Lately I have been choosing to be kind to myself every single day. What does this look like you might ask? Well this has looked like me not putting much pressure on myself.
I have not pushed myself to have a perfectly clean house, I am reading a lot of novels after work, I am not trying to achieve any sort of high level fitness and I have chosen a gentle approach to my choices everyday. I am also celebrating every small thing I achieve and the blessings of each day.
You need to know your season and act appropriately for your self-care. Sometimes we need to push, we are being stretched in capacity and we are called to be focused and super disciplined. I have had those seasons too.
They are defining seasons where God is preparing us mightily for his purposes. Even in these times it is vital to make times of rest, refreshment and self care.
However, right now I am recognising that I have been going through abnormally huge life-decisions, pressures and challenges and so for me right now, I need to be extra kind. Our children journey has come to some what of a head, in that we are currently taking tentative and hope-filled steps towards fostering and adoption and there are many emotions to process, hence my kind and gentle daily choices.
Pearls & holistic care
In my journey with God I have learnt a few pearls. One is that we are all made of body, soul, mind and spirit and so that it is good to check in with how you are going in all these areas. It is good to regularly invite God into each area to bring his love, healing and life.
Sometimes God will reveal to me that I am not loving myself in mind. Sometimes I get a case of ‘stinking thinking’ which is basically where I start thinking that I am not good enough or I am a failure or that I will never get to my dreams or goals.
It is through prayer that I repent of these mindsets and re-align with God’s love and delight in and over me. This is where knowing God’s word is so important as we can re-fill our mind with His word and His promises.
Sometimes I just know I am not loving myself in body, like my body is sad because it needs a brisk walk and some good nutrition. I have learnt to listen to my body and value all that it needs and try and respond.
I actually feel I am loving my body when I eat fish, vegetables and salad. My body just loves fish, like I even do a little happy dance when I eat fish. I have also started taking collagen and bone broth and I feel so good about putting healing foods into my body. What foods make your body feel happy and give you energy?
Being kind to yourself is also forgiving yourself for anything that you’re angry or upset about, towards yourself. It might be a decision you made that you now regret because it has caused stress or issues to start or continue for you. Try and see all of your life as learning rather than mistakes.
Did you know you can feel like one part of you has let you down? People who have gone through chronic health issues can feel like their bodies have let them down. When you miss yet another birthday or wedding because you feel unwell or fatigued you can feel angry - towards your own body.
I used to feel like my body and my mind was letting me down constantly. I used to suffer from insomnia and chronic health issues, and before I was healed of these I used to carry this feeling of self-condemnation around with me. I used to feel angry and sad towards my mind and body regularly, feeling like they had let me down.
I went through this for a few years until God revealed it to me whilst I was in prayer one day.
He said to me ‘there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8). Liana there is no condemnation in my kingdom. It just isn’t my way. My way is peace. Forgive yourself.’
Fill up your joy tank!
A wise counsellor once told me that when we are walking through sorrow or working through grief, or disappointments we really need to be filling up our joy tank. She explained that we needed to find out what brings us joy and make a deposit into our joy tank, to balance out all the head and heart processing of sad difficulties that we are going through.
I found that certain things filled up my joy tank quite quickly. Top of my list was getting into nature, breathing in nature’s beauty and discovering new places of God’s incredible creation. So I have made an effort to get in and amongst nature every single week. It’s fairly easy here in South Australia with national parks, picturesque coastlines and starry skies.
There were about six other great things on my list that bring me joy. Perhaps try write your list so you know how to deposit into your joy-tank too as this is a great self care and balance tool.
I also wrote out what fills my love-tank which I found from the 5 love languages book by Gary Chapman. One of the biggest of which for me was receiving regular massages. I feel so loved when I receive a massage. At the top of my list for receiving love though, was those moments where I am listening to God and he speaks to me of how deeply and eternally he loves me. This truth pierces through all the other circumstances, emotions and noise and it fills up my heart and truly sustains me.
Liana is a passionate and creative soul, living in South Australia and married to her artist husband of 12 years, Justin. Liana is an early childhood educator and also writes, sings, occasionally dances, loves nature, is a psalmist and runs a women's ministry.