Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Fake Care

We’ve all heard of fake news, well today, I want to talk about fake care.  I think its only appropriate to discuss this topic as we close out a month of self-care discussions.  So what is fake care?  Its the stuff that looks like self-care but is cleverly disguised and actually something very different.

Fake care can come in a few forms - addiction, avoidance, distractions, and over-indulgence just to name a few.  Often the things that make up fake care aren't bad in and of themselves but in how you use them.  A tool in the right hands is a great asset, but a tool used inappropriately can cause harm and even be a weapon.

So what exactly am I talking about? I'm talking about the things you do that keep you distracted from doing what you need to do, that will inevitably cause you stress later,  or avoiding hard things by doing other things that just keep you from facing life.  I"m talking about unwinding in ways that go too far and create unhealthy patterns and addictions.  Let's have a few examples:

Time on your phone (okay I'm talking about me here) - I use my phone for work.  I check emails, update social media, text, call, sell, buy etc, but I also scroll too long and play games when I have stuff to do.  Doing that isn't wrong but when I neglect my to-do list for the never-ending scroll, we have a problem.  When I choose to play phone games instead of having my necessary time with God, I am not talking care of my spirit, and I need that for the rest of me to function.  Taking a break from life and playing a fun game on your phone or checking in on your friends can actually be good, but too much time becomes a problem.

Tip: Set limits or time for those phone stuff.  Set a timer if you need to, to help you be time aware.  You can also earn more screen time (just like your kids have to), do something on your list, earn time on social media etc.

Television and YouTube - Television has always been my guilty pleasure.  I can get lost in a show or movie.  My son inherited that from me, so you have to yell or get right up on him or me to get our attention when we are engrossed in a show.

TV is great after a long day to just unplug and relax.  Family movie night is also a lot of fun but seriously, when one show turns into binge watching and before you know it, you've accomplished nothing and its time for bed, you have a problem.  This can be an avoidance behavior.

I am prone to getting overwhelmed when I have too much going on and just check out instead of getting it done.  Taking a break, again, is good, avoiding and being irresponsible is not.  Only you know when you are using television (or whatever for you) to avoid a challenging emotion or lengthy project.

Tip: Just like phone time, setting limits can be a great way to tame this beast.  Maybe you need to delete a few of the shows you tape or unsubscribe to a few YouTube channels.  That show on Netflix you are dying to watch, limit the number of episodes you will watch at once.  If you can't follow your rules, then its time to get someone to intervene.

A glass (or 12) of wine - Again, a nice glass of wine can be great, but too much is an addiction not an enjoyable way to unwind.  This could also work for that piece of cheesecake that turned into 8 slices. Enjoying a dessert is great, but going on a calorie, sugar spree is harmful to your body.  That my friends is fake care.

Tip: Find a substitute non-alcoholic, non-caffeine replacement - something that helps you and can get you re-focused on life.  Find a friend to hold you accountable.  Make a rule, you only have one drink out with friends, no alcohol in the house for awhile.

Enjoy life, take in the beauty and take care of your mind, soul and body.  Understand your value and invest in you, but don't use that as an excuse to go too far!

I recently faced an unexpected emotional issue when a part of my past, I thought I was done with, came at me from left field.  I took a few days to ignore it and honestly, I needed to, but then I had to face it, talk it out.  Depending on your set of circumstances, that might mean a coffee talk with a friend, or it might mean a counseling appointment.  Deal with your emotions, they are there for a reason and counseling with the right counselor (there are bad ones out there or even just ones you don't jive with) can be just what you need.

Self-aware is the best friend to self-care and being able to hone your self-discipline so those two work well together is a recipe for a better you.  Are you using the things above or your anything else you do (time with friends more than family, a good book that takes your whole day, going to the gym more than you should...) to avoid life, overindulge in guilty pleasures. Are you in the middle of a socially acceptable addiction or do you need more discipline to avoid common distractions?  Move toward self-care not fake care.  You only get one shot at life and its never too late for a fresh start.  Go be the best you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Who Are You?

