Happy New Year sweet friends!
Yes, I totally know 2016 is actually almost 2 weeks old at this point, but after spending all of December traveling, and then launching my small group guide and Be You and Love It, and then getting totally sick as my body rebelled against all of the craziness, I asked New Years Day to hang on a few extra weeks. Ever the gentleman, it obliged.
So finally ready to begin 2016, I started my day at my new favorite coffee shop reflecting on last year and planning for this one.
One of the biggest questions I asked and answered this morning was, “What’s the biggest lesson you learned in 2015?”
And that’s what I want to share with you today.
I want to share with you the biggest lesson I learned in 2015—a life-changing lesson I learned while on massage table in Cambodia.
A few months ago I went to Cambodia on a bloggers trip with World Vision. When they asked me to go, it took me about 4 seconds to say a rousing, “Um… YES! Of course!” It was my first time going back to a country I visited on the World Race, and I jumped at the chance.
When I got on the flight for the first leg of our journey, I was feeling pretty cocky about the whole jet-lag thing. I’m a seasoned traveler, after all.
But more than 24 hours later when we finally arrived, I was singing a different tune.
I was bleary-eyed and desperately tired. I could have slept on a park bench and stayed there for days. I would have done it gladly.
Even after a full night sleep, I still didn’t feel great. I knew I needed more rest, especially because I was there to write, and when I’m tired, I’m about as creative as a slab of concrete.
Blessedly, the only thing on our agenda that first day was to rest, and I was planning on taking full advantage. That was, until I talked to the rest of the team and heard that they wanted to go sightseeing instead.
The second I heard their plans, my heart sank.
I instantly had FOMO (fear of missing out), especially when I suggested that I might rest, and someone shot back with my least favorite, most FOMO-inducing phrase, “You’re only in Cambodia once!”
“That’s not true! I’ve been here before!” I wanted to shout, irrational and a bit mean in my jet-lag. But I thought better of it.
After breakfast everyone went to their rooms to gather their things for their day on the town, and I flopped down on my bed with what felt like a huge decision to make.
I knew I needed to rest. I was positive I needed to rest.
But just as strong was the tug to go with the team. Sure, I’d been to that market before, I’d seen the sights they were going to see. But I was afraid they’d think I was weak, or lazy, or not a team player if I stayed behind.
On any other day, I would have gone, but my responsibilities as a writer tugged a little bit harder. I knew if I didn’t rest, I wouldn’t be able to write a word. And so with as much faux-confidence as I could drum up, I told them I was going to stay behind.
And as soon as they were out the door, I headed straight to the hotel’s little spa to get a massage.
(Travelers Tip: If you ever find yourself in Cambodia, I highly recommend getting a massage. It’s about $20 for 90-minutes. You just can’t beat that—especially after 24 hours of traveling!)
As I laid there, my face squished into the leather circle of the massage table, the sweetest woman working magic on my back, I knew I’d made the right decision. But it wasn’t just the right decision for that moment, I realized. It was bigger than that.
By taking the time to rest and rejuvenate, I was investing in my very best asset. Here’s what I mean…
I’m a writer, which means my mind and my heart are my very best tools to do the work God created me to do. They’re my “moneymaker” (the silly term that popped into my head during that massage).
It’s the same as a surgeon’s hands, or a football player’s body, or a scientist’s mind. These are the things that allow us to do what we were created to do, to contribute the best of what we have to the world.
My mind and my heart are my greatest tools, yet I rarely take care of them. (I bet I’m not the only one!)
I prioritize my to-do list over my heart, productivity over soul, and how much I can get done over doing it healthfully — exhausted, worn down, brittle, who cares? In the moment it seems like the right thing to do, the responsible thing, the hard-working thing, but what it really does is wear down the thing I need the very most to do the job I love so much.
That day I learned a lesson that I know I’ll carry with me for years.
In our relationships, in our marriages, in our friendships, as moms, as employees, as business owners, as volunteers, as missionaries, whatever your thing is — you can’t do it unless you’re taking care of yourself. And neither can I.
Getting a massage that day was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I took an intentional step to take care of my best assets, and it made all the difference.
I was able to write that week, was able to contribute the way I hoped to contribute. I was able to use my words to share how God is using World Vision in the beautiful country of Cambodia because I took that time to take care of my moneymaker. And I can’t imagine what could happen if I made that a habit.
This is hard, strange work. It’s really hard to say, “I’m getting a massage,” confidently, instead of feeling ashamed that we’re not working during that time instead. It’s really hard to justify taking a nap instead of checking a few more things off the list — even when the only person we’re justifying it to is ourselves.
But we have to do this work. We have to figure out what it is our minds, and our hearts, and our bodies need to be able to be their very best, and we have to give them those things.
Because we’ll be better, our work will be better, our relationships will be better, and our contribution to the world and God’s kingdom will be better if we do.
This is my challenge for myself in 2016. I’m going to take better care of my moneymaker!
What about you? What keeps you from taking care of yourself? What are some ways you could take care of your moneymaker, and how would your life and work look different if you did? Pop your thoughts in the comments below! I can’t wait to hear!
P.S. I’m planning on blogging much more this coming year, and I’m SO excited about it! Click here and subscribe and I’ll make sure to send new posts your way!