This title might throw you for a loop because we are in our marriage series which is about loving our closest partners. Take care of myself?!?! Isn't this supposed to be about taking care of others? But there is an important point to be made here. It's like the vital instruction we are given upon boarding an airplane: If the oxygen mask falls from the ceiling, put yours on first so you can then help those around you who might need it. Why? Because you are no good to the people around you if you are passed out.
Let's get real here. As women, mothers, wives, and friends, we are really good at putting others' needs before our own. How often is the breakfast you eat either non-existent or the scraps from someone else's plate? Or is the most important meal of the day actually something you grab quickly as you are rushing to get everyone where they need to be? How often is your "full night" of sleep a measly four hours because you are getting all your last minute stuff done in the wee hours of the night, followed by awakening before everyone else to get the day started? Or do you steal some sleep a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there as you stay awake to care for whoever needs it in your family? And all of that selflessness is wonderful - a gift and a blessing to be able to care for our people. But how many times does living on fumes effect our behavior towards the ones we love? Oftentimes, our spouses get front row seats to what seems to happen when we don't take the time to take care of ourselves.
When we're in those oxygen-starved moments, our greatest struggle is guilt. We feel like horrible women if we put on that oxygen mask first. We get so focused on and paralyzed by that guilt that we suffocate. But a funny thing happens when we stop and breathe and adjust our masks. We come alive and are able to more easily love those around us. Strangely, when we take care of ourselves (without guilt or judgement) we end up taking better care of our people.
This doesn't have to be anything extravagant or huge. What if you simply started each day by committing to eating three square meals that day? Or what if you made sure to go to bed early each night? Or committed to doing one simple thing for yourself each day? Or spent time each day connecting to God? Try beginning your days with our song of the week and listen to it as if God is singing just to you. Use the meditation and get so full on Love that it's all you have to give. Reflect on our verse this week. When we agree with God about our worth, we are so much more able to see other people's value.