This past month I have been doing a self check to see how I’m faring spiritually and emotionally. Periodic self checks are normal for me, always making sure that I am staying within the boundaries God has given me. My priorities are intimate time talking with God and being in His word; serving my family (my husband and children above all); and then fulfilling my ministry call of Christian discipleship and nutritional health and healing. After making my assessments I have concluded that I have stepped outside of the lines. I know have not remained in my bounds because though I haven’t been really physically tired I have been emotionally drained. I am an action person so when I see a need and believe I can fulfill it I often want to, and do, quickly meet others’ needs. Usually I am good with knowing when I’ve done too much. This time I was a little late. Now I feel like I want to hole up, turn off the phone and simply sit and stare one way from now on. But I know I can’t do that, and when you feel overwhelmed, you can’t either. We have to have our priorities in order so we can continually have the capacity to love others as God commands. To help us remain within our boundaries, I want to share with you what I typically do and what God reminded me that I have been telling others but haven’t done myself:
Self care is essential—We must have regularly scheduled time for ourselves. I have written how daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual getaways are important to my well being. Think of the places you like to go, the activities you like to engage in, and the people who pour into you, and make sure you are connecting with these on a regular basis. Your favorite places, activities and people will refresh you physically, spiritually and emotionally. When you are refreshed, you are refueled and have some fuel to give and some to keep for you.
Warfare is a must—Last week I wrote how Ephesians lays out spiritual warfare strategies for us to share with others and to employ ourselves. As an act of daily war against falling outside of your boundaries, use these strategies: Remember who you are; remember what you are called to do; remember who God is and what He has done for you; and remember to have others praying for you. When you remember who you are and what you are called to do, you can quickly recognize when you are trying to be someone you’re not nor do something you’re not meant to do. If you aren’t clear, say because the activity falls within what you are called to do, this is when you must remember who God is. He will give you direction about the season for the activity or perhaps tell you that activity is for someone else to do. We must remember that we aren’t called to do every activity that falls within our calling. Others have been similarly called. Some of the work is for them. We must know the difference.
When you care for yourself—without guilt—and war for yourself, you are engaging in necessary parts of loving others. God tells us to “love our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). When we properly love ourselves, we can properly love others. If we are consistently loving others and neglecting ourselves we are imbalanced. Care for yourself. War for yourself. Get in balance and stay.
Take a Risk Challenge: If you don’t already have one, develop a self care strategy. Also engage in the Ephesians spiritual warfare strategies. When you care and war for yourself you indeed are equipped to show radical love to others.