Category Archives: finally loving yourself

f.l.y. // taking care of yourself, love in action

this is a series of blog posts i’m writing called f.l.y. // finally loving yourself in response to emily wierenga’s dare to love yourself challenge. i’m framing my thoughts about the subject through the lens of agape — unconditional love, God love, love in action. [my previous posts in this series are finally loving yourself & why taking care of yourself is important.]

my main thesis is that we cannot truly love others [& thereby obey Jesus’ second greatest command, matthew 22:37-40] until we learn to love ourselves.

agape is nothing if not action, & this applies even to finally loving myself. i wrote last week about why taking care of yourself is important & why it’s part of loving yourself [& loving God & others]. today, i want to talk about actually taking care of ourselves. what that means in specific action. i like to categorize everything in my life & to make lists, so here’s my areas of self-care:

>> physical — taking care of my body from the outside in
>> nutritional — taking care of my body from the inside out
>> mental — taking care of my brain
>> emotional — taking care of my heart
>> spiritual — taking care of my soul

taking care of yourself PHYSICALLY  >> this means exercising, stretching, toning, strengthening, hygiene, taking your makeup off before bed, moisturizing, sleeping enough, going to the doctor for regular check-ups, keeping your nails clean & neat, shaving!

taking care of yourself NUTRITIONALLY  >> this means eating good food, limiting junk food, watching your portions, drinking lots of water, taking a multi-vitamin, taking other needed supplements &/or medications, & for me, giving yourself necessary shots.

taking care of yourself MENTALLY  >> this means learning [never stop learning!], retaining what you know & learn, reading, doing puzzles, challenging yourself, practicing hobbies, taking breaks when needed, setting goals & working towards them.

taking care of yourself EMOTIONALLY  >> this means allowing & recognizing your feelings, not repressing, dealing with your feelings [both past & present], facing your fears, reducing stress, learning to breathe, cultivating healthy coping mechanisms, taking breaks, journaling, loving, forgiving.

taking care of yourself SPIRITUALLY  >> this means [to me] spending time with God every morning before i do anything else, in the middle of the workday, & before i go to bed, reading His word, memorizing & meditating on specific verses or passages of scripture, taking a personal retreat once a year, journaling, praying, praying, praying, listening, learning, practicing the spiritual disciplines, loving.

so, in keeping with my love for list-making, i hereby present:

the top 10 things i’m going to do 
to take care of myself for the next week

10. exercise every day except sunday. 
i’m pretty nervous about this commitment because i’m a notorious slacker in this area, but i’m hoping making a commitment in blogosphere public will help me get up & get going! exercise can include running, circuit training, aerobics videos, yoga, & long walks. i’m signed up for a 5k on april 13th & need to kick my rear in gear!

9. wash my face every single night.
i also stink at this & go to bed more often than not with my makeup on… but in the interest of my skin, my pores, & my self-esteem, i’m going to prioritize this each night. plus, my face washing routine is one of the most relaxing experiences, so it also helps me go to sleep.

8. cut out the junk food completely.
i’m going to define this as non-nutritional sweets [ex: cake vs. granola], fried foods, fast food, & processed snacks [ex: chips]. my sweet tooth is already aching at the thought…

7. drink only water & hot tea.
hi, my name is danae, & i’m addicted to dr. pepper. seriously. when i have a bad day, shaun knows it because he comes home to me sitting on the couch with a 2-liter… i’m really bad about drinking anything except water, although i don’t dislike drinking water in the least.

6. read one hour every day.
i’ve been working on a book for some time, & i really want to finish it this year, but i still have quite a bit of research to get done, so i’d like to set aside some time for working on this goal.

5. paint something at least two times.
i love to paint. it’s very therapeutic to me, & it’s one of my favorite hobbies. i have hoped to paint more consistently so i can develop my style & skill & so i can produce some art for our home. i even have my easel permanently set up, but i never seem to make it to the stool…

4. decompress three times during the work day.
this just means taking time to breathe & refocus for a minute or two. i’m very task-oriented, & i can get so bogged down in my 2do list that i forget to prioritize or get stressed out. i like to close my eyes, breathe slowly, focus on how i feel physically & emotionally, adjust anything needed, & check my priorities before returning to work.

3. journal every night.
even if it just means a quick sentence about my day, i want to be better about pouring out each evening onto paper because it clears my mind, eases my heart, & prepares me for rest like no other remedy.

2. practicing the discipline of simplicity.
“stuff” can weigh you down & distract you from what is truly important. this is particularly true of me right now. my house has not gone through a good decluttering in too long. this week, i’ll spend at least 15 minutes each night culling through my wardrobe, drawers, cabinets, papers, & basement to release things i don’t need & don’t use. i’ll take these to goodwill at the end of the week so they can bless someone else.

1. keeping sabbath on sunday.
for me this means focusing on God, worship, & rest. i don’t plan to be legalistic or anything, but i am not going to do work or errands or clean anything. most importantly, i am not going to have a single item on my 2do list! i want to spend the day with my church family, in fellowship, praying, reading, indulging in hobbies, writing, or cooking. these things are restful to me & conducive to my focus on experiencing the presence of God.

you’ll notice i have two list items per category of self-care. i’ve set alarm reminders & created items in my 2do list to help me with my top 10 list. i’d also appreciate any accountability. i’ll report back next week with my results — how successful was i at sticking to my top 10, which actions made the most difference, & how i feel about myself as a result.

i encourage you to come up with your own top 10! or top three, or even just one thing you can do every day this week to take care of yourself & thereby make progress in F.L.Y.ing — finally loving yourself!

f.l.y.: finally loving yourself

i discovered the writings of emily wierenga last week via sarah bessey’s international women’s day sychroblog. on her own site, emily has issued a challenge to fellow writers to participate weekly with her in “a dare to love yourself.” her posts thus far have been beautiful, & since my 2013 theme is love, it has really hit home to me along with other various aspects of love that i’ve been pondering & learning.

i had long forgotten how to f.l.y. it’s an acronym that i spent a semester teaching to college girls at our weekly bible study — finally loving yourself. i taught this to others, & yet, i have forgotten how to live it myself. ouch.

i loved this quote from emily:

Until you learn to like the way your left ear hangs lower than your right; the way you limp a little when you walk, or the way you snort out laughter; until you learn to say “Thank you” to your body for bearing your babies and for carrying you through life and for pumping oxygen through your veins, you’ll never be able to truly love another person.

i agree wholeheartedly.

Jesus taught love as the greatest command(s):

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40]

i’ve often heard this simplified as “love God & love others.” as i’ve been reading about agape so far this year, these are the words that have echoed over & over in my mind. but conspicuously absent have been Jesus’ words about loving myself… if He said i need to love others as i love myself, what happens when i don’t really love myself? [this was the premise of that bible class i taught so many years ago.]

it’s been so long since i’ve thought about loving myself, i’m not even sure where to start! years ago, a trusted counselor told me to experiment with treating myself like i was my own mother. what time would she wake me up in the morning? what would she make me for breakfast? what clothes would she lay out for me? how would she take care of me? she suggested i do those very things. what a revolutionary concept: to take care of myself. i think that’s the beginning of self-love. even if i don’t feel like it, if i go through the motions of the experiment, the feelings will eventually follow the actions. it’s true in so many other areas of life, & i believe it to be true here, too.

like emily, i’ll be posting for the next several mondays on this topic. next week, i want to talk about taking care of yourself, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, how to do it, what to do when you don’t feel like it, & how changing your actions changes your mind & heart.

may God teach us how to love ourselves so that we can more fully love Him & others.