Like others, I’ve adopted terms like self-care and self-love; neither of which has come easy for me. Growing up I’ve always had an optimistic outlook on life. Was I super bubbly? Not quite. As my family and friends would tell you I’m an introvert—usually quiet and shy. But, I always offered a positive word of encouragement, or at least I tried my best to cheer someone up that needed it. I couldn’t stand to see my friends, family, or anyone else down and speaking death over their situation.
However, I didn’t have that same energy when it came to myself in my own situations and obstacles. At the time, it didn’t matter. I made sure to fake it until I made it. The problem with that? I never made it. I hit my 20s and life hit hard—really hard. Friendships and sisterhoods died, school work was piling up, I was working multiple jobs (two at a time, twice)—God was adding and subtracting people and things so fast, I simply wasn’t understanding. Somewhere along the way, I gave up—almost.
I tried to continue to care for others and be present as usual, but it was exhausting. I couldn’t keep up with demand. Just replying to a text message felt overwhelming and too time consuming. I was at a point where I felt like I was giving all of me to a few things and nothing to everything else. Friends wouldn’t hear from me for months at a time. Family didn’t know if I was alive and well or struggling somewhere. The stress continued to pile on. Somehow, I was always busy all of the time, yet nothing seemed to be getting done.Talk about procrastination.
This went on for months—just short of a year, before I found myself in front of a doctor, literally sick from extreme fatigue and exhaustion, dehydration, and dang near panic attack. I had no choice after a meltdown. I could barely will myself to do anything after I woke up late for work and missed my early morning study session for a test. The doctor instructed me to lighten the load. I was forced to contact professors and employers for a medical absence. I had to get extensions and push back work deadlines. I felt as if I was failing—failing myself. I was walking around defeated—a crushed spirit, with a gloomy attitude, drowning in negativity. The decisions I was making, the attitude I had, the words I was speaking over myself showed a lack of care and love for myself.
Although God had mercy on me, I had to realize, by not taking care of myself and loving myself, it was impossible for me to be where and what God needed me to be. It was impossible for me to be present and available to others when God needed me to be. So, I slowed down. I began to spend more time with God, understanding His grace was sufficient. Did my school and workload lighten up? Not really. But, as soon as I made God my first priority (no matter the kind of day I was having and no matter my work load), He created time for my responsibilities. He created time for me to take time to recharge, relax my mind, care for my temple, and still handle my business.
I learned that as much as I loved Jesus, I wasn’t seeing myself as Christ sees me. You see, self-care and self-love begins with God. God worked things out for my good. I didn’t have to struggle with heavy shoulders and a broken back and broken heart because I gave it all to Him. He gave me time when I felt I had none. He gave me energy when I didn’t think I had any left in me. He gave me help when no one else could. He gave me strength when I was weak. Self-care and self-love came in the form of loving Jesus and truly experiencing Him. Although, I am flawed, when I began to truly and wholeheartedly have faith in God’s ability, I was made perfect in Christ. Believing that freed me. It allowed me to show myself grace. It allowed me to care and love myself in a way I never have before.
So, in case no one else has reminded you, let me—you are beautifully and wonderfully made. No obstacle is too big for God; therefore, no obstacle is too big for you to overcome. God’s love for you is real and true—and it is not only a disservice to yourself, but it’s a slap in the face to God to not care and love yourself, when He cares for you and loves you beyond measure. So, in all love, let me say, get over yourself, and go ahead and love yourself.
Until next time,