Self Care is Tricky

Self Care is Tricky September 8, 2022
No matter how hard I try to escape it, Christianity is part of my root system. Often I describe it as the compost, along with the Bible, that is providing nutrients for my current growth cycle. There was some good, there was lots of bad, but as it changes shape from my daily practice, it provides some nourishment, not because it is becoming more important, but because it is decomposing.
I have a compost barrel out back. There is a smaller container by my back door where we discard all the vegetable scraps. When this bucket gets full, we take it out to the big barrel, makes it with some leaves and yard waste, and it becomes food for future soil.
Occasionally I “stir” this barrel and add a little water but I never spend much time at all with it. It is essentially a way to help the waste of the past to become useful. It is a natural part of the death, burial and resurrection of nature to go through this process. One thing becomes a part of the other in a way that is uniquely organic.
So what does that have to do with self-care?
I’m glad you asked. Many times we want to preserve our religious traditions and our spiritual past. But for me to leave the vegetable scraps, the garbage, in the center of my house would be toxic to our living environment much like my toxic beliefs around self-care from religion.
I say this as I’m fighting taking some time to put an ice pack on my bruised rib, instead of going out to work on my recovery in a different way. I get more feedback from walking around a track, because people see me. But to sit still and take care of myself is a little harder for me to do, mostly because of my spiritual past.
It’s easy to watch Laura care for our grandchildren diligently, but exceptionally hard for me to care for myself in the same way. It seems like wasted time to take a nap or set with an ice pack and not feel like I could be doing something more important.
For many of us the compost is in the wrong container. The garbage of the past is cluttering up our lives, instead of transforming into something that will be useful for the future.
Religion sometimes scolds us and tells us, “You’re spending too much time on yourself” but our inner self knows when it needs to be cared for. When we learn to listen to our own voice and realize most of those voices were people trying to get us to make their dreams come true. It had very little to do with God or real spirituality.
Because we love ourselves, we take time today to care for ourselves. We must put the garbage in the proper pails where it can become what it was destined to be, nutrients for the future, not in any way a necessity for today.
Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Karl Forehand

Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity

Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and The Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!


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