This may sound wrong to you… especially if you’ve grown up within the context of the church, but wait… let me make the case.
In the world of nonprofits (e.g. church, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, etc.) we are regularly called to “give yourself.”
“Give yourself” is great advice if “yourself” is valuable.
Seriously, we both know people who’s presence could not be considered a gift! In fact, after a bit of time with them, you might even consider “gifting” them to another organization!
What I’ve found is that the best gift I can give to my God, wife, children, church, clients, friends, etc. is a happy, healthy, alert self; and that requires that I engage in intentional, regular self-care.
The other day I read a quote from Parker Palmer that gets right to the heart of this matter…
“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
Think about it…
- Are you a better parent when you are tired or rested?
- Do you work better when you are angry or happy?
- Do you think more clearly when you are hungry or full?
You get the point, right? When YOU are taken care of, you show up and perform at a higher level… and THAT’S a gift worth giving!
Here’s the thing about “self-care”, if you don’t do it… no one will.
No one is going to make you eat right, get enough rest, exercise, pray, be creative, etc. You must do these things for yourself. If you don’t create space in your life for these things… they won’t get done.
Your spouse, kids, boss, friends aren’t going to create space for you to do these things, because they are all trying to get some space in your life too! You have to care for yourself!
And when you care for yourself, the people around you get a better YOU!
Think about it, is it better to be open 24/7 but offer sub-par service or is it preferable to be open 40 hours a week and offer high value service, friendship, love, insight, etc.?
I think we agree on this one….
I encourage you to do this… stop. Take some time to think about and plan the next 30 days of your life. As you create that plan carve out some time to do “self-care” and then watch what happens to your relationships as you begin adding true value to the people you serve/love.