I love to shop. I am an expert bargain hunter and enjoy the thrill of finding deals on pretty much everything. I can make a little money go a long way and really enjoy wandering around a store for an hour or so finding the best deals. The few times a year that I am blessed to have extra spending money – my Birthday, Anniversary, Valentines Day, Christmas – I usually squirrel it away so that I can shop here and there when I get the urge, over the course of a few months rather than blow it all at once.
(Except for the time I found that perfect pair of boots and spent it all in 5 minutes, but that’s another story.)
Lately though, I’ve noticed a different pattern in my life. I’ve gone on quite a few shopping expeditions, where instead of buying anything for myself I’ve spent my money on gifts for my family. I realized that I would pick out some things I liked, then systematically put them all back and replace them with things for my husband and kids. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but after a few trips where I went home with nothing for myself I realized something. For a few months I had decided that I didn’t need anything and it was more important to be a blessing to my family, so I talked myself out of doing something for me. It is better to give than to receive, this is true, but it’s also ok to take care of ourselves.
While being a blessing to my family is actually a good thing, I had to remember that it’s important to treat myself every once in awhile, too. When I thought about it I also realized this had carried over to other areas of my life as well. I didn’t watch my favorite television show because I was “too busy” writing Bible school curriculum and it needed to be done. I didn’t go to coffee with a friend because I had too many other things on my plate, and couldn’t make time for it. I had almost started feeling guilty about doing anything for myself, and that’s not ok!
It’s a common trap for women in general to put everyone and everything above ourselves, especially for us mommas, let alone women in ministry who have the added pressure we put on ourselves to take care of everyone in our lives first! We feel bad if we want to go to Starbucks for an hour to sip a latte and read a book, because we should be utilizing our time to help others. We feel guilty buying ourselves something special because we could’ve used that money to do something for someone else. We don’t treat ourselves because we think we should be spending our energy on everyone else around us. We feel like we have to justify doing something just for us.
One day Jesus was asked what the most important commandments were. He gave two. In Mark 12:29-31 in the Message, first Jesus said to Love God with everything we have, then He said Love others as well as you love yourself. Notice Jesus didn’t say love others MORE than you love yourself, just love them as WELL as you love yourself. Taking care of yourself, treating yourself, or doing something for you is not bad, it’s not selfish and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. How can you love others as well as yourself if you aren’t loving yourself at all?
What is it that you enjoy, that you haven’t taken the time to do for yourself? Is it a trip to the gym, the mall or the coffee shop? It is treating yourself to a walk outside by yourself? Is it reading that novel that you’ve been eyeing on Kindle? Is it taking the time to go get a manicure or a haircut? Don’t allow guilt to rob you of the joy of taking care of you. Treat yourself this week!
I would love to hear what you are going to do for yourself in the comments below!