This is the way…walk in it.
I set out in January 2010 to take care of myself physically, spiritually and emotionally and to wait on God’s care for me and for those I love. I shared that vision with the ladies in my writer’s group.
Honestly, I can’t remember exactly all that prompted this New Year season goal; an entire year has passed and the details are lost in the fog of time. I know we had just eked through one more, busy Christmas season and I rang in the New Year with two days of volunteering at my daughter’s ballet gala event. I spent hours away from my other kids, home from school and enjoying their Christmas toys, and hung strands of lights and glittering glass globes in the windows of the theater, plated hundreds of chocolates and created floral arrangements for table centerpieces.
I remember awaking New Years Day not with a hangover or ears ringing from music and blasting party horns, but dehydrated (I’d forgotten to drink much water, or eat anything but chocolates) and exhausted. I had done so much, fulfilled the commitment and expectations of me, but I was completely spent,
I felt as if I was shriveling.
In fact, I was.
I looked in the mirror New Years Day 2011 and I was shocked by the wrinkled rings around my eyes, sunk in gray circles, like dingy coins. Everyone in my family asked me, “What’s wrong with you…you look terrible!”
Indeed I did. I guzzled at least a gallon of water, went on to juice and back to water again. I only drank one measly cup of coffee to avoid sabotaging my hydration efforts, so I developed a caffeine withdrawal headache. While my husband and kids and their friends went sledding–the hills were perfect and the weather just right–I stayed behind and made lunch and promised hot cocoa on their return.
I confess that while they were gone, I drank two glasses of water and lay on the couch, doing nothing.
That must have been when the brilliant bulb lit up over my head: take better care of myself; pause before agreeing to another commitment; exercise and breathe and eat with intention.
And I did. The first six months of the year I monitored my food intake, kept a diet diary, even broke down and set financial goals and budgeted with my husband. I lost weight, gained strength and clipped coupons. I took the dog on walks, I read the New Testament three times and started this blog.
And I’m glad I did–because on August 14, our lives came to a screeching halt. I nearly died. My leg was broken in pieces like dry kindling and I was only able to lie on a bed and breathe.
Eventually, I could sit upright, eat meals prepared by others set before me, breathe without oxygen tubes, hop down the hall with my walker (and oh, the searing pain of each hop, I’ll never forget it). Then the glorious day I could take a shower and care for myself without dragging drainage tubes and a nurse along with me. It was progress, though very slowly.
Yes, the investment in myself mattered because God had led me to see the shortages and shortcomings in me. I took care and listened to his leading and He filled me up…and then turned my face to a new journey, a new adventure. The trajectory of my life changed before the next New Year, but God knew my future and what I needed to be prepared for. In his goodness He prompted me to walk into that path ahead of time.
Friend, you may be feeling a nudge or a whisper, or an all-out shout.
Is it finances? Relationships? Something secretly eating away at your joy?
Whatever God is calling you out of you can be sure of this:
He has better way and better days ahead (yes, even filled with difficulty, obeying and following Christ always makes us happier, more peaceful people) and, He will see you through and uphold you.
He will not call you down a path of abandonment, but promises his
spirit for companionship,
his strength for the journey,
his wisdom to teach you,
his grace to see you through,
and rest, sweet rest, just when you need it most.