Think about how you care for your children. If you don’t have your own children, think about a child you care for deeply. When this precious child was placed in your arms, your whole world changed, right?
His tiny hands, her kissable cheeks, his fuzzy head, her baby toes, his long lashes, her button nose. It was a new, deeper kind of love. All of a sudden it wasn’t about you anymore. There was a tiny person who needed you, who literally depended on you for every little thing. You feel this is what you were made for. You cuddle, soothe, cradle, rock, bathe, feed, and stay up all night for this precious soul. As they grow, you continue to meet their needs — planning playdates, preparing their favorite foods, helping them with homework, tucking them into bed with a prayer each night. Of course it’s not perfect; sometimes you lose your temper, fail miserably, forget something important — we all do. But the bottom line is this: your child’s needs are a priority to you. You consider how to help them grow physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially, all the ways. It matters. It’s important.
You love your child, and you want them to live a full life.
Now let’s look at ourselves. I am a person, just like my child. I am a growing and changing human being with needs of my own. Somehow, when I became a mother, I put my own needs on the back burner. I felt there was only enough energy for my kids — and I put all my energy into nurturing and loving them well. There are times when this is unavoidable. A newborn needs a lot of care and attention. It’s a crazy, exhausting, beautiful time. It’s unbalanced, but it’s only for a season. It’s important to get back to nurturing ourselves as well. Long term we can’t care well for our children, our families, and our friends when we aren’t caring for ourselves.
We need love and nurturing and attention — just like our kids do.
“No way,” you say. “There’s no time for that. Can you imagine if I cared for myself like I cared for my kids? That would be so selfish. That would be too complicated. It wouldn’t work.”
I want to challenge these thoughts.
There is room for you.
There is space for you to have needs.
It’s okay to be complicated.
It’s okay to have needs and wants.
It’s okay to be you.
The truth is, you are here, you in your body, with your soul and your needs and wants. You can pretend you don’t have needs and wants and that you don’t need nurturing like your children do, but you do. Those needs and wants don’t go away. They’re still there — waiting to be met. Eventually they’ll become so big and undeniable that things will get really messy.
Let’s take baby steps toward taking care of you, nurturing your heart, and being a whole person with needs and wants.
A pedicure once a month is great, but that’s scratching the surface. Not only do you need daily nurturing, you need hour-by-hour nurturing — just like your kids.
You need a cup of hot tea, five minutes of quiet, a walk through the neighborhood, a playdate with friends, a nap…
It’s time to infuse your days with self-care and nurturing. You’ll be better for it. Your family and friends will be better for it.
Say hello to your heart. Is it still there? Is it still beating? Does it still have needs and desires and dreams? Listen to your heart. Feel your heart. Nurture your heart.
Shower love on yourself as you fill in the blanks below. There is no right or wrong answer. Don’t think about each line too much; just jot down the first thing that comes to mind. (If it’s hard to be kind to yourself, think about what a dear friend would say to you.)
One thing I love about myself is _____________________________. It’s really hard when _________________________.
It’s okay to feel _______________________.
I might need to make space for __________________________.
I deserve a little ____________________________.
Remember when I used to dream about _________________________. A gift I can give myself is ____________________________.
It was really amazing when I _______________________.
Why don’t I take some time to _______________________________.
There is a place, inside your heart, where you hold your hopes and dreams. They were planted there by the God of the universe.
They are there for a reason.
They are part of who you are, part of who you were made to be. They matter because you matter.
You being fully you matters.
FILL IN THE BLANKS
When I feel worn-out, I can nurture my heart by __________________________.
When I am tired, I can nurture my body by __________________________.
When I am empty, I can nurture my soul by __________________________.
When I feel unlovable, I can nurture myself by __________________________.
THINK ON THESE THINGS
My heart needs to be nurtured. My heart needs love and quiet. I take care of myself by nurturing my heart.
A LIE AND A TRUTH
Write down a lie you have believed about yourself.
Now cross it out and rewrite it as a true statement.
Excerpted with permission from Be You by Lisa Leonard, copyright Lisa Leonard.
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Even Jesus took time to rest. He laughed with friends. He took off by Himself to pray. He slept. He had dinner with friends. He couldn’t have been a balanced person without nurturing Himself. You need to nurture yourself, too. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily