I went to our church’s women’s conference this weekend, “I Am”. I joked with some friends leading up to it, that I really wasn’t concerned with what the messages were about, they had me at hello when the option of childcare was offered. God bless people called to children’s ministry, they are instrumental in keeping mine alive and my sanity in tact. I’m not kidding about this.
As I sat in the seats thinking about the dozens of volunteers missing the messages, in order to watch and pour into our children or assist in putting the conference on, I got attacked with the thought of being selfish. It’s not an uncommon attack. Pretty much anyone with breath in their body will struggle with it at some point. However, it came on right about that time the speaker started down the familiar closing remarks about how we gather for a moment, to prepare and equip, before going back into our spheres of influence to pass on the things we’ve learned.
It’s almost comical to me now. Now that I’ve learned the boring repetitive attacks of an enemy with little imagination. He tries to subtly come at me, twisting the words from the platform, trying to bring shame for checking my kids into kids ministry on a Saturday. SURELY we should have been serving the homeless or mowing the lawn of an elderly neighbor, or something more servant hearted. The attack is ALWAYS ‘you’re not good enough’. Whatever form it takes…. Not a good enough mom, wife, sister, friend, christian, daughter, person, whatever.
I looked around the faces of the hundreds of women there, struggling with the same lies. EXHAUSTED from facing the same lie. Exhausted from being in their spheres of influence and never feeling like they are enough, and I knew just how necessary these gatherings are. How attending one is not an act of selfishness, but the chance to acknowledge you’re on empty and need to swing into the gas station to fill-up. I need frequent trips to the gas station (aka church…. in case you totally missed my attempt at analogy back there) during this season of my life. It’s like someone gouged a whole in my tank so its running out almost as quickly as I can get it in. That’s what life IS when you are the main source of love for a small gaggle of humans.
It perplexes me slightly when I’m at church and people comment on how amazing it is that I’m so ‘involved’. In my head I’m thinking, surely they’re kidding….surely they see through this little rouse of mine. They must understand how desperately I NEED to be here, that this is not some sort of sacrificial choice I made for the greater good, but my best attempt to pour back into a reservoir that is drained almost daily. Self-care is a RIDICULOUSLY under appreciated act of service in our society today. It’s no wonder we look around and see destruction everywhere, people going postal, active shooters, road rage on 495….. Have you ever thought about the statement ‘I’m fuming’….. Usually its in reference to someone being so angry they can barely see straight…. They are running on fumes. DANG IT…. GET TO A GAS STATION!!! FOR THE LOVE?!?
Sure this principle can be taken to the extremes, but how about we all stop trying to figure out just how much care SOMEONE ELSE needs, and worry about ourselves. If you need care, get it. If you’re feeling empty, fill up. Once you are finally operating with a full tank, its amazing how much more clearly you can see. You stop trying to figure out if someone deserves the little bit of love you feel like doling out to them and you just start pouring it out willy-nilly, cause you know you can find it again and fill-up on your own when you need it.
I got so much good stuff from the conference, and since I process best in words, there will probably be a couple more posts as a result of the amazing messages I heard, so stay tuned. But first things first, if you’re running on fumes, STOP. Get to a gas station, fill yourself up, whatever that looks like, before someone get’s hurt!
(P.S: When you invest in self care, God just seems to take life to ‘a whole nutha level’….. Here I am being ‘selfish’, and my husband is getting to enjoy a weekend away in NYC visiting his brother, and my kids got so wore out from an amazing weekend of fun, that they passed out moments after we got home giving me another couple hours of ‘me’ time?!? Sisterhood weekend FOR. THE. WIN!!!)