November has always been a stressful month for me. In years past, I struggled with seasonal affective disorder. Last year I was unaffected, and no noticeable signs this year either. I attribute the change to a very proactive stance, progesterone cream, and emotional growth. Nonetheless, November is still stressful. It is that month when I begin preparing for the continuum of celebrating and gathering and gift giving. With family traditions and a daughter’s birthday thrown in there, we are preparing for or celebrating an event until Jan. 2. I love all of these things. I just do not like the preparation, the shift in being.
I will remind you that I am an introvert. Although I do love being with others, my battery is recharged by alone time. It seems to be ultra-charged by creative time, so while being active with art every day may appear to work against the time constraints added by preparations and travel, I am so energized by taking moments to refocus and recharge. What may appear to add more stress by giving me more to do is actually decreasing my stress level because I am taking care of my most self-loving needs.
My favorite book says we should love others as we love ourselves.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
I am limited in my capability to love others fully if I am drained and barely hanging on. Nurturing self, treating self with kindness and respect, is essential in the ability to love others selflessly. By setting proper boundaries for myself and prioritizing my most essential needs, I am really loving others more completely. I am equipping myself with the ability to give from a very full tank.
Because I am married to one who always looks at the other side, I will answer the antagonist retort. There will always be times in life in which we are out of control, in which we are not able to nurture ourselves because our lives have been so drastically smacked with shock that we turn to survival mode. There may be times in every person’s life in which nurturing self is not an option. Corrie Ten Boom immediately comes to mind.
In addition to survival mode, everyone has past wounds. I am intentionally working to heal these wounds, and training myself for that day in the future when I will have no option to nurture self. I am learning to become so in love with who God made me that when that point does occur for me, I will still have love to pour out for others. At all points, I will draw from the strength that sustains me.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.