Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Self Care

I almost hate to post this because I do not want to communicate a message that is individualistic or "all about me" - not even a little bit. In fact I am drawn to this subject because I think with some self care we tend to be better at community.

I had breakfast with a friend on Saturday. She happens also to be one of the best counselors I have ever known. Yes, very good for me. I get "friend therapy". We talked about what it is in us that motivates us to seek approval through the "doing" of things. Good, real, deep, insightful conversation. She made a point, that Dan also mentioned on Sunday. Hurt people, hurt people. We all operate out of our woundedness.

Even those of us who have not had great childhood trauma, we have emotional wounds simply because we have lived. As a child, we are egocentric and while our core personalities are forming we funnel everything through that "I" filter. So, for a child if my parents are always pushing me to do better and never seem pleased with my performance, instead of ascribing that to their issues, I take that on as not being good enough. You fill in the situation and the result is the same.

And I believe the Accuser hurts us where we hurt the most! So, if we believe we are not significant because of the way we attributed a set of feelings and behaviors as a child. We function out of that as an adult. We work, work, work in order for someone to tell us that we are significant. We can spend our whole lives looking for significance and when people do not fill that need our worst fears are confirmed and the cycle continues. How can we possibly function as fully alive disciples living in the extravagance of God's love for us. We can't. In some form or fashion we live out our Christian walk trying to earn God's love, the approval of our church family and hoping to just manage sin at best.

That leads to the idea of self care. Only when we understand this and know that people all around us are struggling in the same way can we begin to grow in health. We can then begin to understand people, and not just label and judge them. When we take the time, risk and energy needed to know ourselves and name our fears that drive us, there is hope. Then we begin the journey to filling our minds and hearts with the attributes of God. When we fully believe that He is enough, sufficient, supreme we can take deep breaths. We can really believe, regardless of what the 6 year old inside our head says, that we are chosen, heirs, elect, children of the King, empowered, filled and loved. Now having that as the go to list in your brain instead of the other is self care.

The other aspect to self care that I love, is God care. Actually it has got nothing to do with self and all to do with God. The result though is a full, alive self. The self is actually cared for and brought to life. The work of God in us. Transforming us into who he wants us to be. A gift, but one that we can pursue. We position ourselves in ways that soak up all he has to offer. We make space for him. We listen during prayer instead of just speaking. We do all we can to be the most open vessel possible for him to fill.


la_emi1ia said...

I printed this so I can read it over again!

HNewman said...

All right - you caught me. Leeann is my sister and I am intrigued to find out how you know her! Yes, Fox is going to have a name that is one in a million! Well, I guess there are a few more, but very rare!

HNewman said...

Aha. Now I see. Yes, she is one of my favorite people in the world. Glad you guys met.

Amy said...

Arlene, great thoughts. I've just started reading "Generation to Generation" which I assume addresses some of these issues as well.

And...I thought about you when I decided to follow your lead into grad school. Thanks for your comment, and I'll look forward to sharing experiences with you!