Who’s Got You?

Who’s Got You?

As a child of the ’80s, I have fond memories of Christopher Reeve as Superman. Though the first movie was released the year I was born, I can still remember the thrill of watching this dreamy superhero swoop in and save the day.

One of my favorite exchanges from that movie is when Lois Lane is falling out of a building, I think, and Superman flies up and catches her.

“Easy, miss,” he says. “I’ve got you.”

A panicked Lois looks down and asks, “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?”

Superman flashes her that swoony smile and a love story was born. (For Lois and women everywhere.)

I love that Lois was not exactly comforted by Superman’s statement. She’d probably never met someone with superpowers before and couldn’t understand how she was being carried through the air by another person who was not being carried by something–or someone–else.

It didn’t make sense, humanly speaking.

Of course, Superman wasn’t exactly human.

Which makes me wonder why I try to be superhuman sometimes.

I’ve been a wife for eight years and a mom for seven and I’m just now starting to learn the importance of taking care of myself. I have spent years sacrificing myself–my physical and mental health, especially–for my family. I don’t say that to brag because it’s nowhere near as noble as it sounds. Sacrifice, itself, isn’t bad, but when it becomes destructive, there’s a problem.

Sacrifice is meant to be a good and holy purpose, not something that beats us down. Jesus said his burden is easy and his yoke is light. I have felt neither easy nor light in bearing these burdens of taking care of others. I have simply felt worn.

Late last year, I had a physical exam at my doctor’s office, the first in many, many years. I have high blood pressure, now regulated by medication. A few months later, I started seeing a therapist for anxiety and depression. More than six months have passed since I started making these changes, and I can tell you that my heart for serving, my capacity for taking care of others has grown.

I used to think it was selfish to take care of myself.

Now I know better. Or I’m starting to.

Somehow, the more I take care of myself, the more I have to give.

Slathering a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate hazelnut spread (or drinking that extra cup of coffee) and staying up way too late reading seems like a good idea at 10 p.m., but morning usually tells a different story. As much as comfort foods feel good in the moment, I never feel better than when I’m putting good things into my body. When I’m exercising and taking care to drink more water than coffee, I have more energy. Go figure.

I’ve been trying to be Superman this whole time, telling people “I’ve got you” all the while wondering “who has me?”

The truth is I’m only human (shocker, I know) and I can’t go around saving everyone else if I’m not taking care of myself. And it doesn’t just affect my family but my church and friends, too. When I’m taking care of myself, I find myself more interested in others’ struggles, more willing to enter a season of pain or struggle or grief and help them shoulder it.

Bear each others’ burdens. The Bible says that, too. So when I’m running around trying to save everyone else, I need to ask myself, “Who’s got you?”

Maybe it’s my husband. Maybe it’s a friend or a group of friends. Maybe it’s me having my own back by taking better care of myself. Or a combination of all of the above.

Maybe it’s as simple as telling God, “I need You. I can’t do this alone.”

If you find yourself playing superhero to those around you, please, do yourself a favor and ask the question: “Who’s got you?” And if the answer isn’t clear, take the time to take care of yourself, however you need to.

You’ll be in a better position to help others if you take care of you. There’s nothing selfish about that.

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Lisa Bartelt About Lisa Bartelt

Lisa has been writing stories for more than a decade, first for newspapers and now as a freelancer, blogger and budding novelist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Read more at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.

Comments

  1. Nothing selfish at all! Smart self care, Lisa. Thank you for pointing this out. As women we take care of everything but ourselves sometimes.

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  2. Janet K. Brown says:

    Good thought, Lisa. Yes, we do need to take care of ourselves. If we don’t, we’re not good for anyone on our list. It’s easy to forget.

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  3. Thanks, Cherie! I just wish I’d learned it sooner. 🙂

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  4. Thanks, Janet! I’m really seeing this for the first time in my life, so yes, it’s very important.

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