During this “Reflections” event at Bakersfield’s historic Crystal Palace, Craig Francis Harrison, MDIV, talked about building a relationship with Christ so we can better love ourselves, and in turn, better love those around us.
Video by Bob West Video.
How many of you take care of other people? Before you raise your hands let me give you a few details.
Maybe you care for elderly parents-mine died 6 months apart hence my new book “ “How to off your parents in one year” – don’t want you arrested. , should be a bestseller! This is a joke!
Maybe you have children, or grandchildren you take care of?
Maybe you have a spouse with health issues, a disabled child? Maybe you are in the caring field, nurse, doctor, first responder, teacher, therapist, dog walker, mother, FBI agent?
The list goes on. Now I will ask again and please raise your hand…How many of you take care of someone else?
In some ways and at different times we are all taking care of others and usually, that means we are not taking care of ourselves. That is why I chose this topic…too many people I see are wonderful people but they are burned out, tired, and some very resentful and blaming because they no longer have a life! Tonight I want to explore the gift of caring for self so Jesus can use us to help others.
It is like they say on the airline, put your mask on before you assist anyone else. We must take care of ourselves first. This is hard for some people to understand because as Christians we were told very early on that we should not be selfish and when we do things for ourselves we feel selfish. That is not what self-care is about.
You cannot give something you do not have. You cannot give peace, love, positive energy, calmness, and healing when you yourself are a basket case.
Joan shared with me the concept of COMPASSION FATIGUE- I AM STILL READING ABOUT IT but everything I read I have lived.
I have had a lot of experience in this. I still love to visit people who are homebound but I get very concerned when I see the caregiver in the family. Oftentimes they look and feel worse than the one I am coming to visit! We can even be Martyrs about it. Poor me, no one else helps me, no one is taking care of me. We are never doing it alone or caring for someone alone, Jesus is right there but we don’t often turn to him. We lose patience, we lose our focus and then we lose our service.
Things will always go wrong. One of my clients canceled today because she had a flat tire…I call those Sacred Interruptions. God is teaching us a lesson, we can either lose our minds or embrace it. I did the session over the phone…laughing about the whole thing. AAA came and she had a great attitude the rest of her day…I see her here and she is smiling. We need to accept there will always be sacred interruptions and difficult moments, even tragedies.
If a tragedy is going to happen I need to be rested and calm so I can handle it.
What are some of the signs of this reality…
- Sleep disturbance (terminal insomnia, wake up in the middle of the night)
- Brain spinning
- Illness – Louise Hay
- Projection of anger on others is often the very one we are caring for.
- Detachment from God
- Numbing (extra glass of wine)
One of the signs for me is irritability and nitpicking of those around me, sometimes even including my dog. When I notice I remember this phrase. “If I am Ok with me I don’t have to make you wrong…If I am not OK with me you can’t do anything right” Joanism This leads me to take care of my needs so the nasty viper in me goes away.
Jesus often calls us to be caregivers as he was. He gave his entire life helping people see the light, bringing a healing power with his words and touch and then called us to do the same.
“Truly, Truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
Wow, every time I read this I get excited and scared at the same time.
SO the other day I practiced what I preached I was driving on 21st street to Wool Growers there was construction and traffic backed up. I am stuck and I see this homeless man laying against the wall. I was thinking of that quote and asked God to bless HIM, and lift him up. I said Lord Let him know the King of Kings loves him. I had some girl scout cookies in my car so I rolled down the window and offered him a box and he accepted. I said to him The King of Kings loves you. He siad I know and showed me the back of his sweatshirt…Budweiser can with “The King of Beers.
I think of one of my best moments: caregiving for my parents. I was not taking care of myself either, sleeping on a couch, irritable and complaining all the time. Tell the story of the wrong diapers.
I learned that if you cannot care with love and compassion and take care of yourself you have no business taking care of others, in fact you’re doing more harm. And don’t kid yourself, the ones you are trying to care for feel the resentment and dislike too, not exactly what I want them to feel. In the end I learned a lot and will never regret one moment of having my parents with me and I did become a good caregiver once I started taking care of myself – and give out of my abundance, not lack.
What are some of the things that you can do to practice self-care?
- Gratitude (Notice how it is in every talk I give, it fights depression, helps us stay close to the Lord and even makes us better caregivers.
- Meditation – Adoration- Jon Kabat Zinn “Beginners Guide to Meditation
- Walk, run, move
- Yoga “Goga”
- Slow down -no hurry, pace, feel your steps
- Be kind to yourself
- Breathe 8 8 8 8 sniper breath nothing in the brain full concentration
- Humor laugh
- Let others minister to you- Mom and dad dying and then mom was on her last week she said she worried about me and I should prop her up in the window and people would still bring food.
- Connect with other living beings who don’t take from you – I have Francis!
- Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no My mantra to break the yes habit – Unless it’s an absolute yes, the answer is no. My favorite no phrase – “No, but thanks for asking.”
No But Thanks for Asking…
I have in front of me stacks of things to do,
Always for others it seems to be,
Long lists of needs for a chosen few,
And all of it done without a fee.
I have trained my friends and family,
That I am always the answer woman,
That I like to help, always happily,
And before I know it the trap has been sprung.
I don’t want others to think I’m mean,
Not to like me if I have to say no,
So I don’t, I say yes so I can be seen
As a wonderful, helping saint with a glow.
My ego you see, overloads my best interest,
Thinking their needs are much more important than mine.
It gets me some points if I post on Pinterest,
All the deeds that I do for others and never decline.
But what am I telling the people I know,
Is that they are not capable and won’t do it well.
That I believe if they do it their way they will blow
The opportunity for them to excel.
So what is the antidote to this self-righteous belief,
That control is my mantra no doubt?
I will keep my mouth shut. . . what a relief,
And give them the statement “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
I’m learning to look in the mirror and see what I need,
Find what I have overlooked in my life,
Taking time for my time and energy to feed,
To let go of the resentments that cut like a knife.
Resentment I say? Now what do I mean?
I resent you for stealing my life without gratitude,
You don’t even notice, my life passing unseen,
And I especially dislike your nonchalant attitude.
If this is to change, I must not ALLOW it any longer… “No, but thanks for asking”
Matt 12 :38 Jesus said NO to giving a miraculous sign to the disbelieving leaders.
Jesus said no many times to respond to the needs of others and instead went away to be alone with the Father. He did not heal everyone. Even tried to say NO to his mother at Cana.
I often find myself not thinking ahead or processing my yes or no. I react and then I regret and then I resent. I am getting better at praying and asking God if it is something I should commit to or not.
Knowing when to say NO to a person, conversation or event is extremely important in self-care.
My mother used to tell me you need to say NO to more people…pause…just never say NO to me.
In the end the better that we take care of ourselves, SPIRITUALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY…THE MORE WE CAN CARE AND HELP OTHERS. It begins with acknowledging that you are HIS child, he loves you and fills you with light and love. HE fills you with mercy and grace…There is nothing to want. We have it all. It is time to embrace it and begin to Heal our world, but we first have to let HIM heal us.