The thin line

A morning to sleep in? A massage?  Sitting outside drinking coffee? A long run?

This line I straddle, the one between self-care and self-indulgence, is a fine line. I’m naturally a self-indulger. All the movies, all the books, all the rest, all the treats, all the special.  If left to myself, I’d live firmly planted on the self-indulgence side and not feel too bad about it.

My best friend though? She naturally fights to straddle a different line—the thin one between self-sacrifice and self-care. Driven, competent, capable. She’s had to lay it all out there since she was a kid and has seen the benefits of hard work so much that it’s second nature now.

brick wall line

We’ve come to see that it’s really the same line, called self-care. It’s so easy to tip to one side or the other. Don’t get me wrong. We both can dance on each side of that line but that dance has taken years to learn. And just when I think I’ve got it down pat, life changes and I’ve got two left feet.

For a while now, I’ve found myself in her camp- I’ve been pushed to learn to live in the self-sacrifice space. Kids will do that, won’t they? It’s good, it’s right, it’s necessary. But I’m feeling stuck on this side. I can’t seem to find my way back to the self-care balance, and my well-worn path to self-indulgence is calling my name.

And it’s tricky, honestly. The same exact experience can be labeled self-care of self-indulgence depending on my heart. Am I taking care of myself by working out, or am I indulging? Well, that depends. What about a couple of hours alone in a coffee shop? Again, it just depends.

thin line

So for now, I’m trying to be more aware. Where am I on the dance floor? Am I stuck? What do I need? What do my people need? What am I called to do? What are my responsibilities?

There’s just so much junk out there being called “self-care” that really reeks of entitlement and indulgence to me. “You deserve it”. Please. What do I honestly “deserve”? At the same time, there are so many people out there who are weary, exhausted and trying to keep slogging away who just need a minute to catch their breath.

So if you are out there fighting towards self-care, from either side of the line, what’s working for you? How do you decide what you need versus what you want?

2 Replies to “The thin line”

  1. It is so hard! I’m a worker bee. But I’m often working without looking to Jesus to recharge me. But I’m working at taking moments to let him fill me. And also trying to take time to read a book, take a bath, take a slow walk without the kids, to relax. Still haven’t found perfect balance and likely won’t till heaven!


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