At the start of December you began a journey of self-discovery that can carry you into the new year if you’re willing. This week’s challenge involves ongoing thought about how you can care for your family and care for yourself too. This really is possible, but it takes planning, prayer, and determination. With 2016 just a few days away, it’s a great time to make some fresh, exciting commitments to self care.
Those commitments are:
1.Put Jesus first in your life. You just celebrated his birth. Now live as though his birth matters to you. Remember, God is the source of your strength and wisdom as a mother. He will be sure you don’t take self care to an extreme. He will cleanse you of sin and guilt. He will free you from anxiety, depression, and fear. If you don’t put God first, you are destined to fail at everything. God has better for you. Remember, you are destined to be a light!
- On a clean sheet in your journal, write down the things that prevent you from having time in Bible reading and prayer every day.
- Write down ways you can fight to have that time. Is it getting up earlier? Staying up later? Do you need to get an app for your smart phone so you can read the Bible during carpool? Do you need to read and pray during your lunch break?
- Take time to search the internet for resources that will help you grow. Do you need a new Bible? Do you need to join a church or a Bible study group? Do you need a spiritual mentor?
- Are there sins you need to confess and forsake? Do you need to seek or extend forgiveness? Write these things down. Pray about them. Make a decision to live for Christ in fresh new ways.
2. Go back to your journal and review what you’ve written this month.
- Keep thinking and writing on the pages of your journal. Who is the woman you uncovered?
- What does she love and long for?
- Are you saddened by the parts of you sitting on a shelf gathering dust? Maybe you’ve realized that you squelch far too many of the things that are important to you. In the name of good mothering, you sacrifice and that is necessary. But maybe you are silently suffering. Maybe you are out of balance. Maybe you don’t give yourself a break. Maybe you invest in others at the expense of your own health and well-being.
- Feel free to doodle on clean pages, write in words and phrases. What is your heart saying to you about what you need to feel whole?
3. Based on your reading and prayer, come up with three personal goals you can pursue in the coming year. For example, I’ve decided that I want to pursue physical fitness daily. I was reminded this month that I was once identified as an athlete and I want to rediscover that person with a new fitness plan. This has nothing to do with losing weight, which has been my motivation in the past. This has to do with being true to who I am inside, a part of me shelved after children came along.
- What is it for you? Identify the hobbies, activities, passions, or goals you have shelved and commit yourself to three of them for 2016.
- Devote one page to each and devise a potential plan for reaching that goal.
- How will you need to budget your time and money?
- How will your family have to sacrifice?
- Do your research and develop a plan.
4. Read Luke 2.41-52. Here, we catch a glimpse of the boy Jesus in the temple as he began to pursue his love for God and truth. He knew his destiny and it was begging for expression, but timing was everything. It would be another 18 years before he launched into full-time ministry. In the meanwhile, he was a family man and a carpenter.
Most significantly during those 18 years, Jesus grew in mind, body and spirit. He was maturing intellectually, physically and spiritually. He was growing in favor with God and with people.
Ultimately, self care is all about growth. It’s knowing where we are and where God wants us to go. He created us to mother and to do many other things. But just as the timing had to be right for Christ, it has to be right us. We can’t pursue everything we love in every season of life, but we can grow little by little, year by year, just as our Savior did.
5. To symbolize your desire for growth in 2016, choose a plant, flower or tree that you love and use it for inspiration. I have loved daisies since I was a child. Daisies were on the front of our wedding program and the daisy was my original ministry logo. It’s back! I will be incorporating daisies into my life anew because as wildflowers, they symbolize freedom. Yet they are dainty and feminine. Yellow is my favorite color and white is so pure and clean. I love daisies!
- How about you? What’s your favorite plant, flower or tree? Print a photo of it and keep it in a prominent place.
- Buy a bouquet regularly as a treat to yourself.
- Allow your plant to remind you to bloom where you are planted and be content with the things that can’t be changed in your life right now.
May 2016 be a year of great growth for you, dear Mom. I can’t wait to hear how God is working to bring you balance and joy as you mother your children and take care of you.