Parents must take time to care for themselves, or they may just find themselves running in circles, or running on empty.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. I Corinthians 6:10-20
In the past few weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about good habits and Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of High Effective People. His 7th and final habit is sharpening the saw.
Covey illustrates this habit with a story.
Suppose you came upon someone in the woods trying to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“I’m sawing down this tree!” he replies.
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim.
“I’ve been at it 5 hours and I’m beat!” he says.
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you ask. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the person says. “I’m too busy sawing!”
Habit #7 simply means that you take the time to “sharpen the saw” by caring for yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally/socially.
As parents, it’s very easy to be so busy sawing that we don’t take time here and there to sharpen the saw. Yet a balanced renewal in these four areas will make us better “saw-ers”–better parents, better spouses, better co-workers, better bosses, better coaches.
If you see someone who looks exhausted and like he or she is running in circles, not getting much accomplished, it could be that they have not taken the time to care for themselves.
Physically: Make time to exercise. Get creative.
Spiritually: Regularly reflect on what inspires you, the core values that motivate you.
Mentally: Refuse to let your mind atrophy by watching too much netflix or sports. Look for ways to challenge your thinking: reading, writing, organizing, planning, or trying a new hobby or skill.
Socially/Emotionally: Remember that you need to fill your own tank with good friendships and people that let you know you are loved. Kids are not the only ones who need love, appreciation, and BFFs.
Take the time to sharpen your own saw so that you will not grow a very dull and ineffective blade, lessoning your influence and impact on people around you.
Take some time this week to map out how you can be sure you are sharpening your saw physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally/socially.