As a new year unfolds and January just about slides into the finish line, something has captured my attention over the last few weeks. We have to take care of our instruments in order to function well. In ballet, a dancer’s body is her instrument. She works hard to take care of it, to prevent injuries, to nurture it with the right fuel, and to even pamper it a bit with occasional massages and lots of icing and heating pads! Her body is her instrument that allows her to do what she does. Without taking care of it, she is prone to injury, burn-out, and fatigue. In a sense, her body is her paintbrush to the art she gets to dance. Without taking care of herself, her art suffers.
Not all of us are dancers. But whatever we do whether it’s being wife and mom, running a business, taking care of things at home, studying our way through college, working full-time, running a ballet studio or company, or none of the above…we all need to take care of our instruments so that we can flourish. When we, in a sense, stay fueled up physically, it overflows into everything we do. When we feel good, we operate well. When we feel rested, we function better. When we take care of ourselves, our art flourishes.
So whatever YOUR art is, I just want to pull you over for a heart pep talk. (because I often need one myself!) Let’s just pull over off the treadmill of our life, take a pause, and reflect on how we can care for our instruments so that we can function at our best through this dance of life!
Here’s the thing, sometimes in our go-mode, our get-it-done mode, and our busy mode, we slowly let the care we need for our physical bodies slip down to the bottom of our priority lists, right? Sometimes we are so busy taking care of everybody else and everything else, that we ignore our instruments’ subtle alarms that they need our attention.
It reminds me of when I was dancing full-time and my ankle or my back would kind of seem to be whispering, “Hello! Remember me! Please be gentle with me! I need a little break! Go easy on me today, Sarah! Because you need me!” :) The slightest injury in my body would signal me, and I had a choice whether to listen to it or ignore. For some reason, as dancers, we like to try and ignore the pain as long as possible. We wouldn’t want to lose a role or a performance due to a minor setback, so we keep really quiet about it. We do that in life too.
In real life as opposed to dancing life, our instruments and even our hearts are giving us signals when they are needing some attention. My back will still send me a reminder to take it easy if I’m not careful. Or if I am just plain moving way too fast through life with details, dates, and our routine sometimes fatigue just hits me. I tend to try and plow through it, but I’ve learned that often times I need to listen to it. The remedy may be to go to bed earlier, to get outside and take a walk, or to just have a day of rest. My point is, our bodies and our hearts signal to us when they need some care and some pampering. :) Sometimes we don’t realize all that we are doing and accomplishing in a day or a week or a month or we don’t realize all the emotion we have put into something. And sometimes, our instruments just need some tending to.
Our physical bodies as well as our hearts need tending to. In the physical realm, we may need rest, fuel, water, exercise, sunshine, or a massage. (I mean, right!) Or in a heart sense, we may need time with Jesus…off the program, off the reading plan, just you and Him talking things out and finding comfort in His Word. I love this verse in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently.”
I think it’s all connected. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is all connected, and when one thing is out of balance, the whole gal, or dancer, or mom, or woman feels the depletion.
Where might you feel depleted today? Is your instrument trying to tell you something? How can you listen to your instrument today so that you can flourish through your daily dance of life?
I encourage you today to be gentle on yourself. Our God is so sweet to not demand a life of pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion day in and day out. His way is easy. His way is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) He wants to partner with us through our daily dance. Part of His sweetness is how He invites us to be gentle on ourselves, take care of ourselves, and rest. We cannot do the things He is calling us to do when we are depleted. We cannot dance our dance when our instruments are fatigued. But when we tend to our souls and take care of our instruments, our art flourishes.
So as I let you go now, I am praying that you feel relief to be gentle on yourself, to take care of yourself, and to tend to your soul so that you can flourish! I would love to hear what that might look like for you today.
Blessings, rest, relief, and encouragement,