A State of Selfless Rest
December 22, 2021 by Andrew McCabe
A note to all,
As we begin to shift our focus and energy towards our loved ones this holiday season, I am reminded of Jesus's instruction to 'love thy neighbor as thyself'. This statement, although normally used to direct behavior towards others, is also a reminder to prioritize ourselves, nourishing our minds and souls, so we help others flourish. Just as a flower needs sunlight, water, and air to bloom before it shares its beauty, there is a parallel need to treat oneself with compassion and grace – just as God treats us – to fully thrive.
When I've engaged in activities that prioritize my wellbeing and allow me to "bloom", the benefits that it offers my loved ones have been boundless; in this way, my focus on myself can actually be rooted in selflessness. A quick run through the neighborhood after work energizes me to support my girlfriend after she's had a difficult day, while an extra hour of sleep enables me to be fully present with my sister and her fiancé, who are rarely able to visit. These benefits are driven by God's intentionality, which interweaves our paths with those we love.
Our instincts often define how we interact with those around us. If given the option, we often choose to place the needs of our loved ones above our own, even forgetting or ignoring self-care from our lives. We respond instinctively to help with an emergency doctor appointment, a last-minute school project, or an unforeseen power outage, but we might need to remind ourselves to preserve a space to breathe afterwards – even if just for a minute.
Over the next few weeks, we have the opportunity not just to focus on ourselves, but to see how our ability to love ourselves enables us to help others grow and succeed. This relationship between self and others is not an either/or decision: a single flower, blessed by God with water and sunlight, spreads hundreds, if not thousands of seeds.
Rest well, rejuvenate selflessly, and have a safe and blessed holiday season.