Chewed up, spit out, and stepped on
(This is a sampling of what will be in my devotional book for nurses due to be released in the near future.)
Quick breakroom verse: “The next morning Jesus woke up very early. He left the house while it was still dark and went to a place where he could be alone…”
For further study later: Luke 4:42, Mark 6:32, Matthew 14:13, Mark 8:13, Luke 5:3
Let’s face it. This is hard work, y’all.
Yes, you will hear my Texas come out in this post. Somehow our over-the-top language is the only thing that does our exhaustion justice.
I could’ve used the psycho-babble word “Compassion Fatigue” to title this. But it’s more than fatigue.
It’s rode hard and put up wet.
It is going home after every shift with your dogs barkin’.
It’s one wheel down and the axle draggin’.
Okay, you get the point. There are probably idioms in the Midwest, Northeast, and other foreign lands to express this. #winkemoji
After we run for thirteen to fourteen hours at work, caring for others, most of us come home to care for our own. Children, spouses, pets, aging parents – you name it. Plus, we have daily responsibilities, even if we have folks around us that help out.
And on and on…
And no civilian better tell me “but you only work three days a week” or “you have a stretch of seven days off”, or whatever accommodating schedule your place of employment has. No, just no.
Let me put the brakes on right here. Today’s entry isn’t about complaining. It’s about taking time to care for yourself, so you don’t burn out five years into your career.
Jesus knew all about this. He frequently got out by Himself to recharge. Out on a boat, in a garden, on a long walk. Communing with His Father and basking in the wind and salt spray in His face. Drinking deeply of the aroma of fig trees and mandrakes.
A wise counselor told me to intentionally practice self-care every day. It was a period when I was overwhelmed in every area – vocationally, relationally, and practically. She made me list thirty things to make me feel treasured I could do for myself.
It was hard coming up with that!
Some were tiny – take a bubble bath. Some were big – take a vacation. Most were in-between. Read two chapters of a favorite book, write in my journal, get a pedicure, take a walk, listen to my favorite music, watch a movie, go to a restaurant and eat dessert.
We choose how we respond to our fatigue. Do we let it boss us around, ordering us to give up or only look out for number one? Or do we choose to do as Jesus did, when He could? Give ourselves space to recover, give ourselves permission to relax, take a Sabbath to rest, even if it doesn’t happen on a Sunday?
Lord, forgive me for ignoring Your example to care for myself. Forgive me for trying to be a superhero and do it all. Our job is to care for others, just as yours was. That doesn’t mean, though, that we don’t care for ourselves. Show me, through Your Holy Spirit nudges, to recognize those moments of white space where I can squeeze in self-care. Give me courage to put myself first on occasion.