One lesson I have had to learn in embracing a healthy self-care program is this. . .it’s definitely not selfish. It is vital; especially if you’re someone who has suffered from codependency tendencies.
Self-care can be practiced in many ways. For example, whenever I am allowing myself to get absorbed into someone else’s problem or addiction, I have had to learn to pull back in love and allow God to be God, and trust Him to do what I could never do for that person. I have had to pray that He will heal the broken parts in me that tend to strive excessively to be a superwoman in the eyes of everyone around me. The habit of striving to be a superwoman will eventually wreck havoc on your body and mind. This has become a health concern especially for black women. According to the American Heart Association, “Heart disease and stroke is the No. 1 killer in women, and stroke disproportionately affects African-Americans.”
As someone who has a tendency to fall into codependent relationships often, I have to fight the urge to become a “rescuer” of anyone who needs my help. I need to stop and ask God two things: (1) Can I help them? (2) Should I help them? In the past, I would rush in and try to “help” without hesitation. In unhealthy, enabling relationships, your version of “helping” may be enabling someone to continue in an addiction or an unhealthy habit. I’ve learned to pray for wisdom in this area, asking God for guidance, and to show me a healthier way to truly help someone.
I have to learn to point people to God because only He can truly heal and restore a damaged soul. However, I can ask Him to show me the proper way to aid someone in that process.
In addition, when I become absorbed in excessively “helping” someone. I can lose sight of the valuable instructions and responsibilities He’s entrusted me with such as my own emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Years ago when I became overwhelmed and burnt out doing ministry work, I fell into a deep depression. I had to reevaluate some things. I went to a therapist as advised by a friend and mentor. I remember how my therapist bluntly asked a profound question each week, “What have you done for your self-care program this week?” Through all my talking, the question continued to shock me as I realized, I barely took care of myself that particular week. He zoomed in on the key issue I kept overlooking. The devil is in the details. When you are not focused on what God has entrusted you with. . .you will start overstepping boundaries and meddling in affairs you are not equipped to resolve. Lesson learned: (1) Get the speck out of your own eye first.
Many years ago, when I discovered I was on the path of having alopecia, losing my hair due to overprocessing, neglect, unhealthy eating habits, and so forth, I was forced to reevaluate and see that I was neglecting my most valuable asset, my own life.
From that day until now, I’ve had to learn to surround myself with wise people who can begin to help me see perspectives I couldn’t when overworking myself, stretching myself too thin, and crowning myself “God” in my life and the lives of others. It should be fundamental but I have had to actually learn how to allow God to be God, and accept the responsibilities He has given me. Then allow Him to lead in every single aspect of my life. To that end, self-care is no longer an option but a command