The past month has included three kids finishing the school year at three different schools, Peter coming to the end of his tenure at a fourth school, and getting ready to move.
In the midst of the whirlwind of all these beautiful people in my life having important things happening that I want to witness, I said to a friend, “Well, I don’t have to write, so I’ve mostly been letting that fall to the side.”
She responded, “Oh, but you do have to write.”
What she meant was that for me to go through the world—and especially for me to move through any season of stress—pretty much requires me to write. For my sake.
It brought me back to the early days of Penny’s life, when my mom would come to visit. She would give me instructions: “Either go take a nap or go write in your journal.” She knew what it looked like for me to take care of myself. Sleep. Or write.
One big challenge for me these past few weeks has been to prioritize taking care of myself. Not just taking care of all the people I love. Not just loving my neighbor (and son and daughters and husband), so to speak. But loving them as I love myself. As I receive the gracious care and faithful presence of God’s enduring love that is not only for everyone around me but also for me. Right here. Right now.
Caring for myself has included getting enough sleep (though I will admit to some wild anxiety dreams), making time to pray and journal and read the Bible every morning, and reducing my alcohol consumption (I’m a convert to these drinks my friend Patricia introduced me to called Moment). It has also meant writing.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling the pressure of this time of year and the temptation to wait to take care of ourselves once everything has calmed down and everyone else has their needs met. I’m also sure I’m not alone in recognizing the foolishness of the words I just wrote.
So I invite you to think about what a good mother would tell you to do to take care of yourself today, knowing that when you receive the love and care you need, you are all the more ready and able to offer that love to those around you.
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