Before you can answer the question, "what you need," you first have to know who are you?  I love the show, "This Is Us," for many reasons, but one of those reasons is because they deal with the who in defining the how.  Isn't that what life is all about?  So many people stay stuck in bad places because they incorrectly defined the who.  They don't try because they don't think they are worth the effort.  A couple weeks ago I talked about how much you matter and it sounds nice but really, its the starting place for a reason.

When we fail to see our awesome in the midst of our own awful (we all have both) we miss out on understanding who we really are.  I hate when people pick one thing to define themselves because we are more than our sexuality, our past or one defining character quality.  We need to see it all and there are so many ways to do that.  Its a package deal, because while taking away one of those descriptors would change who we are, we aren't just one thing.  

I love personality tests because its a rabbit hole of self-discovery that truly makes me giddy.  There are so many quizzes and tests online today - just do a google search and get lost one afternoon in the discovery of you!

Knowing who you are is key to understanding where your life potholes are and knowing the dangerous places you shouldn't go.  Its knowing that you are tired and now isn't the time to discuss this, or understanding that certain people trigger past pain and you have to guard yourself when life puts them in your path.  Knowing yourself means knowing you talk too much or not enough and being sure you have put in place what you need to care for yourself and rock at life.

I mean don't you want the best?  Don't you want to finish strong and not be a tragic tale?  Getting there, taking care of yourself to make it through the years of this life, those come in the moments getting all added up.

I get busy and can give so much that I neglect myself.  If I don't have sleep, time with God and recoup time, I am horrible to be around.  If I get anxious and worried, I have to slow. it. down. 

I have to take a time out and refresh.  

That isn't the same for my husband and if I'm not careful I can see him going and think, "I need to catch up," but that doesn't work for me and if I try it, I will fail.  Pushing myself too hard not only gets me raging, but it also takes me to that depression place, where I can begin to ask the question, "Wouldn't everyone just be better off without me?" That land is no bueno and I try to avoid it, so knowing what gets me there it the first step.

Do you know who you are in order to know what you need?  Become a student of you and then make that plan to stay in the best place.  Fill me in! I'd love to hear more about you and what you need.  Comment below or on any of my social media accounts, message me or call if you have my number.  Trust me, I want to hear it! I hope its an awesome day!!! Maybe today is the day you begin to discover you!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Bible Mistranslation, Goals and Self-Care

Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani! (Matthew 27: 46, Mark 15:34)

This phrase is uttered by Jesus on the cross and is often translated in the Bible verse as meaning:

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!

It was always explained to me that Jesus said that because God had turned away from him because God couldn't look at sin, however, that really makes no sense.  Why? Well, for one thing, Jesus is God, just in another form.  So if that is true how can one form not look at sin, but the other be on a cross bearing the sin of the world? Also, if God's whole point of creation is to have a relationship with humans, by nature, sinful creatures, how can that work if God can't look at sin?  It just doesn't seem to fit the character of God or the rest of the Bible.  Turns out, its been misquoted.

I've mentioned before that I am reading, Light Through An Eastern Window, by Bishop K.C. Pillai and while I was reading in Chapter 5 (page 67) where he discusses this very passage above.  I then opened my Peshitta  Bible translation to follow along and see that Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani, is actually mistranslated.  What is really says is, My God, My God, for this I was spared, or this is my destiny or even, it is fulfilled.

That translation makes more sense when in John 19:30 Jesus is quoted as saying, It is finished.  Jesus like any man on a mission, was stating that he had finished what He was sent to do.  I love this!

So what does this have to do with self-care?  Well, last month our theme was goals and I think this Bible passage is a great message in the middle of everything we've been talking about.

God had a mission: make a way for humans to get back to him. Jesus came as the final sacrifice, atonement if you will, so that our relationship established in the Garden of Eden could be restored.  Satan, our enemy, had gotten in there and blocked our path, but God protected us from our enemy and in true God form, provoked his enemy to help him fulfill his mission so that he could go on the cross, die for us, then 3 days later come back to life and go back up to heaven, leaving the other form of God - the Holy Spirit, with those of us who accepted this gift.

