Everyone knows how import self-care is to our well-being. It’s also clear that God wants us healthy, well and fit. We want to do the right thing, but self-care sometimes falls to the end of our priority list because we are so busy taking care of others that we neglect ourselves.
As women of faith, we are reminded by this small but powerful petition in Romans 12: 1-2: I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Get a glimpse of how Minister, Wife, Mommy, Sister, Attorney and Friend La Wanda Isreal practices sacred self-care.
Name: LaWanda Williams
Occupation: Attorney & Minister
What’s your self-care ritual?
I have to admit that I put myself on the shelf after I gave birth to my daughter and I fell further down on my list after I had my son. I did not begin to prioritize myself, in any form or fashion, until this year (my daughter is 5, and my son is 3). My children’s needs are yet a primary focus. At last, however, I intentionally designate time most days to take care of me.
My self-care ritual encompasses many things. I enjoy quiet time in meditation or prayer. Self-care also includes reading, watching television and exercise. I also try to do things that bring me joy even if it means eating a chocolate chip cookie. The most important aspect of self-care is taking time to focus on the things that matter most and to eliminate irrelevant distractions so that I can make the decisions that best reflect my beliefs. My faith informs my values and the actions that are necessary to approach the vicissitudes of life with the purpose of giving honor to God in all that I do.
Being healthy is being a good witness. What do you do to stay mentally, spiritually and physically fit?
Quiet time is essential to my mental fitness. I also study the sacred text to strengthen my faith muscle. Spiritual fitness also requires time in prayer and fellowship with other believers. Physical fitness is a personal priority for me as well. There are two aspects of maintaining my physical fitness that is important to emphasize; diet and exercise. I believe in the healing power of food. Therefore, I have been a vegetarian since 1995. I also enjoy juicing raw fruits and vegetables as I think that consuming foods that are closest to a natural state is ideal for optimal health. My diet is not perfect, but I do my best. Finally, I lift weights in the AM while the babies are eating breakfast and watching a cartoon about coding. I hope to add cardio to my routine soon.
How can we re-imagine spiritual self-care?
Reimagining spiritual self-care allows a healthy development of self with the knowledge that we all belong to the human family and have been uniquely designed to manifest the God in us in a way that makes everyone and everything better than it was before we arrived.
Something to reflect on. How can we be examples for other young women that struggle with self-care?
Years ago I read a book entitled, “The Relief of Imperfection,” by Joan C. Webb. Most Americans have crowded lives. Therefore, I endeavor to prioritize the tasks at hand and maximize my potential without collapsing from exhaustion which often results when we pursue the myth of perfection. I am happy being my best me because I set the standards based on God’s purpose for my life and not on an elusive or imaginary standard determined by outside sources. Psalm 139:16 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and that is enough for me.
I also think it is essential to choose yourself, unapologetically. I do not encourage narcissistic, self-obsession that has become commonplace today. I do, however, support self-love and self-celebration that honors your Creator and the gifts and talents that come to you naturally. A healthy regimen of self-care permits you time to nurture your talents for the betterment of yourself and as your contribution and service to the world. You matter, and you can create the life you want to live. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2 NASB)