An order of chicken nuggets and a caramel cappuccino from a local drive-thru. That is what self-care looked like on a day when the world seemed to be caving in, every hair on my head was standing on end, and I was an emotional basket case. I had also cried all my makeup off. I was a mess.
Remarkably, on this particular day, I felt I had made progress. I had finally given myself permission to pour myself a cup of grace and slowly sip every drop. I had allowed myself to flee my caregiving assignment of taking care of my ailing husband for a few hours to take care of myself.
Yes, I ugly face cried. I prayed. I didn’t even care if anyone saw me as I sat alone in my parked car near the walking trail.
It was raining, which was fitting, and a big water puddle was in my view. Surprisingly, the view summed up exactly how I felt at that moment. Flooded.
Flooded from responsibility. Flooded from always having to hold it together for everyone. Flooded from fear and worry. Flooded from feeling like, as a Christian, I was a fake. I was flooded with feelings that I had failed my family and God.
Looking at the big puddle in front of me, I heard the Lord speak gently to my heart. He reminded me that I was doing it again: Forgetting to look at the world as it truly is—a temporary thing.
He began to remind me that nothing in this life is permanent. I know the enemy wants me to believe it because he can convince me I am stuck. Stuck in a bad day. Stuck in desperation. Stuck in frustration. Stuck in hopelessness.
However, God’s word tells us differently. We serve a God who is making all things new. New for me. New for You.
God made some wonderful promises to his people while we live out our time on this earth. He has promised to give us richly all things to enjoy, work all things for our good, and give us peace even when the waves and wind tempt to drown our hopes and dreams and blow them off course.
He has also promised us that the things of this world are not all there is to His plan for us. This is just the opening act, for the best is yet to come. We may suffer in this life, but in the next one, not one tear will ever fall from our eyes, and no pain or suffering can enter within its gates.
We will walk on a street of gold, be surrounded by the sights and sounds of a perfect Heaven, and see our Jesus face to face.
No more death and dying. No more living separated from our loved ones who have gone on before us, and not one day will go by that we won’t be rejoicing, happy, and full of great joy.
No, we aren’t stuck. We are just passing through on our way home. We have an eternal hope built in for all the hard days, even the ones that threaten to flood our hearts with hopelessness. An eternal hope that keeps our feet walking in victory.
So I allowed myself the time I needed as I sat quietly and finished my meal. I quietly talked to Jesus and let Him comfort my heart. I then went back home to my caregiving assignment with renewed strength and a fresh perspective.
Taking a break is allowed in the caregiving field or in whatever field you serve—in case you didn’t know or have forgotten. I realized taking a time out didn’t mean I was a bad wife or that I loved my husband less than I should.
Instead, I found wisdom in saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Always take time to let God pour His strength into you so you can better pour into others.
Take care of those you are responsible for but don’t forget to take care of yourself, even if it looks like an order of chicken nuggets and a caramel frappuccino sitting in the park.