After a difficult July, my husband and I have taken a much-needed vacation to get away from the daily stresses in our busy lives. We’ve rented a yurt for the week at a nearby state park that we visit on a regular basis. While we are not new to camping, our aging bodies protest lying on the hard ground, so we are enjoying this very new experience. No alarm clocks, no time cards, no major decision-making. It’s been wonderful moving at a more relaxed pace.
As I write this, summer breezes blow through leafy maples, elms, and pines, swaying their branches offering shade and refreshment from the heat. Scents of campfire smoke mingle with coconut sunblock, citronella candles, and grilled meat. Condensation from my iced tea drips down the glass and soaks into the wooden picnic table. Dogs bark as children run past, laughing. Charred wood snaps and crackles in the fire pit. Bicycle tires crunch on gravel paths. Splashing in the nearby lake competes with cheers from a nearby game of Corn Hole. All kinds of activity and so many sounds, and yet, my heart feels refreshed.
As I breathe in the fresh air washed clean by last night’s terrible storm, my stresses from the past couple of months melt away, I lift my face and allow the warm rays to kiss my cheeks. I thank God for His creation, His provision, and His protection.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, author, teacher, and friend, I wear many hats. I’m sure so many of you do as well. Recently, I confessed to someone about feeling pulled in many different directions, which has left me feeling depleted. My cup was empty and I didn’t have much left to give. Then, I realized I had allowed other things to take priority over my morning routine that filled my spirit and equipped me for the day.
We were hit with one problem after another. I was trying to solve problems before taking a sip of my morning coffee or tea. No wonder I was feeling worn out. I realized I’d been holding my breath waiting for the next thing to hit. I exhaled slowly, making a plan to restore my well-being. I needed to take back my morning and invest in that spiritual and physical self-care so I’d have strength for the day.I needed to take back my morning and invest in that spiritual and physical self-care so I'd have strength for the day. #TellHisStory #Christianliving #Thrivingthroughlife Click To Tweet
From Surviving to Thriving
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential to go from surviving to thriving. Here are three ways that have worked for me:Self-care isn't selfish. It's essential to go from surviving to thriving. Here are three ways that have worked for me. #TellHisStory #Christianliving #Thriving Click To Tweet
- Set a daily routine. At the beginning of the year, I read Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and I loved the book. In fact, it was a bit of a life changer. I’d heard about Miracle Morning from a good friend, but it had taken me several years to read the book. I wish I’d read it sooner. While I don’t follow Elrod’s routine, I’ve taken his concepts and applied them to my lifestyle. Once my husband goes to work, I do my daily workout, which is 30-45 minutes. Then I shower and get ready for my day. I fix breakfast, and while I’m nourishing my body, I feast on God’s Word to feed my soul. I do any household tasks that need attention, spend a couple of hours writing to meet my daily word count, and then I begin my work-at-home day job. That routine prepares me spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally for the day. By noon, I’ve accomplished a lot!
- Fill others’ cups. When a terrible storm blew through camp and we lost power, my husband and I decided to head back to our house for the night. We stopped at a familiar restaurant and ate dinner. During the course of our meal, our server was quick to notice our nearly empty glasses and refilled our beverages without us asking. That made me think about how I need to be more mindful about family and friends who appear to be fine when in actuality they use their pasted smiles to hide their pain. Take time to send a card of encouragement, make a meal for someone in need, bless someone by helping with tasks they can’t accomplish on their own, or simply lend a listening ear and supportive shoulder. By focusing on others, we’re not constantly worrying about our own struggles.
- Learn to say no. That two-letter word isn’t always easy for me, but I’m learning it’s essential for my own wellbeing. I used to think if I didn’t say yes, then no one else would do the job. But, in truth, my quick yes blocked someone else’s opportunity to rise up. God has given each one of us gifts and talents to be used to glorify Him and to build His kingdom. He doesn’t expect us to be all things to all people. He wants us to do those tasks He’s called us to accomplish and allow others to rise up and say yes to new opportunities to honor and glorify Him.
Your Turn: How do you thrive through life’s challenges?
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We are on vacation this week. As I sit here listening to the sounds of early morning, watching the sun rise and shine over the lake, I am realizing the restorative work vacation has on my soul. Self-care is not selfish but needed to enable us to serve God and others as we go through each day. Much wisdom, Lisa.
Joanne, you’re right–getting away is very restrorative to the soul. I hope you’re enjoying your vacation and return home refreshed.
I’m with you on camping. We camped a lot when our children were younger, but sleeping on the ground and finding a bathroom in the dark doesn’t appeal to me these days! Yet, however we do it, it’s good to get away and slow down at times.
I had not heard of Miracle Morning. I feel my devotional time with the Lord is pretty well set, but I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to fit everything else in that I need to do. I’ve been praying for wisdom in this, so thanks for that encouragement.
Barbara, you’re welcome. While Miracle Morning helped me structure my morning time, I figured out to make it my own. You will too.
3 beautiful pieces of advice, Lisa! I have consciously committed to all three specifically in this season of stress. Enjoy your vacation!
Thank you, Lisa. I think the key phrase you used is so true–consciously committed. Those conscious efforts become habits.
Self-care isn’t selfish. Amen! It’s live giving. Without it we have nothing to give. Thanks, Lisa.
Debbie, yes, definitely life-giving. It’s hard to care for others when we have nothing left to give.
Lisa, such great advice here! Isn’t amazing how far we push ourselves until our cups are indeed dry and we have nothing left! I feel I’m getting to that point, and look forward to refreshing “self” care!
I am learning that NO is not necessarily forever, but it’s a gift and a lifeline when it’s said at the right time!
Sounds like this is the perfect time for your getaway!
Michele, you’re absolutely right–no isn’t forever. We move through different seasons of life, and with those changes, we can embrace opportunities we couldn’t do in the past.
Donna, I hope you’re able to embrace that essential self-care so you can feel refreshed and refueled to continue loving and serving.
There’s no way I’m gonna thrive,
there’s no path leads past the wall,
there’s no hope that I’ll survive
so I’m gonna give it all
right here in this fell dark place,
right here in the blood and gore,
right here in the awful grace
right here where there’s worse in store,
but I refuse the call to bow
to the minions of despair;
I’ll go forward in the now,
and though I may not taste free air
this fight will leave a legacy
of what I’d always hoped to be.
Beautiful words, Andrew. Leaving that legacy helps others to remember who we lived and how well.
I’m glad you’ve been able to have some time away to relax and be refreshed – I hope you enjoy it. And thanks for the tips you shared. I agree, setting a healthy routine and learning when to say no can help a lot!
Thank you, Lesley!
I agree, Lisa, in thanking “God for His creation, His provision, and His protection.” Have a wonderful and restful week!
Great advice Lisa!
I’m glad you’ve had a chance to get away for some rest and relaxation, Lisa. My morning routine has many of the same elements as yours, only in a different order. If I don’t get it all done early, my whole day is wonky.