Are you a busy mom?
Do you struggle to live out your lenten plans?
What if I were to tell you I have a different way to observe lent this year?
Today’s busy moms face a pace and lifestyle that can set us up for failure if we try to approach Lent the traditional way. I’d like to suggest a different approach to lent this year. This year, I’m going to suggest that you focus on self care for 40 days.
I am challenging you to take care of yourself for 40 days!
As moms we spend our lives putting others first. Very often we come at the end of a very long list of to dos. But, I ask you…How can we be what God needs us to be, and do what we would like to do, if we are worn out and utterly depleted?
I have been serving women and their families for almost 25 years now, first in women’s ministry and then, since 2002, as a personal and family success coach. During all this time not taking the time for self care has been a consistent theme. We’re terrible at it!
Here’s the thing, as women, we are natural people helpers, we nurture and care for those around us. That’s what we do! We’re caregivers! It’s a beautiful thing, but its only beautiful if we strive for balance by taking care of our own needs first, so that we have what we need in order to keep giving. Which brings me back to my challenge…40 days of balanced self care.
If you should choose to accept my challenge, I have a formula for you to follow. Its based on an acronym used in the tenth step of a twelve step program. The acronym, using the vowels in the alphabet, A,E,I,O,U,Y, helps us to remember the 6 essential steps to balanced self care. It includes the following six steps with questions to consider at the end of each day.
A – Abstain….. We all have something we could stand to abstain from! It might be the same thing or it might be something different everyday. What ever is “too much” in our lives. This step fits perfectly with the penitential nature of Lent, but should be directed at what gets in our way of being our best. For example, screens, tv, computer, tablet, phone, being busy, being the solution to everyone’s problems, staying up too late,
• Did I abstain from_________? ( name what it is.)
E – Exercise….. Yes! Exercise! This might not be an issue for you, but it is for me! Whatever it is there needs to be daily movement that increases the heart rate. Be realistic and set yourself up for success!
- Did I __________________ today? (Name your chosen exercise commitment)
I – I (myself)….. This step is in addition to exercise. Exercise is kind of an obligation we have in taking care of the vessel (our bodies) God has entrusted to our care. This step challenges us to do something specifically for ourselves.
- What have I done for myself today?
O – Others….. Although this part seems easy, since as women, this is what we do, the challenge is to “see” your acts of service and be intentional with those we serve. So often we get caught up in the monotony and lose sight of the opportunity. This is the “acts of Charity” part of lent.
- What have I done for others today?
U – Unexpressed emotions – This step has two parts, the first is unexpressed emotion. When life gets busy we often don’t take the time to deal with feelings. We think we don’t have time so we push it aside, or bury it. It’s not healthy to continue to let frustrations build without working to resolve them. Try to identify emotions and find a way to communicate them that promotes strong relationships with others. The second part of this step is, “how” we express the emotions. How we express the emotions is as important as making sure we don’t bottle them up. We don’t want to leave behind emotional wreckage.
- Did I have any unexpressed emotions today?
- Have I communicated my feelings charitably and effectively today?”
Y – YAY!! ….. This is my favorite part! This is where we practice looking for the positive in our lives by looking back over our day and identify at least one thing that went well and we thank God for it! We look for our “yay for the day”! This is the prayer part of Lent, a prayer of thanksgiving.
- What was my “yay for the day”?
So there you have it! 6 steps the the best lent ever for busy moms! A challenge in balanced self care so that you have what you need, to do what you want to do, and be who God needs you to be.
Prayer – Prayer of thanksgiving, Yay for the day!
Fasting – Abstaining from what ever is “too much” in our lives.
Acts of Charity – Our greatest act of charity is loving ourselves first, for love of God and others.