Self Care is Not Selfish

When I became an Exit Strategist, I was told that self-care was extremely important. Loved ones close to me were very concerned because I often place work, family and others in front of my own needs. My mentality was always “If I take care of others surely the Lord will take care of me.” I failed to realize that I had to put in effort to take care of myself for the Lord to take care of me.

A few months ago, the hotline continuously rang and I received up to 10 exits a week. The calls kept coming and the stories I heard were extremely heavy. Normally, there would be a break between calls and I could bounce back, but now I could not keep up. I was pouring so much of myself into the hotline and self-care was not important at the time. I became empty very fast and saw myself spiral downhill quickly. I was no longer sleeping and my mental status was in danger. My family saw the shift in me and how I could hardly function. I no longer found joy in my work and my husband started to get very concerned for me.

My prayers quickly became a cry “Lord this is too much… I can’t anymore.” Yet, I would feel guilty for wanting to slow down and thought it would be selfish to speak up. “Taylor, you are helping victims how can you stop?”

One night, I was in my prayer closet debating if this was the job for me. Maybe I am not strong enough for this? I started to cry and really soak into the Lord when he gently said to me “Order.” I thought to myself order? Then it clicked…I was not living in God’s order but the order I thought was right.

As a person on the front-line of sex trafficking we talk about self-sacrifice as becoming more loving, more giving, more compassion and more faithful. But we can forget how important it is to take care of ourselves too. We think when someone needs our help God will value our “Yes” more than our “No” right? But if our “Yes” is empty and not our best than maybe it is better to say “No.”

When I give someone a gift, I pick out something special that will truly bless them not something that’s broken or used. When God called me to this ministry, He wanted my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. He’s calling me to offer my very person as a gift to these survivors. He isn’t suggesting I do a bunch of things for them. His message is for me to offer my whole self, a healthy Taylor, at my very best. That means taking care of myself.

I now realize how self-care is vital in this roll. I prioritize what is good for my Spirit, mind, family and then ministry. I thought it was being selfish, but came to understand that it is wisdom. I make sure my spirit is fed, my mind is at peace and my family is in order. Yes, my life is still hectic with two little boys and a light-hearted husband, but learning balance, order, and how important self-care is makes me able to give the survivors a whole, healthy Taylor.