This Changes Everything
Full disclosure, it is really hard for me to care for myself. As an enneagram 2, I thrive off of caring for others. Encouraging other people gives me life. There is nothing wrong with with that and maybe you can relate. However, it’s worrisome when you can’t seem to care for yourself. I struggle with this. I can listen to someone’s problems and preach to them about their worth but when it comes to me, it can feel as if my mouth just can’t let the depth of my struggle out. Almost as if I share how hard something really is that it would make the words that I say to others less authentic and trustworthy. And that is one of my worst fears. Encouraging others is one of my greatest joys so that being taken away would be awful. However, it is a two way street. How can I care for others if I am not caring for myself?
The other night, I was laying in bed and the Lord brought this to my mind. Why do I find myself caring for myself less when I am trying to care for others? I think maybe I do this so that I can feel bad for myself and feel like I then have permission to care for myself and be deserving of caring for myself. When I am more vulnerable (one of my very top core values by the way) and express my need to be cared for (actually say what I need…which is very very hard for me as an enneagram 2), then I feel cared for by others so that I don’t feel the need to self-sabotage. But, most of all, Jesus cares for me so deeply and wholly (more than I could ever imagine) so I can rest in that knowing that I am always cared for by my Savior. Because Jesus cares for me, I can care for me.
Additionally, as I have been really working on my own self-talk and self-care, I have noticed that it has been so much easier for me to love and have patience with people that might normally drive me a little crazy. What a concept!? It makes total sense, though! Because if I am not caring for my own self, how can I, number one, care for others in general and, even more so, how can I care for others that are really hard to love?
Love must come from love (1 John 4:19, 1 John 4:8). I mean, that’s where love began. From love (Jesus) Himself. So it makes sense that love must come from love, that caring for others must come from caring for yourself, and that encouragement toward others (without sucking the life out of you) must come from encouragement from yourself and knowing who you are first.
So, I challenge you to be aware of your self-talk and your thoughts. Are you speaking kindly to yourself? Are you meeting your needs and being aware of your feelings? Or are you shoving them to the side or numbing them with other things? I challenge you to make note of that, without judgement. I challenge you to this: Care for you. If you don’t know your own worth how can you encourage others in theirs? And if you do, it may feel like you are losing something from yourself, because you don’t have much to give.
And girl, I have been there. I still find myself there. It’s a journey. Always learning. Always growing. And that is life! :) But, I am taking this challenge and tangibly seeking to live from love. Love from Jesus. The love He has for me. Believing my own worth and love and care. Then, from that belief and confidence in the love and care that covers me and that I am worthy of, I can give encouragement and words of affirmation to others. Not taking away from myself. It isn’t a subtraction equation. If you give to others, it doesn’t mean you have to take away or subtract from yourself. No, it’s an addition equation. When you give to others, it comes from the wealth of love and care you have in yourself that Jesus has bestowed upon you freely. So, from that excess, you can graciously and lovingly give to others. It adds. It doesn’t take away.
Give, golden gal. But don’t take away. The world needs your golden.