Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Despite the title, this is not a post about faith.  Although, of course, it is faith related.  The focus of this post is actually stewardship.

Stewardship has been a buzzword in my life these past few years. Something I keep coming back to, something that reaches into more and more parts of my life.  See, I firmly believe that God calls us to be good stewards. And I’m not just talking about finances. Stewardship also includes how we make use of our time, our gifts, our skills, our resources and our bodies.

And even though it’s been a thought, a focus – a goal even – these past few years, where I struggle most with stewardship is in relation to my body. My health. Including my fibromyalgia. Knowing when to push and when to “give in” to its demands. Being disciplined about proper nourishment and exercise. Knowing how to react and treat during pains, flares and other issues.  I’ve struggled with that greatly.  I tend to either ignore what my fibro-ridden body needs and end up making myself sicker or I shrink back from doing or trying anything, giving into all its finicky demands.

A few weeks back, sitting in church (though I can not remember now when or what caused this), it suddenly occurred to me that I need to treat my body like a child.  A small child.  Sometimes even a baby.

For those who know me personally, you may laugh.  I don’t have kids at this point.  In fact, I’ve only ever babysat twice in my thirty-one years (and one was quite the story)!  But I’ve seen and picked up a few things nonetheless. I would be an unobservant idiot or an inattentive friend had I not.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Babies and small children can be demanding.  They demand attention and cry for what they want.  It is the parents job to give them what they need – food, shelter, clothing, clean diapers and an appropriate amount of love and attention.  In the same way, our bodies (especially those with health issues) can be demanding.  We need to give our bodies the attention and care they need.
  • Babies and small children can throw fits for what they want, even to the point of making themselves sick.  But good parents know that they cannot always give into the child because not everything the child demands is actually needed.  In the same way, our bodies can be quite demanding and even seemingly get worse when we do not give in.  But we must discern what our bodies truly need and only provide that.
  • Babies and small children have to learn to do things they don’t like – like eating vegetables or sharing toys or taking turns or being patient during car rides and so on.  But good parents know there are some things that children must learn and they have to be firm about the child learning it.  In the same way, our bodies don’t always like when we do with/for them certain things – like avoiding excess sugars and fats and exercising.  In fact, our bodies can crave sugars, give us headaches (and other symptoms) if we try to break away from caffeine (or other addictions) and ache and hurt when we exercise.  But we must discipline our bodies anyway…
  • Babies and small children let you know when something is wrong, although they cannot always articulate exactly what it is.  A baby with an earache is mostly just fussy and school-age kids often complain of tummy-aches when it’s actually stress at school.  Good parents come to recognize and watch for the types of cries and underlying symptoms and reasons (and/or seek a doctor’s help).  They get the child the proper rest, medicine or treatment that he or she needs, rather than ignoring or pushing the child through.  In the same way, sometimes our bodies really do have times they need rest, attention or treatment and we have to learn to discern what it needs and then provide it.

Now please don’t think I’m naive and under the impression that parenting is easy.  It’s not.  Parents of a newborn can’t distinguish cries right away.  It takes time.  There’s a learning curve.  And I also know that each child is different.  Even down to the way they react and try to convey when something is wrong.  One baby may pull on his ear when it aches, another may turn or tilt her head in a funny way.  It’s a process of getting to know your child and then reacting as a good parent to supply what is needed and when.

And I think that’s the good news!  There is no pat formula for how to be a good steward of your body – one that says “ignore it to control it” or one that says “always listen and submit.”  No, it’s like parenting.  And it can take some time to get the hang of – and even then you may make mistakes – but that’s no reason to give up!  Just as God entrusts parents with children, so we are entrusted with our bodies – and they are built and wired differently.

So I am taking a new approach to being a good steward of my body.  Working on discerning my body’s true needs from what it often wants or thinks it needs.  No pat answers. No easy way out.  But I have a new frame of mind now when dealing with my fibromyalgia-ridden, sugar-sensitive body.  And I want to be a good parent.

Speaking of which, it’s past my child’s bedtime!

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