Each month I write one post about meaningful gifts. For the January post, the recipient is YOU! After an intro and some questions, you’ll find five beautifully-wrapped “gifts” with your name attached. These gifts will enable you to care for yourself so that you can care for others as God designs.
First, imagine yourself on a 747. The flight attendant advises passengers to secure their own oxygen mask before assisting others should a need arise. Why? Because if you’re struggling to breathe, you might not be competent to help fellow passengers.
While we’re “in the air,” think about the pilot. In addition to extensive training, we hope he’s had adequate sleep and has a clear mind so that he can focus on safe travel.
Medical professionals, cashiers, pastors, hairdressers, electricians all prepare before attempting to perform a service. And we hope they’re all well-rested when we see them, right?
Now . . . A Look in the Mirror
Do we prepare for service in God’s kingdom by taking care of ourselves and by preparing in other ways? In our attempts to serve others, we can over-extend ourselves, become ineffective, and even fail to meet our own family’s needs. Has anyone been there besides me?
Do we honor God when we serve like this? Is He calling us to run ourselves so ragged that we ignore primary responsibilities? Are we hearing His call to serve or merely doing what we think is best? (I’m asking myself these questions as I type.)
Can we agree that caring for ourselves helps prepare us to effectively care for others as God leads? (Of course, emergency needs arise, but being as prepared as possible helps in those situations, too.) As Christians, when we care for ourselves and seek God, we can offer service that pleases Him.
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
–1 Peter 4:10
The gifts below will help all of us. Go ahead, cut the ribbons, remove the wrappings, and accept them.
Time with God
Without daily Bible study and prayer, we cannot wisely choose priorities and hear God’s voice about ministering to other people. God promises to direct our paths, but we must listen. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When rest is lacking, I can become cranky and my mind gets as fuzzy as a Georgia peach. Anybody else? Here’s a quote from a non-famous person—me!
“The value of rest is terribly underrated.” –Jeannie Waters
Unless you have a cape with a huge “S” on the front, you need adequate sleep. After years of sliding by on 5, 6, or 7 hours, I realized that I need 7 ½ or 8 hours to avoid frequent illness and to hit on all cylinders when my furry slippers hit the floor.
Healthy Food Choices
We all know the following formula:
Adding fruits, vegetables, and nuts; subtracting fats and sugars; and drinking eight glasses of water per day = improved health.
I know my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and I have the example of Daniel who asked permission to reject the king’s rich foods and wine while eating a healthy diet. (Daniel 1:12)
But sometimes for us, it’s difficult to avoid iced cinnamon rolls and oatmeal cookies. Wait, come back here! Do not head for the pantry! I’m sorry, but that was not a food commercial.
A helpful tip for this difficult issue is to think of food choices as gifts to yourself that will enable you to be God’s best. Choose to gift yourself with lean meats, plenty of produce, whole grains, and nuts. In this way, we honor God with our physical bodies.
I know, I know—you were hoping I wouldn’t mention that one. Hey, many of you are probably exercising regularly, right? We’re still in January–New Year’s resolutions you know! (See January 11 post.)
Seriously, exercise is a gift we give ourselves and our loved ones because it improves our health and well-being. Set appointments with yourself to head to the gym or take a walk. Find a buddy to hold you accountable. You know you’ll feel better afterwards.
Did you sneak around and open this gift first? I don’t blame you. Fun is, well . . . fun! And relaxing and therapeutic.
A cheerful heart is good medicine.
Family activities, walking nature trails, and visiting with friends are some of my favorite activities. I also love to write and to get lost in a good book. (Hint: At the bottom of the post, I’m sharing a book I’ve finished and two I am devouring now that you might enjoy.)
Consider the five packages above as gifts God provides that you can open and enjoy. Let’s not leave His gifts unopened. Let’s take care of ourselves and serve others.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Please share your thoughts on self-care and leave a tip for preparing to serve God.
Scripture verses are NIV.
Book Suggestions for Enjoyable Relaxation
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you decide to purchase a book via my link, I’ll receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) which will assist with blog costs. Clicking on the link will simply take you to Amazon so that you can read about the book.
Doing Busy Better
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
This true story about a young American woman who left her family and country to serve God by loving children in Uganda is truly amazing.
Dead Sea Rising
Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind series, wrote this riveting novel. Two intriguing stories are told in alternating chapters.