I spend my day caring for everyone in my house—sometimes even for a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger. At the end of the day, I’m just invisible and exhausted. There is no time for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. I love caring for others. It makes me feel valued and wanted. Even on a bad day, I still feel special and important. It’s worth it to put myself on the back burner for a while. It’s okay to take care of everyone else but me. It’s just a season—a season when I am invisible. There isn’t much credit in my job, but there is the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing it.
But I slowly become too tired to get up early for my quiet time and too tired to get in that ten minutes of exercise I promised myself.
The kids were so hungry today that I scraped my own plate onto theirs so they would have plenty to eat. So I missed lunch. But that’s okay because when we were out running errands, I picked up a Snickers and a Coke. That was good. It kept me full enough that I wouldn’t hurt anyone. It’s worth it to me to skip a meal so that my kids can have plenty to eat. I never loved anything more than I love them. I would give everything that I have for them.
Oh, these jeans—they are a little bit too snug. Maybe I just go up one size. The pounds have crept on over the years—just a pound here and a pound there. Before I knew it, I didn’t recognize myself in pictures. I would ask people, “Do I really look like that?” and they would always say, “No. Oh, no. That’s not what you look like. You’re much thinner, much smaller.”
Soon enough, I had traded my size 2 figure for a 10. How did that happen? Why did the waist of my jeans look so large? Surely I was not any bigger than my teenager. Was the scale really telling the truth? That would be the heaviest I had ever been without being pregnant. I probably wasn’t that big. But then I asked the littlest voice in the house, and her voice rang in my ear: “When I used to hug you, Mommy, I could wrap my arms all the way around you, but now I can’t touch my fingers!”
Had I taken care of everyone else so well that I forgot about myself? What kind of example had I set for my children—take care of everyone else and never take care of yourself? For fifteen years, I never came up on the list of priorities. Sure, now and then I would go for a run or do an exercise video, P90X, or hit an exercise class. Yet the way I took care of myself, I never completely turned everything I put in my mouth over to God. I just continued to take care of others.
In my own pride and arrogance, I allowed myself to be invisible. I was the one who had no needs, no wants, and no desires. I was holier than thou. I was the perfect mother, set apart, who needed no care—who only needed to be pampered periodically with more rest.
At first I couldn’t figure out why my husband wasn’t pursuing me the way I wanted him to. It didn’t take long, however, to figure out that I wasn’t pursuable any longer. When you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t look your best on the outside, but you don’t feel good on the inside, either.
I found myself becoming more and more exhausted every day. I didn’t have the energy to do anything fun. I would take a nap on a date night. I lacked energy and strength to keep up with the man God created my husband to be. I lacked the ability even to go race-car driving—fun stuff he wanted to do, that would engage him. Instead, I made him enjoy more womanly activities.
When will you choose to stop being invisible?