Imagine a man (or woman) who owns a tow truck. This guy wants to be helpful in the world. He really enjoys changing flat tires for people, helping people get in their cars when they are locked out, towing stranded motorists to safety… He really likes doing all the tow truck stuff. It may seem weird, but to him, it feels like a calling. He is passionate about it. And he feels good doing it.
Our tow truck operator drives the highways and byways day after day, helping people in all sorts of automotive trouble. He goes home at night with a deep sense of satisfaction for his contribution to the world. What a great guy! He’s the guy you want to help you when you are in trouble.
Or is he?
This tow truck operator likes helping people so much that he often gets distracted from maintaining his own truck. He might be on the way to get the oil changed when he gets a call from a person with a flat tire. Then he never gets around to changing his oil. His tires are balding because there is always someone who needs his help and it takes a lot of time to get tires changed. He lets himself be so busy that he hasn’t had his brakes checked in a very long time.
You can see where this is going. Sooner or later this tow truck is going to need a tow truck. That’s not a pretty sight. Or, worse, his tow truck is going to be so worn out it becomes unusable as a tow truck.
This is what we do with our lives when we neglect our self-care.
Self-care is not selfish because proper self-care is what is going to enable you to care for others well in the long run. Of course, self-care could be selfish. But you can also maintain healthy self-care habits (get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise) so that you are ready to be the gift to the world that God intends you to be. For some of you, this may be the motivation you need to finally make some long-overdue changes in your self-care habits.
You need to schedule out and set boundaries around your self-care. This is not selfish. I’m not talking about emergencies. Of course, if a loved one has an emergency you skip your exercise, get up in the middle of the night, or skip dinner to help out. But if you have so many emergencies that your ongoing self-care is compromised, you probably need to examine either your definition of an emergency or your personal boundaries.
If you want to live out your purpose of being a gift to the world, you need to take care of yourself.
Do you know someone who isn’t taking good care of him/herself? Forward them this post. It may be just what they need.
PS – If you haven’t yet, download your free 14-day sampler of my soon-to-be-released journal, “90 Days to a More Courageous and Generous Life.”