Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Because you're worth it, baby!

Remember those hair color commercials that ended with the gorgeous celebrity spokesperson stating, "because I'm worth it"? Those ads always made me gag. What a self-centered, egotistical, conceited statement! Who would ever say such a thing about themselves?

Hair Color Remover and Re-Color
Apparently, somewhere in my feminine wiring I was programmed to believe that a "good" wife-mother-daughter-friend-employee-sister-Christian sets herself and her own needs aside at all times for the benefit of others.
To a certain degree, that's true. Laying down one's life for the sake of love is part of our obedience to God, and an essential ingredient in a healthy relationship.
However, some of us take this mindset to an extreme. We'll wear our undies to the point of being little more than ragged elastic bands held together with some thread, allow the demands of friends and family to overrun our time to the point we don't even get to go to the bathroom alone, cheerfully endure holes in our socks, and "make do" with second-rate tools in the kitchen. We may not like it, but we stoically grit our teeth and mutter, "If anyone is going to do without, it's going to be me."

Beautiful, isn't it? I used to think so.
And then I ended up in the doctor's office with a scroll - not just a list - of symptoms.
The verdict? My failure to take proper care of myself physically had depleted my body of its ability to replenish essential chemicals necessary for my health and well-being. I had, in effect, given myself brain damage (stop laughing, Gina) with all my self-righteous self-sacrifice. My doctor sent me home with some sage advice: "Give yourself permission to rest and be good to yourself." This was a foreign concept to me. Is it for you? Warning:

If you fail to take care of yourself, 
sooner or later you won't be fit to take care of anyone else. 

Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley (and seventeen other children), understood this principle when it came to her prayer time. She would sit on the floor with the littlest ones gathered around her, toss her apron over her head, and pray in her makeshift muslin prayer closet. Her children learned early on that when their mother's apron was up they were not to disturb her. This accomplished two goals: Susanna was filled with the spirit of grace and faith to train up all those children (nowadays she'd be on a reality show), and the children learned an important lesson about self-control and delayed gratification.

What do you need to do to take care of yourself? Exercise? Rest? Read? Prayer? I'd be willing to bet the Lord has been dealing with you about some of these things, quietly encouraging you to be good to yourself. Why? Because in His eyes, you're worth anything on this earth and so much more. You, dear ones, are, in God's eyes, the most expensive, valuable, precious thing in the universe. ALL of you: spirit, soul, AND body.

"For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor 6:20 NKJV)
“Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT)

Consider this your permission slip for taking care of you. Locate the nearest mirror, look yourself in the eye, and declare, "Because YOU are worth it, baby!"


  1. Exactly, Niki. God loves and treasures us as much as we love our own children and wants us to take good care of ourselves.

    I learned this early on with breastfeeding my children. When I was eating, I wouldn't let anything or anyone interrupt, because if I didn't get enough food, the baby didn't get enough food. I now let that example translate to other areas as well.

    In college I heard pastor and writer Ed Gunger say that one time he was asking God what to do that day. God listed a few things He had previously asked Ed to do and asked if he had finished them. Ed said, "Yes." And God said, "Then go play."

    Isn't that exactly what we'd tell our children :)

  2. Good post, and thanks for being honest.

  3. It's a hard lesson to learn.
    Saying No. It's gotten easier as I've gotten older. Is that because we mature or because we care less about what other people think. (maybe it's the same thing?)

    Thanks Niki! Good Stuff!
    I just took a good look at Lisa's header. Love it.

  4. I love the image of Susanna Wesley with apron over her head while she's praying. I just love it.

    Unfortunately, I know too many women, my mom and my mother-in-law included, who will absolutely kill themselves trying to take care of everyone else. They are very generous, sacrificing women. And I admire this trait in them. But they're killing themselves.

