I pen it at the bottom of a handwritten note. I type it in a text to a friend. I smile and say it when I'm parting ways with an acquaintance at the grocery store or hanging up the phone with a loved one. When I write or speak those words, I mean them. My heart wants the people on the receiving end to truly take care of themselves, the best they can.
But when I examine my daily life pressed up against those words, what do I see? Am I taking care? Treating myself well? Living healthfully? Drawing closer to God? Doing what brings me joy? Being the best me I can be?
Honestly, since moving to Michigan over 4 years ago, I failed at times at taking care of myself well. I wasn't exercising as much, eating as healthfully, sleeping enough, being as good about carving out time for things important to me or always making time with God a priority.
I had my reasons.
We had moved a new place. I was overwhelmed and sad and lonely. I was a new mom.
This truly was a season when I needed to give myself some lack and heaps of grace.
But then it took a turn :: I was tired. I was busy. I put others before myself. I was lazy. I was waiting for the perfect time to do this or start that or try this.
Read : excuses.
The stars never aligned. And I rode the excuse train for far too long.
Haven't we all fallen into that trap sometime or another? And haven't we become more discouraged and held onto our excuses more when we look at that gal. The one who ran 4 miles, washed, dried, and folded 2 loads of laundry, read a novel, cooked a healthy breakfast, did a craft project, taught half the alphabet to her fully clothed, smiling children - all before 9 in the AM. All while wearing a fabulous outfit, her hair perfectly styled.
I don't know about you, but I can't measure up to that. I see her and I quit on me.
But I'm not her. (Does she even exist?? If she does, rock on, sister!) I am me. The only me there is and ever will be. And I truly, honestly want to be the very best me. All of me. Inside and out. A switch has flipped and I'm more determined than ever to make this happen.
I'm not striving for perfection here. Perfection is not realistic or attainable. Me and my Type B self are reaching for grace. For calm, for health, for growth.
There's a stirring inside me and I just have to talk about it. With you. And you and you.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share my heart and thoughts, questions and opinions on taking care. I have a rough draft of an outline and can promise it's going to be a mixed bag of goodness. You can look forward to me chatting your pretty little ears off about everything from sleep and skin, to the spiritual and simple, to soup and sweat.
All the S's will be covered!
I promise other letters will be used, too.
I'm no expert, dears. I'm simply a girl who wants to be the best version of the mind/body/spirit my wonderful God made, on this side of heaven. The One who took the time and the care to knit me together, to create me as His own dear child, is calling me to live a full, beautiful life. Taking care is one of the million ways I can serve my Creator and bring Him glory.
I'm learning that I am an all-around-better wife, mother, friend, Christian, etc. when I pour care into myself. I want to be filled up to the brim with Him so that I can pour more and more into my people. And everyone else in my world and beyond.
So dear ones, will you come with me on this journey? I sure do hope you will. Because we are each unique, special creations, me taking care of me isn't going to fully line up and be exactly the same as you taking care of you. But no matter where you are at in life (mama, college girl, grandmother, etc. etc.), I know we can all learn from each other and grow together.
So join me? Pretty please! With sprinkles on top. This will be WAY more fun if you jump on in.
I'l be back soon.