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Are you taking good care of yourself?

- Practice, Practice, Practice

That is what a friend asked me when I was feeling completely overwhelmed in my work. I was just starting out as a Christian Science practitioner, and every call for help felt like a heavyweight responsibility. (Practitioners are dedicated to helping others through prayer. It involves a full-time commitment to be ready and available to pray at any hour.) On the day I called my friend, I had received two early morning requests for prayer within minutes of each other, and I freaked out. I hadn’t really gotten down to praying for the first one before the second call came in. I have to admit that when the friend asked me, “Michelle, are you taking good care of yourself?” I wanted to hit her with the phone! Who was she kidding? Take care of myself? I had people to pray for, beds to make, clothes to wash, and I hadn’t even had time to brush my teeth!

Grumbling, I went into the bathroom to try to pull myself together. As I looked at my desperate face in the mirror, I thought, “I have so much to do. How do I take care of myself?” In a flash, a thought came: “You can take better care of yourself if you are ‘instant in season, out of season’ [see II Timothy 4:2] and if you ‘pray without ceasing’ [see I Thessalonians 5:17]!”

I suddenly realized why I felt so stressed. When I received the first call, I looked at the problem as a terrible condition that my personal prayer was going to handle. I took it on as a responsibility, a weight, and a reality. Not yet feeling up to the job, I dragged that “terrible reality” down the hall to make the bed, figuring I would pray about it in a bit when my chores were done and I could better concentrate. Then the second call came, and I had two “miserable realities” to contend with through prayer.

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