Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For My Health

I've spent the last few years working really hard to become healthier. I've changed the way I eat. I'm pickier about what I put in my body. I've expanded my exercise routines and added running (an activity I've always stunk at) to my exercise regimen. And I do feel healthier, stronger, more flexible. My physical health has definitely improved, but when the last few months of 2011 left me feeling exhausted, battered, and worn, I had to ask myself what I'm doing wrong. How can someone who's worked so hard to be healthy still feel so tired?

Is it possible that in all my "doing" I've ignored my emotional health? Can depleting your emotional tank wear a person out?

Oooh. It sounds a little egocentric to talk about, doesn't it? Tending to your emotional needs sounds self-absorbed, me-oriented. Yet I can't ignore how refreshing it was to take some time after Christmas to just "be" without "doing." I slept more, read more, hung out with my family more, watched some movies, took my time during my devotions in the morning. I felt like me again, without the burden of obligations or schedules. Instead of stewing over my to do list, I enjoyed myself.

And I felt more inclined to give back.

You know how they tell you on an airplane to put your oxygen mask on before helping another with theirs? Is the same true of taking care of our emotional selves? Why do I struggle with this when I've had no problem putting myself first physically? Is it because my physical regimen involved more discipline and self-sacrificing, while my emotional health feels self-indulgent?

But the rest, the calm . . . it's so sweet.

When I decided two years ago to work on my physical health, I did so out of a desire to be the best I could be for God, to eliminate obstacles to doing His work. Now I wonder if I am at my best when I do things only out of obligation. Could I do them better, faster, if my heart was in them? Would my heart be in them if I felt refreshed?

Will I always be able to capture time to tend to my emotional health? Probably not. But I build in time each week to exercise. Surely I can find places to relax and recharge too. Maybe not every day, but they need to be there.

For my health.

God's calling me to hide in Him, to rest in His presence, to soak in the simple joys He provides, like books for pleasure and getting lost in bunny trails of verses and puzzles and going to bed early. He's summoning me to relax a little and I am the glassy-eyed, tired lady stumbling to the Light.

I'm trying not to feel guilty about taking time for me. He says I need it. I already feel better. I wonder if it will actually make me stronger, more productive. And joyful. I'm going to give it a shot.

Do you sense it too, that calling to rest? Do you need to tend to your emotional health? Could it make you stronger?

Photo Credit: drp


Miriam Pauline said...

I strongly believe we must take care of ourselves first or we burn out meeting the needs of others. Scripture reminds us that Jesus took time to get by himself, why should we be different? Don't feel guilty--enjoy the time you can carve out.

Cin said...

I think time to rest is much needed. And yes, I feel a calling to rest and tend more to me. I had a similar experience over the holidays too. Time felt vast and slow. I relished in it and found myself quick to laugh and more contented all around. I'm uncertain how I can get that balance on a more regular basis. It's a challenge when others rely so heavily upon me.