at playing the martyr. Young or old, it’s as though we’re programmed to believe that if we’re caring for ourselves then we’re neglecting the care of others. I’m guilty. I can convince myself in a heartbeat that my unshaven legs and cancelled doctor appointments are proof of how hard I work for my family rather than the evidence of poor time management.

ID-100233627The fact is, if we believe that self-care is selfish then we have bought into a lie that exhausts us and robs us the joys of motherhood. Self-care is neither selfish nor optional. It is critical to our health and our ability to be who we were created to be and do what we were created to do.

It’s about stewardship, not indulgence. It isn’t going on a shopping spree at the expense of paying the mortgage. It isn’t opting for a spa manicure instead of rocking a sick baby. It’s carving out time in a busy schedule to care for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the sake of being renewed and restored.

Life’s demands do not have to govern us. Motherhood doesn’t have to drain us. As moms, we need to nurture our children, de-clutter our homes, and feed our families. But we can be more effective when we start with nurturing our own bodies, de-cluttering our minds, and feeding our spirit. Without this, our to-do list grows while our energy shrivels, along with our joy and effectiveness.

I know between carpooling and carschooling (my version of homeschooling many days), we all have too little time, but we still have the freedom to choose our schedule rather than let it dictate our lives. Start small and learn to build more margin into each day for activities that rejuvenate you.

If you’ve been meaning to catch up with an old friend, call her today for a short chat. If you’ve been wanting to wake up earlier to do a short devotion before the day starts, go to bed thirty minutes earlier (yes, even with a sink full of dishes) and do it.

Self-care is not selfish; It’s life-saving and life-giving. It’s not optional, but imperative. Without it, we find ourselves unraveling under the demands of life and unmanaged stress, making us vulnerable to illness, anxiety, and depression–all of which limits our ability to do what we’ve been called to do.

We don’t have to be martyr moms. We make it difficult to enjoy our lives and for others to enjoy us when we choose that path. I believe Jesus came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10), but a long face and exhausted body isn’t the best picture of that abundance.

This is the day. Not some day. Today is the day to choose to recharge your body, renew your mind, and refresh your spirit. You and your family will be glad you did.

So what are you waiting for? Are you guilty of waiting for some day to have more time or more money to really care for yourself as you should? What really keeps you from starting today? 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn Failed Resolutions Into ReVolutions That Change Your Life

We’re already past that point in January where most of us have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions and feel defeated by our lack of ability to drop those 10 pounds, start that new project, get our marriages back on track, you name it.

Before you get too discouraged though, let me assure you that you haven’t failed and it’s not too late for a re-do. This time though let’s have a reality check and make sure we’re doing what it takes to see real change rather than just pursuing a phantom wish we hope comes true.

What if instead of a half-hearted resolution, we decide to usher in a revolution?pablo-3

What if instead of making a resolution to lose weight, we revolutionized our approach to health and wellness? What if instead of making a resolution to have a better marriage, we revolutionized the way we treat our husbands? What if we stopped giving in to a defeatist mentality and finally revolutionized the way we see ourselves and determined that this is the year we stop saying we can’t and take the first step toward that thing we always wanted to do?

What if?

Merriam-Webster defines revolution as “a sudden, radical, or complete change” and “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something:  a change of paradigm.”

So how do we start our revolution?

  1. Make a specific plan and make it a real priority. Let’s be clear on this. Our priorities aren’t determined by what we claim, but by how we spend our time. We may claim that our marriage is our priority, but if spend our free time on Facebook rather than on a date with our husbands, we fool ourselves and nothing changes. However, a complete change in how your time is spent will mean a complete change in what you can achieve.
  2. Find someone you trust to hold you accountable and give support. It will be far too easy to quit if you are the only one who knows the plan. Ecclesiastes 2:10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help…”(NLT)
  3. Start today. Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Procrastination is the great enemy of great things. I tell my children (and myself regularly) that you can’t course-correct a still object. Don’t be afraid of all the what-ifs of getting off course occasionally. That is far better than standing still and getting nowhere.
  4. Get past the past. Don’t allow past failure or disappointment to define you. Failures are just opportunities to learn a better way and grow. It doesn’t matter that you completely blew it up to this point with your children or nearly bankrupted financially. Life is a series of chapters. Learn from the experience, ask for forgiveness if necessary, and write the next chapter afresh.
  5. Keep the end in sight. Yogi Berra supposedly said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Know where you’re going from the start because it will get harder before it gets better. You will reach a plateau and want to quit. But there’s only one thing that guarantees our failure, and that’s quitting. You may need to rest and re-focus, but get back up and get back to work. It’s worth it.

How hard is this? Well I guess that depends on the revolution, but nothing worth having was ever gained effortlessly. But it is not impossible.

