Busy. That word is sometimes an understatement as it applies to one who spends a majority of their time caring for a loved one. You have acquired the "non-stop, auto pilot mode" and only a very small fraction of those gears in the control panel are devoted to you, the caregiver. Let me help you make a few minor, but much needed adjustments to the cock pit. Helping you fly at optimal performance speeds is the goal. Activating some vital instruments on your flight panel is the objective!
Here is a quick refresher of the first 5 tips;
1). Make Sure the Lord is #1 on Your Daily “To Do” List!
I hope that you've already taken some steps to incorporate these habits into your life. It takes at least 30 days to purge an old habit, and likewise, it will also take 30 days to begin a series of new habits. If you've made a start, keep going! You can do it! Let me point out again that you have undertaken a huge responsibility. In all probability, it is the greatest and most important one of all, "caring for another in their time of need."
Let's review the greatest of the the commandments spoken of by Jesus and recorded by the Gospel writer, Mark. The Pharisees and Sadducees spent a good deal of their time trying to outwit and corner our Lord as He taught the masses. The following verse of scripture is a response given by Jesus when one of the teachers of the law asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
What portion of this scripture grabbed you? More than likely, the admonition to love the Lord above all, as it should be foremost in our hearts and minds at all times. This relationship with our risen Lord is the key to every other aspect of our lives. He provides everything, for (both spiritual and physical needs), and the out-flowing of this relationship with the Lord is our love for others. As a caregiver you see your role of caring for another as part of fulfilling the greatest commandment. Caring for another human being in any form, whether it is your spouse, a child, a friend or even someone you don't particularly get along with, or know well, would also fall into that category of "loving your neighbor." But caring for a loved one who is terminally ill or dying, though it is no different than the aforementioned, does require a deeper level of commitment in both time and resources. In my relatively short time on earth while talking with caregivers who are either employed by hospitals and nursing homes, or are loving children caring for an ailing parent, one underlying characteristic usually makes itself very evident in their lives, and that is their amazing ability to empathize with others. This leads us to the third and final portion of the greatest commandment "loving your neighbor, as yourself."
What is meant by " loving your neighbor, as yourself?" Part of it has to do with placing ourselves in another ones situation in life. Empathetic caregivers can all too easily envision themselves in the position of their sick loved ones. Love one another the way that we ourselves desire to be loved. Who on earth would want to be sick, and on top of that not understood or ignored by others? Our physical needs increase as we lose mobility and proper body functions. Our spiritual needs are just as great as they ever were, even when we display signs of incoherency. Most caregivers are often keenly aware of the needs of their patients and/or loved ones that are usually overlooked by the casual passerby. But there is another important dimension that more than likely did not jump out at you, and that is taking care of "you." Immediately we cringe at the thought!It is right to care forourselves and take those steps to keep ourselves functioning at our best.This verse of scripture has to do with fasting, but it's still applicable in the sense that we are speaking of;
We have all been exposed to those who have no respect for themselves or for others. It's a chore to be around them. In the same respect, knowing who we are in Christ and respecting who we are in Him and taking proper care of ourselves is completely different from being selfish. I could write a whole new article on this point alone, but I'm going to save it for another day. As we practice a right outlook and perspective of ourselves in Christ, we will also love others correctly, the way they need to be loved. Let's practice a few more good habits in order to take care of ourselves.
Here are the 5 Tips & Reminders for Part 2 of Taking Care of the Busy Caregiver, .. YOU!
6). Learn to Forgive Yourself! That's right!
7). Find Someone You Can Trust
9). Devote Some Time to Your Favorite Hobby
10). Be a List Keeper
I'm leaving you with a few more scriptures as I pray that part 2 has been an encouragement to you today!