I grew up in the era of Queen Oprah. Five days a week, Oprah had amazing guests (I remember when Alicia Keys came on as a teenager), gave people makeovers, and talked about social issues that were important to people, especially women. Over and over and often the refrain was that women had no time to take care of themselves, and be themselves. They were too busy caring for others.
As a late teenager turning into an adult, I could not understand what the problem was. “Just do it!” I would think to myself. “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first” as the metaphor goes. I had the gift in that season of being totally preoccupied with myself, serving at my church, shopping, working out, being with my friends, working jobs that I loved and didn’t feel like work. I was young and naïve, and I don’t fault that younger version of myself for it. What an incredible season.
Fifteen-ish years later, I want to call Queen Oprah and say, “I get it now!”
Putting the oxygen mask on myself is hard. My ministry to my family and my church and finishing grad school demands my attention without apology, and I’m more than happy to give it. At the end of the literal and figurative day, the margin for just myself is a very thin sliver that I often don’t have the energy to explore.
In this season, to be a warrior means to choose Me (capitalization intended):
to war against the temptation to keep giving more from a place that is empty and disconnected from God, the very source of life
to war against the guilt that lies to me and says that I should choose to be with my family in every moment I’m not at work
to war against all that is secondary and blocks the way of me recognizing a good emptiness within me that can only be filled with God
to war against choosing chores because I can cross them off my list when I need to check in with myself
I know full well that the best version of myself includes choosing Me even though sometimes I have to pry kids off my legs with their big tears to do so. It’s always worth it in the end.
In this season, being a warrior is saying yes to Me.