“I don’t feel very taken care of right now.”
Some prayers start like that. Some prayers start a little angry, a little despairing, a little desperate, a little dramatic. Some prayers are heart wrenching laments from people who just can’t anymore.
“Well, are you taking care of yourself right now? Or at all?”
Some prayers answer themselves as you sit in them.
No, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t even paying attention to the ways that I was being taken care of in that cosmic divine kind of way.
I spent over seven years working in mental health – I know that taking care is important, and still, when the rubber has met the road, I have often made choices that don’t enhance my life at all, but instead just help me float on to the next day. For me, this has been a leftover mentality from spending too much time in survival mode. While I may have believed it served me well in the midst of crises to just get to the next day with as minimal damage done as possible, my life is in a very different place now and that way of thinking and living only perpetuates unhealthy habits and thoughts.
You would think that as soon as you could get out of survival mode, you would, – but that doesn’t seem to be the way it works. It’s hard to find your way out of that place, to re-establish a way of life. When a crisis or obstacle lasts for a long season, or seems to last over several seasons, survival mode becomes the default.
Sometimes, it even becomes an out – an excuse to not push for growth or reincorporate things into your life that were pushed aside during hard times. Once we’ve realized how little we can do to get by, it can be hard to start doing more, even if the more actually makes life better, more enjoyable, fuller.
Before I can take any steps towards living better and taking care, I have to acknowledge that I have been hurt and need to recover and that recovery and healing take time. I have to release the idea that I could or should just “move on” instantly. In fact, to actually move on, I need to spend some time really working through what happened in my head and heart during those hard times so that I can truly move forward and leave the junk in the past. I want to carry what I’ve learned with me, but not the baggage.
So my first step towards taking care? Admitting I have a problem doing it. Those hard years were hard. They happened in the midst of a formative time in my life and they contributed to habits, routines, and thought patterns that shaped the way I lived my adult life, but they don’t have to define the way I live the rest of my adult life.
If you’re having a hard time taking care right now, what’s holding you back? For me, it’s old habits, thoughts, and routines and as we go through this month I’m going to figure out more of what that means for me and I’m going to decide what I want to do about it. I hope you’ll check back in and see where this goes!