Parenting has changed me! Some of the things I was against as a child, I now advocate as a parent.  One such thing is eating vegetables.  Like many children, I usually found eating vegetables detestable.  It took pushing, prodding, bribing, and sometimes spanking to get me to finish the green, nasty stuff on my plate.  However, as a parent, I find myself blessed to be burdened with the responsibility of taking care of my child.  Instinctually, I want the very best for my son, and taking care of him means working towards his intellectual, spiritual, and physical flourishing.  And, yes, this has meant me becoming an advocate for vegetables.  Now I must be honest, I may not be blazing any advocacy trails when it comes to vegetables, but I have done my share of insisting, demanding, and yes bribing so that Bryce will eat his vegetables.  I have flipped the script, because I simply understand and accept the truth of that tired and overused cliché that my parents ran in the ground, “vegetables may not be good to you, but they are good for you.”  In order to take care of Bryce, I must occasionally make him do things he doesn’t want to do.

Interestingly enough, this aspect of what it means to take care of someone is often lost on me when it comes to taking care of myself.  When adults talk about taking care of ourselves, our minds go to our need to take a vacation, get some rest, or make time to be pampered.  True, many of us could use some time to do these things, but I am realizing that there is an aspect of taking care of ourselves that we often miss. Just as I must make my son eat his literal vegetables while taking care of him, I must make myself eat my vegetables to take care of myself.  No, I am not talking about broccoli, asparagus, or brussels sprouts, though I could probably use some catching up on those as well.  I am talking about doing those things that are not good to me, but are good for me.  The truth of the matter is plenty of us are guilty of not eating our vegetables.

When we don’t eat our vegetables, we suffer from malnutrition.  Our bodies suffer, our dreams wilt, and a gap widens between what we can be and what we are.  Right now, so many of us are not taking care of ourselves because we are not willing to press through and do the things in life that don’t feel good to us, but make all the difference in our growth, progress, and success.  So many of us won’t work the extra hours, stop eating the unhealthy foods, let go of the toxic relationships, skip some of the night life, make ourselves do the exercise, or commit to our intentional spiritual development because to do so doesn’t feel good.  In other words, we are not taking care of ourselves.  The difference in where we are, where we want to be, and where God would have us to be, is lying in our ability to sacrifice what tastes good, feels good, and sounds good for what will be good for our life.  So, I pray that we can begin to Love ourselves enough to suck it up, hold our nose, close our eyes, take a deep breath, and eat our vegetables.

Humbly in Christ’s, Love,

B.A. Jackson