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Loving Ourselves

February 13, 2013

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40

It’s the LOVE month.  Last week we encouraged you to go the extra mile in showing love and affection to your spouse.  We hope it inspires you to be ready for romance, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

Today we would like to encourage you to show a little extra love and tenderness to yourself.  I know this may seem strange, (especially for a blog that is usually about preparedness and food), but it’s so very important.  How often we forget to do the little things that nurture our own souls.  We get so busy in the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to slow down and ENJOY.  We serve everyone else first and sometimes forget to leave some for ourselves.  And while we firmly believe that no sacrifice done in love is ever in vain, still we need to be mindful of how we are treating ourselves–body and soul.  If we are to continue a long legacy of loving and serving our families we cannot let ourselves become bedraggled by life and lost in our own shuffle.

Another reason this is crucial is in the training up of our children so that THEY can be blessed.  Ephesians tells us, “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  Think about this: What our children learn about God and about life they learn from us.  We are privileged to steward them on their journeys to Jesus.  We have to teach them ALL of God’s commandments.  Honoring parents is one of those commandments.  So, if you feel strange about putting yourself first sometimes or requiring honor or preferential treatment from your children, keep in mind that you must teach them to honor you so that THEY CAN BE BLESSED.  It is really for their long term benefit that they learn to honor you.

Be Nice

Here are a few ideas we’ve come up with for ways we can show some extra love and care to ourselves:

1. Keep a special teacup or mug that is just for you.  It’s what you use to single to yourself that you are having a little time for nurturing your spirit.  Don’t let the kids use it for juice or handle it roughly.  Let them know, “That’s Mom’s special cup.”

2. Make time to exercise.  Setting aside a few minutes a day where you can get in a brisk walk, an exercise video, some time on the treadmill–whatever you like to do!–is so important.  You will be a better mother and a better wife–more energy, stamina, vitality, positive outlook, balanced hormones, etc.–if you take time to take care of your temple.  It is not selfish to say, “Don’t bother Mommy for the next 30 minutes.  I will be exercising.” Make that your special time.  Oh, we know this is challenging!  Trust us!  As soon as you pop in that video or lace up your running shoes, it’s inevitable that a child will desperately need help with his math, the phone will ring, the baby will have a diaper explosion.  The only thing we can say is to keep at it.  Diligently teach your children the rhythm that you have set for the day and that includes healthy habits.

Don't mind me, Mom.  You do your yoga.  I'll just wait right here.

Don’t mind me, Mom. You do your yoga. I’ll just wait right here.

3. What’s your uniform?  Do you stay in your pajamas all day?  If you get out of your robe do your children ask, “Where are you going?”  Or do you wear the same *cough* denim jumper *cough* most days.  Consider the atmosphere your project in your home and to yourself by your appearance.  Is it one of grace, beauty, industry?  Or do you look like you are just barely hanging on by a thread?  I know it’s tough.  Especially when you have little ones underfoot, it can be downright monumental to get that shower and to get properly dressed.  Hardly seems worth the effort.  Ah, but it is!  Get dressed everyday in a way that honors your spirit.  That doesn’t mean put on your evening gown, but for goodness sake, ditch the sweats!

Take some vintage inspiration.

Take some vintage inspiration.

4. In that same train of thought, we encourage you to fix yourself up each day.  It’s amazing what a little splash of perfume or a little lipstick can do.  Sometimes we only fix ourselves up when we go somewhere.  It’s as if we believe that all the strangers in the world are more worthy than our own reflection is of our best efforts.  So, wear a little gloss, just because.  Tuck that flower in your hair.  Smell lovely.  You will not regret these things.

“I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.”  –Audrey Hepburn

5. Learn to think and speak positively about yourself…and that includes your body!  So often, even without knowing it, we say things that are disrespectful to ourselves.  We say that we don’t like the way we look, that we sure could lose a few pounds, that we “feel fat,” we have “bad hair days” and so much more.  Let me put it to you this way, do you want your daughters to talk about themselves the way you talk about yourself?  And what does that say to and about the One who created us?  God doesn’t do sloppy work.  He’s a master craftsman and He formed you!!!!

“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic…..Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” — Ina May Gaskin

6. Make time for prayer.  This may mean you get up a few minutes early so that you can get a few minutes for contemplation.  This may mean you set a timer and declare a quiet time.  It may mean, like Susanna Wesley did, you hide yourself under your apron so that you can talk to the Lord.  Sometimes, as busy women, we hit the ground running and it is not until things start to unravel a bit that we remember to listen to the Lord and to ask for help.  Instead, build this into your day.  It’s a real way you can honor your spirit–which is God’s.  It’s a way you can stay connected to what is eternal, even while dealing with the urgent and temporal things.

Waking up earlier means precious time with the Lord and feeding one's soul.  And coffee.  More coffee.

Waking up earlier means precious time with the Lord and feeding one’s soul. And coffee. More coffee.

It’s the LOVE month.  In showering your family and friends with love, don’t forget to love yourself.  You are beautiful.  And you are worthy.  After all, Jesus died for you.  {{{HUGS}}}

(Linked to Wise Woman Link-UpYou’re Gonna Love It and Manic Monday)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea permalink
    February 13, 2013 11:52 pm

    Awwwwww…. thank you for the reminder, Daja! Loving self is always last on my list (as it is with most women, most of the time)… and something I don’t think about too often. I appreciate the reminder.

    ((((((HUGS)))))) back to you on this St. Valentine’s Day… and always.



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