Invest in yourself.
These were the only words written on a page of notes my son wrote at a youth event.
I focused on these lone words and paid attention because I’ve been pondering this exact phrase recently.
I think the tendency for many of us is to focus on investing solely in our families or others at the expense of ourselves. The money we spend on youth sports, the time we give sitting at recitals and tryouts, the hours we spend taxiing our kids to their friend’s house, their job, or next activity. The time we give serving in all areas we are needed. The hours we spend cleaning or organizing to invest in a warm, comfortable environment. The time we spend meal planning, preparing meals. The hours we spend at a teen’s bedside talking that we’d plan to spend asleep. All of these daily duties play a role in investing in the lives of the ones we love most.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
May we not grow weary. May we not lose focus and hope. May we also see the value in the investment of ourselves. Because others deserve the best version of us we have to offer.
Investing in ourselves isn’t selfish. It’s life-giving to everyone we encounter.
The temptation in this culture is to wear the busy badge and play the martyr mom or wonder woman role. The one where we give all we have and run ourselves into the ground as a sacrificial offering. While this may look noble for 5 minutes, the long-term effects aren’t so noble.
How is there time to invest in ourselves when life is so demanding? How can we squeeze in one more thing?
This is where I’ve been camping out recently. For me, I’ve found it means letting go of a few things. Some of those “things” are actually expectations. I may simply not be able to do all the things I want to the level I want. I’m learning to be okay with less in order that I have the energy for the things that matter most.
Last year I shared about my journey through a stomach ulcer. This was a major wake up call to me. What I learned is that my physical body will break down if I don’t care for my total body – physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
I invest in taking care of my car because it’s paid for, and I want it to last for as many years as I can get out of it. I invest in caring for my house because I want it to offer to our family and others the best it can. I take care of my family because I love them and want to see them flourish in life. Why would I not think investing in my own well-being is as important as investing in anything else I invest in?
Our Heavenly Father’s heart is that we love ourselves, children of the King, seeing our worth in Him as so valuable that we invest in caring for ourselves because we know how loved we are. Caring for ourselves is critical if we desire to care for others.
Before I share 5 ways to invest in yourself, I may need to share with you why you are worth the investment of both time and money.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9
You are worth the investment because you are:
- a child of the King
- created in the image of God
- loved enough that He sent His Son to die for you.
- His prized possession. A holy treasure.
How do you handle the things in your life you deem as special and valuable? Probably with extreme care. You might even spend money on taking care of them so they last.
So the why is simply because He says you are worth it! And then – so you can be poured out for the greater work of the Kingdom.
5 Ways to invest in yourself
Pay money for something you believe will be good for you.
Do something that is totally fun and not one bit productive.
Change one habit today that will benefit your physical health. Commit to 30 days.
Invest in time with people with no agenda other than community and companionship.
Add one spiritual discipline.
Here’s the breakdown:
1- Pay money for something that you believe will be good for you. Pay actual real dollars. Why? Because it holds value and when we pay our hard earned dollars for something, we are more likely to treat it seriously.
What could you pay money for? Well, is there a talent you want to develop? A craft? A hobby? Something for your profession?
I paid actual real money investing in myself over the last few months. I’m taking an online course to learn all things Pinterest in order to learn how to use it effectively in sharing my writing and my shop. I paid actual real money to join a writer’s membership site because I want to grow in the areas of writing, marketing, and entrepreneurship I feel stuck in.
Typically, I wouldn’t spend the money on myself in these areas. But I began feeling God’s leading in these areas and realized how quick I am to pay for my children to get better in a sport or hobby or anything they love.
2- Do something that is totally fun and not one bit productive. Seems hardly an investment but it actually is. Doing something simply because you enjoy it helps you to experience rest and joy in doing what you love. We often neglect ourselves from having fun because we take ourselves too seriously.
One way I’ve been doing this is by reading fiction. Reading is something I love and is totally fun to me, yet it seems to be the thing I’ll never take time for. However, recently I’ve heard the boys remind me to take some time to read. They see I am a better mom when I’ve taken even a brief time out from chasing life to simply sit and enjoy it.
This is an investment in a time out of sorts for ourselves. Time out from the seriousness of life in order that we find the fun and lovely again. Investing in our souls.
3- Change one habit today that will benefit your physical health. Commit to 30 days.
- Replace one can of soda with a glass of water
- If you don’t exercise, add walking 3 mornings a week
- Eliminate desserts and sweets
- Add in an extra vegetable everyday.
The options here are limitless. No matter where we are on this journey, we can all make one small adjustment today that will invest in our physical bodies. Often this requires dollars spent for me. When I invest in healthy supplements or healthier food options or a gym membership, I feel held accountable to stewarding that investment well.
4- Invest in time with people with no agenda other than community and companionship. Simply be with a friend.
- Invite one friend or several friends over for coffee.
- Call a friend on the phone and have a catch up conversation.
- Invite a friend to walk with you.
I often hear people say they don’t have time for friends or to simply go to coffee with another person. In other cultures, investing in relationships is priority over productivity.
We were created by a relational God to be in relationships with others. We were not created to be productivity machines who could create the perfect life and keep up with all the increasing demands. Yet, that is the temptation in today’s culture.
Open your home, invite someone in, invite someone out. Just go be with someone. Invest time (and potentially dollars) in building deep, meaningful relationships.
5- Add one spiritual discipline. Commit for 30 days.
- Do you struggle to pray regularly? Set an alarm. Add in even just one minute. Starting starts somewhere. Don’t focus on where you start. Just start. It’ll change your life and become 2nd nature.
- Do you read your Bible daily? Wake up 10 minutes early. Read for 5 minutes.
- Scripture memory. Write a verse on a card. Keep it nearby and read it a few times a day. Tape it to the mirror or the car dash.
- Never fasted? Choose one meal once a week to fast from.
Each of these 5 things, when added in, will invest in our total lives for the better of everyone we intersect our lives with. Investing in ourselves is worth it.
We are valuable to our Father. He knows every hair on our head. He cares deeply and tenderly for us. To invest in caring for ourselves is simply aligning with the way our Father thinks of us. We are a holy treasure. Therefore, we should handle with the best care.
When we begin to care for ourselves by investing well, we offer the best of us to the world. One step at a time we impact the world for good.
|If you find yourself wanting to invest in your spiritual growth, I have something I think can help you along that path. In the writing and recording of Illuminate, I can’t tell you how much God has grown me. Spending 14 days focusing on who He is completely changed how I view every situation I find myself in.
Now when fear speaks too loudly, I’ve practiced for 14 days turning my heart and mind back to who He is. Fear shrinks. When anxiety threatens to take me down, I’ve practiced for 14 days laying down my worries and remembering the magnitude of God.
Illuminate is a 14 day audio devotion, with transcripts, with the goal of creating in you the spiritual discipline of renewing your mind. It’s practicing the art of remembrance of who God is by the light of His Word, no matter what storms of life may blow our way.
It’s gentle and kind to your soul. It’s 10 minutes or less a day. It’s yours forever. At the end of 14 days, you may find you are ready to start again with another 14 days. It’s $10 that you are more than worth. It’s one small way you can invest in yourself spiritually.
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