As part of one of the contracts I have, each quarter I phone 30 men and women who lead groups of volunteers in church ministry. Sometimes it's encouraging, sometimes it's hard work, and sometimes I get what appears to be a recurring theme coming out of the conversations.
That's what has happened this month. In fact I spoke to three women in a row who told me almost an identical story:
They are all smart, busy, with families to care for, jobs to do, and lots of commitments in their communities. They all put themselves last. Not because they are martyrs, but because they have a genuine passion and commitment to what they do. And all three have had serious health issues over the past few months, not least in part due to being way too busy, way too distracted, and not giving enough attention, or respect, to their own well being.
And so, the theme I keep hearing is this: It's all very well to want to give and give to others. But if you're not caring for yourself first you're not going to be very effective. In fact you risk doing more damage than good, and then you'll be no good to anyone.
And the reality is, that in this world of volunteerism that we now live in, it's fairly unlikely that someone is going to tap you on the shoulder and say ''hey take a break, we can manage without you for a while''. so it's up to ourselves, to manage the load, set some good boundaries and decide priorities. Which includes some self care.
As my regular readers will know, I'm pretty partial to quoting lines from my favourite movies. Actually, scratch that, I'm pretty partial to quoting a lot of lines from one of my all time favourite movies. And all the way through PRETTY WOMAN, characters Kit and Vivien say to each other ''take care of you''. That sums it up I reckon.
Is your life in balance? Do you give the right things the right priorities? Has something got to give? Are you taking care of yourself?