‘’Chronically depleted’ is a term I have been running across lately describing the way women are functioning these days.
It was a wake up call for me.
I use a sleep machine at night. I was not getting enough oxygen while sleeping and as a result I woke up many times during the night and wasn’t even aware of it. I would wake up in the morning fatigued. It’s called ‘Sleep Apnea.’
My husband and I were traveling recently and I got out of the habit of using my machine. When we returned home, I continued the practice of not using it, even though it was within my reach on the dresser right beside my bed. I just had to apply the mask to my face, place the strap around my head and press the button.
Instead, I ignored it and even though it seemed that I was sleeping, I really wasn’t. The last few weeks without the machine slowly brought me to a place of fatigue and exhaustion. I was barely functioning.
It was my sister who finally asked, “have you been using your sleep machine at night?”
At first I brushed it off, but over the past few days I chose to apply the mask and strap it around my head at night. Within three days there was a major change in my energy level. The fatigue is gone.
I shake my head! Why would I go weeks without using this machine and deprive myself of the oxygen my body needs to function well.
Raising a family and working as well does not make it easy for a woman to take care of herself. We willingly make sacrifices for our families and do not regret any of it.
Taking care of myself has not been a priority over the years and the term self-care had me spooked. I feared putting my needs before others might appear selfish and as a Christian woman I wasn’t convinced this was good theology.
But a Bible verse helped balance things out in my mind:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)
I confess that I have gone overboard on the ‘denying myself and taking up my cross’ part. It is so easy for women to sacrifice themselves to death for others.
Sometimes we are motivated by guilt or a deep need for approval from our peers.
Whatever our reasons, let’s remember that the thief wants to steal our life and everything that brings us happiness, fulfillment and joy.
Jesus wants us to be happy and fulfilled in our lives so that others will be drawn into the kingdom of God through us.
I stubbornly chose to deny myself the oxygen my body needed at night and suffered for it. I not only suffered but my family did as well because I was crabby and not easy to live with. And it was my own fault.
Why would I, a Christian woman, choose to ignore the things that give me life, keep me healthy, happy and a much better person to be around.
Along with our daily dose of God’s word and meditation, let’s not deprive ourselves of the life-giving activities (interests and hobbies) that keep us happy and fulfilled.