You CAN do it!

You’re turn. What in your life is in need of a “sudden, radical, or complete change”? Decide and then start your revolution today.

 

 

Do You Know What You Were Born For?

I’m sure you all know that familiar voice that whispers every now and then, “There’s got to be more to life than this.” Do you know what you are here on earth for, or do you often struggle to find meaning in the mundane of daily living?ID-100339655

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As moms, it’s a question we must settle for ourselves if we are going to be able to guide our children toward purposeful and fulfilled living.

I know not all of you share my faith, but I cannot talk about purpose aside from my faith. As Christmas draws near, I couldn’t help but think of what the birth and life of Jesus teaches us about our own purpose even now.

Jesus knew clearly what He was born for, and He lived and died with singularity of purpose. There was no question; there was no soul-searching. He was born to die an agonizing death. Yet He moved through His life with such focus that in a short thirty-plus years, He changed not only the lives of those He walked with, but also the lives of countless others for more than 2,000 years since.

We may not be called to die for the sins of the world, but we were born with a distinct and unique purpose.

So, how do we live that purpose out?

1—Remember that God alone, not our circumstances, determines our destiny. Jesus was born amidst scandal, grew up in a backwoods town, and was mocked and scorned by the leaders of the day. Yet, He set his eyes on who his Father said He was (John 13:3) and accomplished what had been set for Him to do (John 12:49-50).

2—Finding our purpose requires God-searching rather than soul-searching. Jesus knew His Father in Heaven and talked with Him (Matthew 14:23). God is the author of our purpose and He wants to share it with us. He will show us every step as we get in step with Him (Psalm 37:23-24).

3—Do the hard thing and be willing to stand alone. Jesus challenged religion and tradition in order to fulfill His call. Because of it, He was sought and killed. He was driven to His death alone and shamed. Still, He died as He lived—intentionally (1 John 3:16, Matt 26:52-54).

4—If you seek to be great, seek first to serve. Who serves better than you mamas? The world may not see the glory in wiping snotty noses and jellied fingers, but I sure hope you know that your sacrifices done in love will reap a mighty reward (Matthew 23:11-12, Galatians 6:9)!

5—When you breathe your last breath, it’s really all about love. The “stuff”, the accomplishments, the promotions all disappear, but a legacy of love is eternal (Matthew 22:36-40).

We all have a myriad of choices every day. Some will distract us, some will detour us, and some will completely derail us. Still others will move us toward the life only we were meant to live. When we intentionally seek the Father’s will, walk with the One who made it possible, and serve those placed around us, we will not only exist, but will live a life worth dying for.

How about you? Are you living life on purpose or just trying to get through the day? What one thing can you do today to recognize and passionately fulfill your call?

 

 

 

 

 

Surrendering Happily-Ever-After

Family Photo copyAt a young age, my head was full of anticipation for the happily-ever-after-life I would one day lead. I dreamed about who I would marry, where we would live, how many children we would have, how many others we would adopt. I dreamed about the books I’d write and the people I would help, and the list goes on and on.

Today, I’m no different although my dreams have changed over the years. Some I’ve gladly given up, like being a pilot since I’m afraid of heights. Others I still cling to and believe for, like finally putting to pen the multiple books in my heart.

But what of the dreams I long for and see time making less and less achievable? What of the shattered dreams that have left me disillusioned and confused? What of the uprooting and rearranging of dreams I’m seeing right now? Nowhere in my little-girl hopes did hurt and loss come into play. Nowhere did I account for personal failure or the failure of others. Nowhere was there room in my young heart for dreams that didn’t come true.

What about your dreams, dear one? Are you in a season of surrendering your own version of happily-ever-after? Perhaps your prince charming isn’t so much after all. Perhaps your home isn’t being filled with the laughter of children you always imagined or you have a prodigal who you long to come home. Maybe sickness or financial crisis has left you unable to do little more than survive, let alone chase a dream.

Please know how I long to whisper words of hope into your soul.

I don’t know what you’re dreaming today, but I know that you can entrust it to the One who knows every secret longing. He has a way of drawing the line between the dreams others have instilled in you and those He intended all along.

Don’t miss this beautiful, broken journey dearest sister. It’s not about the dream. It never was. It’s about faith in the One who knows what will truly satisfy. It’s not about resigning ourselves to loss. It’s about releasing the right to be bitter for what we thought our life should or could look like and giving God permission to take over. When we do that, He may breathe fresh life into dead dreams or teach us how to relinquish them so that new ones can be birthed.

When hopelessness takes over, remember this, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Eph. 3:20 The MSG)

What are you dreaming of today? Or have dreamed your whole life? Will you be able to trust Jesus with it? Will you let Him decide what will be granted, what will be reshaped, and what will die?