I read a quote this morning that really stirred my soul.
“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”
- Robin Sharma
In the midst of this quarantine, with so much more time to spend with my own thoughts, the thing that’s been nagging me the most is my own tendency toward selfishness. Time spent doing face masks and skin care. Long bubble baths. Asking the kids to be quiet so I can practice yoga, meditate after. Reading book after book, simply for my own pleasure and joy. Lingering in my Bible. Doodling in my notebook. Going out solo for long, quiet runs. Bouncing from article to blog on the world wide web, researching every ponder I've ever thought. Solving Sudoku puzzles from a booklet. Playing games on my phone. Online shopping for things that only I want. Making the choice to once again go back to school.
These are the things my soul desires: quiet, alone time, peace, pleasure, joy. These are the areas in which I feel most connected to my spirit, the Spirit, and to God. But mom guilt is real. Shouldn’t I want to spend every waking moment of my life playing with my kids, homeschooling my kids, preparing meals for my kids, cleaning up after my kids, loving my husband? Shouldn’t I be doing more for those in need, those who are hurting in this pandemic? I want to be a devoted wife and mom and a contributing member of society. But the fact of the matter is, I’m selfish. I like to invest in myself.
So when I read that quote this morning, a flood of relief washed over me. Yes! Finally. Justification that sometimes it is okay to just put myself first.
But conviction still fell over me. I thought about Jesus. A man so selfless, He died to be the Savior of all. Did he ever just go “invest” in Himself?
Turns out, He kind of did!
Time and time again in the Gospel, it says that Jesus withdrew to be alone. Jesus, King of King and Lord of Lords, withdrew! He himself needed time alone, time with the Father God. (Luke 5:16)
Mark 1 puts it in an even more relatable way:
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” (Mark 1:35-37)
If you have kids, how true is that? You can try to hide (i.e. go to the bathroom alone or have a snack without anyone asking for some), but your kids immediately come looking for you! Ha!
So if Jesus, God, chose to spend time alone in prayer and solitude, how much more do we, people covered in the shortcomings of our own humanity, and with, for many of us, spouses and kids and homes to take care of, need to do so?!
This message is for both of us: Don’t feel guilty for investing in yourself. When you take time to do the things that restore your soul, it makes you a better person, a better employee, son or daughter, friend, parent, spouse, and on and on!
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Post originally written February 13th, 2020)
Tonight I was vigorously scrubbing the kitchen floor because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I want the house to be nice, tidy, and relaxing for my hubby. But in the midst of my scrubbing, I started thinking about expectations.
Just ask my kids, students, or husband - I have HIGH expectations for the people in my life. But the person whom I hold to the highest of standards? Myself. Me.
I am my number one critic.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have overly ambitious, perfectionist tendencies. That Drive. Me. Crazy. But also, they just drive me.
I want to keep a spotless house, while working a full time job in hopes of someday buying a bigger home, so I can host lots of people and cook lots of delicious meals for everyone. And I want to be a good and thoughtful neighbor. And I want to be the best employee at my job and teach my many different assigned curriculums in the most engaging, exciting way for my students, without letting anyone down. And I want to go back to school for my own next academic pursuit in the meantime. And of course I want to be the best mom I can be, giving my kids lots of love and experiences and wisdom and quality time and affection and things. And when I think I’m falling short, the mom guilt is all-consuming. And I want to be a devoted and doting wife. And I want to make lots of cool art and write a relevant book and pursue a million other little hobbies. I want to pay off all of our debt and grow a substantial savings. I want to be invested in ministry and volunteer more at my church. And you know I want to spend time with God and pursue His calling for me. I want to keep reading and listening to podcasts and going to conferences and growing. And honestly, I just want my car to stay clean! And for the laundry to be caught up. For more than a day. And I want to be really healthy. And eat mostly plant-based. And I want to look thin and glowing and polished and be well dressed while doing ALL THE THINGS!
Some days it feels like I’ve got a grip on all of it and a good rhythm going and that everything is going to work out okay. But then other days, like today, it all just feels like too much to balance, and honestly, it kind of feels like I’m drowning in a million duties of my own making.
The only true sense of relief when I’m feeling this way? To pray.
7 Scriptures to Pray when You’re Feeling Overwhelmed with Responsibility