Friday, April 24, 2015

Caring for Your Self: It Matters

Self-sacrifice is highly esteemed. Kids are taught from their tiniest days to let people have what they want (share) even if it means they don't get what they want immediately. I think this is all wonderful because our inborn tendency is often to take for oneself and be indifferent to those around us. 


I learned this too well. 

Or maybe I learned it wrong.

As I watch my daughter and son, I long for them to care enough to go out of their way for others and I wish for them to know they don't have to give up everything they want all the time. I want them to get what they need too.

That's the only clarity I have in this department, but it's a good start. I'm trying to apply it to myself since I have a loud critic in my head. I think it's the same one my friend nick-named Helga, which I like so I'm copying. My Helga tells me it's never okay to take some space for myself. "If people need you, you push through. You dig deeper. You suck it up. That's how we do." I have a hard time arguing because sometimes it is the right thing. When my boy's feeling small and scared, he doesn't have another mamma, so I ask Jesus' to drip his love in my veins and help me make it happen. 

Sometimes it's the right thing, but sometimes it isn't.

What if I interrupt my fast-thinking, helping compulsion and entertain the possibility that the thing I'm chomping at the bit to do, may not be the next right thing? I need to take a moment because otherwise, I don't hear that I'm important too. That's why it's okay to take care of me. Jesus could've made anybody. Anybody. He or she would've debuted on my birthday and been a gift to the world. But he waited all eternity for June 28, 1980 in little Earth's way of counting time to have me. Me. In this era, in my family, in my city. What the heck? 

HOW have I not KNOWN I was special?

How have I not realized I was worth caring for?

When did I subconsciously decide I was one of the expendables who could be used up in the cause of helping the worthwhile people be better? I DON'T THINK THOSE CLASSIFICATIONS ARE REAL. Just a really ugly lie.

my birthday

Well now I see it. I see how I've faced decisions and decided if someone needed to suffer or take a hit, the easy way out was to offer myself. Then I didn't have to listen to the guilt. I could feel noble and honorable. I don't know what it's like everywhere, but it's confusing in church. We tell our people to lay down our life but not be a doormat, but when I look around, I see lots of doormats. People doing what they think they should and getting beat up in the process. Ever since I heard Jesus say he was bringing "a rich and satisfying life" I wished our church wasn't so full of workaholics or social-aholics or outreach-aholics. It doesn't matter what kind of junkie we are. We're still junkies.

It's usually our bodies that finally get our attention. I woke up to adrenal fatigue and still found it hard to choose me. I let volunteer stuff go. I said no. Then I got tired and said some yeses. But I'm not mad at me for that. I didn't know how special I was and I thought it was better that way. Like the pretty girl who doesn't know she is. I didn't know it was okay to accept it. I thought if I accepted a sense of specialness, my head would explode and I'd forget to care about you, my neighbors, and people across the world. I thought I'd fall in a selfish pit. 

But being a gift is innately fluid. If I'm a gift, I will be given and spread around and on the day I die, all used up in the best, best way. No selfish pits here. 

A dear friend told me, "Every time you choose them over you..." and either she didn't finish or I didn't hear it because there was a big flash of light inside my head. The kind of divine light that unlocks what you've always wondered. The idea you've longed to feel and prayed for and thought you might have to live without until the twinkling. 

I'm my teacher. Every time I take care of myself (even when I don't feel special) I teach my mind that it's true. And every time I know better but let myself take another hit, I'm teaching myself I'm not worthy, not special enough to conserve. So that's why it matters every time. I can't keep cheating "one more time," if I want to forget the lie. 

Oh, I remember what she said! "Every time you choose to make yourself a priority, the less it will matter if people judge you for it. Then your priorities will get clearer and you'll start spending your energy where it's important." 

Take that, Helga. 

That's how we do.


  1. Oh my goodness Kendra we must be soul friends! This post really resonates with me. I also gave and gave and sacrificed until I got sick. The sickness forced me to take a good long look at the way I was living my life. I started on a journey of setting healthy boundaries and practicing self care. It was hard at first, because it felt so wrong to look after me. After much practice I am slowly getting to the point where I can do this without suffering pangs of guilt. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. Excellent post!!!