A friend gave me a book a week ago. I just about jumped out of my seat! I had been wanting to read this book! I was waiting for it to come out. Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray. I’m a little more than half way through. Wow! So good! It’s reinforcing some things I’ve been learning this year through another course I’ve taken to help me with my anxiety. Like taking care of myself.
I love Gray’s book because it puts into pictures for me what I’ve been trying to learn. I know the words but I’m a visual learner and in some cases, this book has crystalized in picture form what I need to do. Sounds weird? That’s okay. It probably is unless you are a visual learner too. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just me!
Taking care of myself is one of those things. I know it. I still don’t do it. When did we start telling ourselves we weren’t worth it or deserve it? Maybe when our kids were small. Maybe it goes back farther than that. There are countless reasons. I have to ask, When did we start believing that lie? That we weren’t worth it. Didn’t deserve it.
I remember even in my counseling sessions years ago, my therapist telling me I needed to take time for myself. She asked me what I did for myself. I told her I was taking Friday mornings off to write while my husband was home on his day off with our teeny boys. And I curled one evening. I must have felt guilty because she said to me, “That’s all you take off? A morning and an evening?” She pointed out that wasn’t much since I was on call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. She was right.
It’s been worse these last two years. Moving changed everything and routine, well it’s taken two years to even get one! Friendships are forming but it’s been lonely as we had to make new friends. Start over. All of us. It’s taken time to find out where to go to curl or play soccer or find a special coffee shop.
Since my kids are bigger and in school all day, I felt I should be able to have any me time, through the day. But that often gets hijacked with lists of things to do, bake, clean and purge. Honestly I never take the time to do something for play. For me. And that is what Gray has brought out into the light for me. Play. Do we take the time to play for ourselves? The answer is NO. I don’t.
I remember when we moved, one of my friends found out I used to paint and I liked watercolours. She gave me, as a parting gift, a pad of water colour paper and some watercolour paints. I was thrilled. I loved it. I’ve used it once. Why? Because there is never enough time! I’m running here and there. I’m gulping for air. I can’t stop and do something so unproductive! Will it put dinner on the table? Will it make lunches? Will it clean? NO! The accusations go on in my head. I do nothing. My inner self wilts even more.
If I don’t make the time there will never be the time to do it. If I don’t stop the lies going on in my head, I will continue to wilt. I need truth. I am worth this. I deserve to take the time to paint if I want to. Because it would fill me. It would give me rest. It would make me a better wife and mother. It’s part of the whitespace Bonnie Gray talks about in her book. Take the time to enjoy something for yourself. To play! To meet Jesus there in our play! If we continually give out but don’t fill up then we are no use. To anyone. Even ourselves. Because eventually our inner selves will revolt.
You can only run on empty for so long. You know this. I do too. Maybe we can start practicing it. Today.
What do you do for yourself? What is play to you? Do you see Jesus there in your play?