“You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.”
I heard that a lot the first few years of parenthood. Friends and family encouraged me to take care of myself. I clung to that advice, my license to devote a fraction of my life to my health.
But, there was a problem.
Every time I felt like I wasn’t cutting it as a parent or wife, I also felt like I didn’t deserve to care for myself. Bizarrely, I started to rate my level of performance and then decide if I had earned a walk out doors, or a special meal that I enjoyed. After all, If I wasn’t taking care of anyone else, then I didn’t deserve to take care of myself. That warped view sent me into seasons of despair or unhealthy physical habits that I had to dig myself out of later. It became a sad cycle.
Starting this year, I dug for verses that would become a power house to keep myself on a healthy road. There are many in God’s word that encouraged me.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
3 John 1:2, NIV
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Proverbs 17:22, NIV
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 31:17, NIV
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
I love these verses. There is enough truth in each of them to fuel my determination for change, but the one that I clung to changed my world.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8, ESV
I, Lora, am the work of His hands. I am precious and unique and made for His wonderful purposes. Me, just me. Not me, the mom or me, the wife or me, the sister, daughter, friend, etc..
I am precious and God wants me to find rest and health. I don’t have to earn the right for it…I was born into it with His love and grace.
Funny how one little way of looking at my world from a different angle has filled me with joy. I am excited to be healthy. I no longer look at it as another task I must perform in order to better serve others, instead I look at it as a precious gift from my Abba Father who sees me first as His child and longs for me to come to Him for spiritual health, emotional well being, and physical guidance.
And, as I changed the way I looked at caring for myself, I have a heart that abounds in love and joy more than ever before. I am parenting and partnering with my husband feeling loved and cared for by my Abba Father.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Today, my hope for you today is that you drink that water and have quiet soul time not only because you want to better serve others, but because you, just you, are loved by Abba Father.
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"...and God was already there with me."