Care for Oneself

Girl reading by a window. Carl Holsoe. 1909.

Dear kindred spirits,

I cannot believe November is passing. Time is so strange, so swift, these days. Writing and blogging, in these past few months, has proved a more difficult pursuit than I’d imagined. My headspace is cluttered with the immediate and fatigued by the strains of studies and people. I want to write and speak beautiful things, soul-forming things. But I cannot always do so. Sometimes I don’t know what to write about. Sometimes I know what to write but am trapped as to how I can convey it well. Perfection chases me from the keyboard.

And sometimes, I feel dry.

I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, numbed by this weary world. I feel trapped by the lives that race across my path and run into my own. I feel weakened by how much I care. I see people, I see their brokenness and their grief, I reach out, I love. But I can feel fatigued by this, and the people I care for can leave cracks in my heart.

As I read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, this line captivated me:

“We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts needs to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

God has given me a fragile heart. A heart that bleeds for others as it loves. Caring for and investing in people demands sacrifice and vulnerability, the “throwing away [of] all defensive armour.” Yet the grief that my empathy carries leads me closer to the throne of grace, to utter dependency on God. I am like a teacup, as Joy from Joyous Prairies conveys, fragile, with little cracks tracing its exterior, but strong and beautiful.

While I accept my sensitivity and empathy, I do recognize the need for a balance. I need to know and love myself to have the capacity to know and love others. I need to process my own emotions, not only the emotions of others. I need silence and solitude. I need time to ponder and to know myself. I need space to embrace my finitude. I need to take care of myself.

And you do, as well, friend.

As we walk into the season of adoring Christ, a little weary, a little weak, perhaps, let us love others as we love ourselves.

How is your heart? How do you take care of yourself? Comment your thoughts below. I love to hear from you. 

2 responses to “Care for Oneself”

  1. I remember reading once that “life is a tragedy for anyone who cares”. Well, that left me feeling quite conflicted. How can we get through this life if we care so much that it makes us miserable? No, that’s not what I think God wants “brighten the corner where you are,” my dear mom always used to say; and I guess let God take care of the rest.

  2. Thank you for writing this. This is often how I feel and recognizing balance has been such an important thing I’ve been realizing this year as well.

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