Self care is a huge buzz word it today’s society, and understandably so considering the way we run ourselves ragged. We live in a world that never sleeps and never waits. We are bombarded constantly with images of “perfect” lives, “perfect” moms, and “perfect” relationships, and it’s easy for ours to seem to pale in comparison. I scroll my Facebook feed and am constantly bombarded with beautiful images, friends and family who either look ridiculously happy or let everyone know how miserable they are.
But the message in my brain is always the same: I’m not doing enough.
Whether it’s stressing about how our family doesn’t do enough family outings compared to that family, eat health enough, do enough extracurricular activities. Or maybe it’s I don’t volunteer enough. Donate enough. Maybe I should have called that friend instead of just saying a quick prayer for her when I saw her post something about how she’s hurting. Maybe if I was louder about the injustices in the world it would have some impact? I “need to” pay attention to this cause and that cause, and if you aren’t educated on such and such you’re a horrible person and part of the “problem.”
It’s no wonder we feel stretched to our limits and confused about our purpose, but it’s okay! Facebook has the answer to that too. Have a glass of wine…or 10. Or maybe a few shots of tequila and look at this picture of some shirtless muscle-y guy holding a puppy while you sit at home with unwashed hair, unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry, and a life social media – and pretty much the rest of the world – tells you warrants escaping.
But does it?
Are we really happier because we drank some wine in our dirty bathrobe while half-heartedly chuckling at Facebook memes we know deep down we really only find funny because it makes the things we feel the most guilt about seem excusable? Unescapable even???
Or maybe there is a better way? And make no mistake…by “better,” I definitely don’t mean easier.
By “better,” I mean the narrow path. I mean the road less traveled. I mean embracing a world where a bottle of merlot or a shopping spree aren’t the answer to all your problems. Maybe you don’t even use those as coping mechanisms, however even if you only romanticize the idea of it, you’re teetering on that fine line between true joy and material happiness.
What we need today isn’t merlot. It isn’t a shopping spree, a massage, a pedicure, an adorable new pair of shoes, or a man.
What we need is this: GRACE.
We need to give ourselves grace, our children, our spouse, and yes, even our enemies.
My opinion is not a popular one. However, I think it holds the key to true joy. I can escape my perceived failures as a wife and mother for a night in a bottle. I can escape my fear of missing out on the adventure of life for a week on vacation. But ultimately, all that happens is I pretend for a week or a night that I don’t feel incompetent and unworthy.
Or I could choose a different route.
I could choose to do hard things instead of trying to escape them. I could wind down by honestly evaluating my day and what I could have handled better instead of numbing myself with alcohol. I could embrace each day and realize that my life looks just as good on social media as anyone else’s.
Or I could be selfish.
I could think about all the “me” time I “deserve” but don’t get. All the things I wish I could buy and places I wish I could go but can’t. I could embrace the world’s perspective of self care and feel sorry for myself. Or I could embrace the truth of Christianity which is if I am to follow after Christ, I must follow after His example which is sacrifice. His “self care” was fasting and time spent with the Father.
I’m sure many will scoff at the silly idea, but in the end, Christ was strongest in the moments He should have been the weakest according to the world’s standards. He wasn’t living “His truth.” He didn’t have a fresh mani-pedi. He didn’t have mimosas or spend the week “recharging” at the beach.
In the end, He was either betrayed, ignored, avoided, or forgotten by everyone He had served. By everyone he had rescued. He wasn’t pampered and praised. He was mocked, tortured, and hung on a cross. And with His dying breath, He didn’t rant or even joke about what He deserved. He didn’t talk about how badly He need “me time.” No. What He did was what He had always done.
He intercedes on our behalf. As he hung there on a cross He did not deserve – bruised, bloodied, mocked, and bleeding, – He uttered the words:
“Father, forgive them. For they know not what they have done.”
So if as Christians we are called to be Christ-like, perhaps we should stop focusing on what the world views as “self care,” and focus more on allowing God to fulfill us, so that we can be strong when we are called to intercede on the behalf of others.
April was born and raised in south Louisiana where she still resides with her husband and their 3 children who she homeschools. Her hobbies include sleeping late, procrastinating, starting complicated DIY projects it takes her ages to complete, buying more books even though she hasn’t had time to read the last batch she bought, and finding ways to mildly annoy her husband (see first 4 hobbies). She’s overly opinionated, talks too much and too loud, and refuses to simply go along with the status quo. While she would love to be able to say she is one of those ride or die chicks, she simply has too many questions such as, “where are we going, but more importantly, can we stop for nachos??”