Who are you outside of the "roles" you play each day?
My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42 (NLT)
I was in the shower one evening, worrying about the cares of life, marriage, children and work. I began to cry and God says “take care of yourself and I will take care of everything that concerns you.” Taking care of yourself is not in the absence of God’s provision and care for you, instead it means to not worry yourself with concerns that cause you to neglect your well-being and put pressure and weight on your life.
So often as women we forget who we are when we are living life. What does living life as a woman looks like? Whether married or single there is a level of responsibility and care we receive and embody as we are nurturers by nature. Some of us are married, have children, take care of the home, and work. Some are leaders and supervisors that make sure things are managed and running smoothly. Problem solving all day only to come home and have to solve the children’s math problems, and then cook a meal. Some women have decided to go back to school while at the same time help the husband build his business. Some are business women, starting organizations to make sure others are fed or provided the resources to be the woman of the future. Some are working in their church, teaching and leading auxiliaries, all while helping little kids and single mothers in the community.
Women are holding down the home, being a confidant, sewing clothes and ironing uniforms, running baths and reading bedtime stories to their children. They must listen to every work and school story, all while trying to stay vibrant enough to give the husband a” little something, something” in the night because you know he expects it and need it.
In pleasing and meeting everyone’s needs, we often neglect our own needs. Not realizing that if we don’t take care for the woman that is silently screaming to be noticed, then we run the risk of burn out and will not be any good for the people around us.
Women often define themselves by what they do or the role they live out each day and they equate it as purpose. I had a woman tell me that her purpose in life is only to be a wife to her husband. I was vexed by that statement, as I thought what if he dies, God forbid, but unfortunately, that is many women’s story. When he dies, does that mean purpose for you will get buried also?
There are many grief stricken women dealing with this daily, how to pick up the pieces after loss. Loss of all kinds, such as separation/divorce; death of a spouse or child; empty nest syndrome, where children grow into adults and are no longer living in the home; death of a loved one that they were the primary care taker for many years; a child with disabilities; and a barren womb and loss of a job.
We must be careful to not define who we are by what we do each day. Mother, wife, boss-lady, caretaker, teacher etc. are all titles and roles we are assigned to in life. But if we do not take the time to explore who we are outside of those responsibilities, when those things are removed, we will be left empty.
I AM GUILTY! I am first to raise my hand, guilty of neglecting my first responsibility to myself. I used to think that would make me seem selfish to consider my needs. Instead we will put that responsibility on others to consider us, only to be disappointed when the expectations of our needs are not being met. But why should they, if I never gave them a guide or example to show what caring for me looks like.
Even airlines have the safety policy that in the event of the plane malfunctioning, before helping others with their oxygen masks, put yours on first. Sounds weird to do, but makes perfect sense because how can a person give life to someone, when life is being taken out of them.
Give yourself permission to put your “oxygen mask” on first. It’s OK to take a moment to breathe, and to give yourself some mental, physical & spiritual attention. Oftentimes, we think to meet these needs, requires huge financial expenses. But tropical vacations, massages or spa treatments are not the only way to pamper yourself. Of course these are awesome ideas, but they are not the most efficient ways to treat ourselves.
Here are a few ideas that are beneficial with little effort and little to no cost:
Participate in spiritual enrichment consistently such as conferences, workshops, and women’s group
When coming home after work, ask the kids (or spouse) to give you 30-minutes to 1-hour to wind down and freshen up. This will minimize frustrations and stress from the day to not spill over on your family.
Set the tone for your home, by turning on music and quieting the home at a certain time.
Put the kids to bed at a certain time to reserve time for you to prepare for the next day and receive ‘me’ time.
Develop a nighttime routine that relaxes your body and mind to get a restful sleep
Taking evening walks
Take up sewing, quilting or scrapbooking
Add essential oils to your bath
Prior to bathing, put cuticle oil on nails and toes to get an instant pedicure
Cleanse and scrub face, removing all makeup, oil, and dirt from pores
Always moisturize face and neck to maintain fresh and a glow in your skin. Moisturizers keeps skin looking supple and minimizes wrinkles
Shave all important parts. Lotions and oils applies better and will help to eliminate smells, particularly during menstrual cycles.
Please share some ideas that you do to consider yourself first. Or what do you find difficult to consider yourself.
Who are you outside of the "roles" you play each day?
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