Teaching Kindergarten taught me many important lessons. One memorable lesson was that “Art Requires Stuff.” In order to create and be effective in the process of creating, one must have what one needs.
The kids figured out quickly that I was a newbie and took full advantage of this knowledge. When “art time” arrived, they helped me to understand that they couldn’t possibly perform the creative tasks I’d instructed because they simply didn’t have the proper materials.
With the freedom to pilfer through the art closet, I discovered a great menagerie of art supplies. Glue sticks, glitter (SO MUCH GLITTER), sequins, buttons… the art cabinet vomited everywhere and I’m not sure the classroom was ever the same. I gave the school janitor a really nice gift card for Christmas that year—and the school custodian is probably still picking glitter out of the carpet.
“Art requires Stuff.” It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. But now, as a therapist, the mediums of art have changed and hence the materials needed to create. Relationships, Communication, Conflict resolution all have become types of art that I work on creating with my clients.
One especially difficult kind of art that I see many people struggle with is the art of self-care. Like all forms of art, self-care requires stuff. The stuff of self-care includes the following:
Balance, Boundaries, Behaviors, and Beliefs
Each material needed serves its own purpose in the process of operating in self-care.
Balance—the ability to manage “all the things” in a way that we are not constantly feeling guilty about the balls we are dropping while keeping the other 5 (or twenty-five) balls juggling in the air. We need to trust in the Lord to lead us in the way that we should go and set our priority list straight—day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute—according to His agenda rather than our own.
Boundaries—the ability to “just say no,” even to good things, in a Jesus kind of way. Not being led by anything or anyone other than the Holy Spirit, especially not by fear or even logic. Understanding the importance of times and seasons and the fact that there is only so much we have to offer at any one time.
Behaviors—bossing ourselves around with intentional and purposeful blocks of times and activities that fill us up so that we can, in turn, be used by God to pour out. Never being ashamed to ask ourselves the question: “Where am I and what do I need?”
Beliefs—understanding that self-care is not selfishness, but responsible stewardship of the energy, resources and gifts our Heavenly Father has placed within us.
As we become more skilled in the art of self-care the great artist of our heart is faithful to continue to transform us into the beautiful creation, He created us to be.