    One of the happiest moments in my life was when I convinced my mother to go on a trip with me to Disneyland. I'd never been before and my husband wasn't interested. My son wasn't able to take off work and go, so my mom (always willing to do whatever it takes to make someone happy) agreed. I never, and I do mean NEVER, saw my mother have so much fun in my life. She relaxed. She laughed. She smiled so much it brought tears to my eyes.

    Why is it so hard for us to accept that it's okay to do something for ourselves?

    Dina, I loved what your professor said about God telling him to go and play. Great image.

    Niki, thanks for this wonderful post.

  5. Thanks, Niki. It's so true. What is it that makes us do this. It's great to be reminded that taking care of ourselves is not being selfish. And I love the image of Mrs. Wesley with her apron over her head. Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do!

  6. Amen. Excellent post! I'm going to link this to my Bold & Free Facebook page.

  7. Hi Niki,

    Thank you for your honesty...and excellent advice. I certainly needed to read this posting today...you made my day :)


  8. I LOVE this post! Thanks for the encouragement to give myself a makeover. I sure need one!

    God bless you!

  9. Oh Niki, thanks so much for your thoughtful post! I appreciate your permission to take care of myself. Why do we do this to ourselves and drain our cups dry? You can't pour anything out to others if your cup's empty. Yet I still struggle withit.

    I love the story of Susanna Wesley and, since my kids would climb under the blanket or apron with me, I've discovered that my closet does make a handy-dandy place of prayer.

    Dina, your breastfeeding comment brought a smile to my face. In tomorrow's post, I have a brief comment on how nursing my babies taught me that I had major issues with "being still and knowing He is God."

  10. Dina, actually I tell my kids "do your homework and then you can play."

    Niki, I merely chuckled at your brain damage 'cause I knew if I LOL, I'd end up wetting my pants. Must remember to take a potty break for more than just empting the toddler's potty chair.

    Jan, thanks for linking Niki's blog post to your Facebook page.

  11. Okay, so it's just after 3 pm here and I've just gotten up. Not from bed, as I actually woke up at 8 this morning, but with my ribs hurting as if an elephant was sitting on me, I lay down in my recliner with my heating pad behind my back like I usually do, and I fell back asleep. I dozed off and on because I do rememeber my little guy bringing my BP meds. And the boys, who don't go back to school until tomorrow, were watching TV and then having a Nerf sword fight at one point...but I did doze until 3pm.

    Considering that I didn't even go to bed until 2:30 AM, I did need the sleep. And I did take NyQuil so I could breathe due to my cold.

    And then, I did read this post in draft form before it came on-line. So did I take that as permission to laze the day away? I dunno.

    All I know is that I'm feeling better, still stuffy, still hurting when I bend or cough, but better.

    So thank you, Niki. I appreciate the timeliness of your post. :)

  12. Niki,
    How wonderful. I had one of those busy days taking care of everyone and everything but me. Part of this is because I'm back at work after a nice break for Christmas.

    Since it's almost 7:30 here in Cincy I'm going to put a little different spin on taking care of me. I value my writing time like we all do, it's important to me. But so often I lose the that time if I don't stand my ground and say, "Hey, what about me?"

    Writing is theraputic for me and I hope some day that it's lucrative as well.:) One can always hope.:)
    And when one has some extra money one can always get a massage. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  13. Thank you everyone for your comments! I hope we all take a minute tonight or at least this week to do something kind for ourselves. Random acts of kindness for ourselves, what a weird thought!
    Now... GO PLAY!

  14. Well, Niki, your post reminded me of my desperate need for new highlights. So I did some taking care of me today :)

  15. It's American women who need to read this and believe these words. We're work horses and we give until we're taken advantage of. Men don't need such reminders. So many mothers I know talk about the GUILT they feel if they even go out for coffee with a friend. They all feel so undeserving. Where did we get that crazy talk?

    I have a weekly workout schedule at the local YMCA. I'm pretty determined to keep it. Otherwise, I turn into a mama bear!


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