Jesus knew his goal, he knew what he was here to do and he did it.  Along the way he trained leaders, met the needs of the people he created and loved, and he pissed the religious leaders off, you know the ones claiming to represent him, but really just living for themselves and using religious laws to get what they wanted.

Jesus, is recorded in various passages in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) as going to a solitary place and getting away from the crowds.  He met physical as well as spiritual needs when he was with crowds, because in the midst of meeting the mission, he knew the value of taking care of our physical bodies.

You will never meet your goals and fulfill your life mission if you neglect your body, your spirit and your soul.  Self-care is not just a plain way of talking about pampering.  Its actually being mindful of the tools we need and using them with wisdom.  Our body is the vessel that houses our spirit.  It has needs of food, water, rest.  The spirit and mind need quiet meditation and time from the go, go, go and draining moments of emotions of others or even our own.

Let us learn from Jesus, and not only stay focused on our job, our mission in life, but also care for the needs of ourselves and those who cross our path.

Where are you lacking?   Do you have goals and a life mission or are you aimlessly floating through life?  That is easy to do, we have more distractions than any other time in history.  Are you staying focused on that mission and are you caring for your needs so that you can do what you were called to do?  What would it mean for your mission to be completed?  If you can't answer that, maybe its time to get in prayer and Bible study and ask God to show you.  Maybe you don't know who you are? Then its time to take the personality tests and learn about how you tick, what you need and what kinds of things bring you joy or get you excited to go out and conquer the world.  Life is hard, like we discussed last week, so stay encouraged and keep going!!! Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

You Matter

This month the topic is self-care. So many people don't take care of themselves and so it begs the question: why not?

A common thread among so many today is that when they answer the question, "do you matter?" They would answer, "no."  I mean if you ask them, they would verbally say "yes," but that voice in their head says something different.

The only way to overcome something is to face it because often the fear of facing it is worse than the actual issue itself.  We are scared if we take a mental inventory and assess the thoughts that keep us down, we will be challenged at a value level.

Step 1:

Take note of everything you are thinking.  What are the doubts and self-worth statements that are cutting at your value?  Is it:

I'm not good enough

I'm not important

My value is based on what others say or think

I don't have what it takes

I can't do this

That list just keeps going and sure we may say, "I don't believe those things," but in truth some variation of those statements above or something like them replay in your mind on a loop and that is keeping you from understanding your worth.

Truth: Life is hard.  I love this post on Instagram from @galiacollaborative

Reality is, we often rush to blaming ourselves when life doesn't go well instead of understanding that life isn't going to always go well.  Its not an indicator that we are the issue.  We all have issues but again, we aren't an issue.  Do you see the difference? 

Step 2: 
Once you've identified those mean thoughts start looking up some antonyms to those nasty thoughts.  I was processing some negative emotions recently and was feeling abandonment even though I wasn't actually being abandoned.  I got my emotion oils, and my journal and looked up those antonyms, then wrote out the opposite of abandonment in a personal way. 

I told myself, I am reclaimed, redeemed, wanted, secure.  Those were truths even though I wasn't feeling that way. 

I also listened to God's word because He tells me I matter.  

Matthew 10:31 ESV
Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Psalm 139:13-14 ESV
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Matthew 16:26 ESV
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

That last one reminds me why we fight for our value.  We can focus on money and busy days with life check lists and lose ourselves and when we do, is it worth it?  

You are worth fighting for.  

Step 3: 

Repeat the truths of step 2, post them everywhere so you are being reminded of truth.  Our brains need repetition to create new neural pathways, so hearing yourself say the positive opposites to your go-to thoughts is what you need to replace them.  Eventually your brain will replace the bad ones with the good ones.  

Step 4: 

In all of this don't forget you are not alone.  Connect with friends and find a community that will encourage you along the way.  

Don't forget the best way to be diligent with self-care is to first say, "I matter." Only when you know your value can be able to make self-care a priority.  Happy Wednesday!