Radical self care


During seminary, self care was at the heart of recurring messages from professors and mentors. “Take care of yourself.” How obvious it seemed. Read your Bible. Take time to pray. Go on a walk. Remember to drink water. Breathe. All good things.

Self care should be simple. Turns out that’s not how it works, though. I get lost in the list. Seems like there’s always another two or ten things to do at the end of a day. Even when I’m efficient, even when I’m focused, even when I’m on top of my game, I still struggle with guilt that I’m not getting enough done. I’m not able to be everything to everyone.

If I crush it at church, I am exhausted at home. If I clear out time for home and family, I feel bad that I’m leaving stuff unfinished at church. The balance part baffles me. In the middle of everything else, I’m not very faithful at self-care. In the scramble to stay on top of household responsibilities, I lose my good intentions to the chaos of just getting by.

I know I’m not alone in this. Sometimes at the store I make eye contact with others who have the same weary, yet frenzied look on their face. I see social media posts and assume people might put on a brave face, but they’re trying to get through it all, too.

I don’t want to just get through. I don’t want to lose my life in the blur of the next ten things I need to do. And so I’m trying to return to self-care without the accompanying guilt. I signed up for Weight Watchers online and I’m relearning what it means to eat nourishing food. I’m finding balance in treats and counting food with points.

Yesterday, Steve and I signed up to join a wellness center. I couldn’t make it back to workout before they closed at 7, but I did an inhome walking dvd to practice sweating and taking time to exercise. It’s a new rhythm. I hope it sticks.

Part of the rhythm of self-care is going to include writing for me. Not writing for a sermon, a newsletter, social media… but just writing for me. And it’s okay to carve out time for things that refresh and give me life. I’ll repeat that until it sinks in deep.

About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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