This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking to a beautiful group of women in Indiana. The flight over was smooth, the hotel room, peaceful and quiet, and the event a joy. I was having such a wonderful time and then I decided to up and do something wholly unexpected and completely out of character.
(Hint: it involves giving up cheesecake and setting my alarm for an obscene hour of the morning. See?)
I speak a lot about self care at events such as this one — what it looks like in different seasons, how we can carve out time for restoring our souls and bodies, and why “self care” is not a bad thing but rather, a God-given duty.
When you think and speak about a subject so often it’s easy assume, mistakenly, that you have a pretty firm grasp on the topic. You probably don’t know everything, of course, but there aren’t any huge surprises left to discover.
Silly me. How could I have forgotten that one of the best things about God is that he never stops surprising us? And presenting us with opportunities to surprise ourselves?
Which I did in a really big way this past Saturday.
There aren’t too many flights out of Evansville, Indiana so when I booked this trip, I chose a flight that left in the afternoon on Sunday (because I sure as heck wasn’t going to take the flight that left at 6 AM while pregnant and on the cusp of my 3rd trimester).
After the event ended on Saturday, I stopped by Fresh Market and stocked up on delicious things to eat, requested late checkout from the hotel, put on my pajamas, climbed into my bed, turned on HGTV, and prepared to enjoy my quiet evening.
Instead, I started to cry. And cry. And then I cried some more. Right into my delicious mini cheesecake.
At first I felt really, really guilty about this. What kind of pregnant mom of seven receives the gift of almost 24 hours of peace and quiet in a hotel room and then starts to cry about it? What kind of ungrateful person does that when their husband is at home watching seven kids by himself so that she can have this break? But cry I did. Why? Because, in that moment, I wanted nothing more in the entire world than to be back home with my family.
I tried so hard to force myself to savor the evening, I really did, but I just couldn’t get there. So, instead, I sent Dan a text message telling him that I wanted to come home and was thinking of trying to switch my seat to the 6 AM flight. To this, he wisely replied (knowing how I feel about early mornings):
“Woah…that sounds extremely painful for you, dear.”
And he wasn’t wrong — extremely might have even been an understatement — but still, I wanted to try.
I didn’t think it would be possible. We don’t have room in the budget for huge change fees and rate adjustments and I have never, in all my years of travel, tried to change a flight without there being a fee attached. In fact, it was stated clearly on the website and on my ticket, that to change my flight would cost no less than $200 (which we didn’t have to spare).
But I blew my nose and said a prayer and called them up anyway. The kind customer agent who took my call clicked a few keys, put me on hold, and then said, “There will be no cost associate with this change. Would you like me to find you a seat on the 6 AM flight?”
(Which he probably regrets now because I replied by crying loudly and thanking him effusively over and over and over again.)
So, I gratefully accepted my little miracle, said goodbye to my night of binge watching “reality” television, put down the snacks, set my alarm for 3:45 AM (I know, I know, I am a crazy person), and I went to sleep. The next morning I drove to the airport before the sun rose and flew home.
I was exhausted and nauseous and shaky…and had not a single regret.
I love hotel rooms. I love snacks. I love late checkouts and sleeping in. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you that all of these things are the first thing I think of when I think of self-care. But this past weekend, self care looked like giving all of that up and coming home to my crazy (see attached photo) family. It looked like getting up early instead of sleeping in. It looked like eating a stale breakfast at the airport rather than a fresh one at the hotel. It looked like being exhausted instead of well-rested. It looked like cooking dinner and tucking little ones into bed instead of reading quietly on a plane.
It looked like everything my heart needed in that moment.
When you practice self care (and I hope you do and will), leave room for surprises. Leave room for what you need to look nothing like what you thought you wanted. And leave room for God to whisper, “Put down that cheescake, say goodbye to Joanna Gaines, and come with me. I have a flight waiting for you.”