I haven’t done a lot of preserving of food in my life. In fact the last time I did preserve was peaches only a week before my youngest daughter’s birth (yes lots of energy and nesting).
Preserving vegetables or fruit is a way to keep the food for a long period in order to have it in the future, to protect it from rotting or going bad.
How do we self-preserve? As humans at the primal level we are wired to preserve ourselves- fight or flight, a moment when we either need to physically protect ourselves or/and when we are protecting our emotions which may be fear-based emotions.
I would say for those of living in first world (as opposed to the third world filled many times with life-threatening situations), we are not trying to preserve our life from wild animals or starvation. But constantly we are preserving our emotional situations from being attacked or wounded.
Self-giving is an act of love and compassion for ourselves. It is a loving act of recognizing we are human with needs that are important to us thriving. It’s not a narcissistic motivation or a self-absorption. That falls in the category of self-preservation. Self-giving might have a motivation of protection- removing oneself from a toxic environment. If someone is yelling at my child, I will immediately remove them from the presence of this person to protect my child. As adults however, if we were not given care, we may subject ourselves to toxic or unsafe situations or people.
Does giving then grow out of self-care? It can and cannot. Sometimes giving is the gateway to caring for oneself.
Giving has different motivations and forms. But usually giving stems from a concern or a love for the person or cause. We just celebrated Mother’s Day this past Sunday. Have you ever wondered why it is always on a Sunday? I think it’s because it is a Biblical based observing of rest. And we know Mothers need rest!
Most Mothers live a life of giving-their love, their devotion to the cause of parenting, and willing to sacrifice their own personal needs for that of her offspring. And they may not do a lot of self-caring in Mother mode, but their hearts grow and their understanding usually grow as a result of caring for others. But is really important for Mothers to take the time for self-care.
If you look at the spiritual leaders through time, they all spent time in self-care, meditation, praying and setting time apart to find rest and refreshment for their souls.
Jesus pulled away from the crowds desiring self-care, to be still and hear God’s voice and direction, to be filled with the glory of God. And in his final hour as a human, he sought God out to ensure crucifixion was necessary. Perhaps this is when self-preservation kicked in for Jesus. And yet, he was willing, more willing than dying a horrible death, to listen to the real reason and truth of what his death would yield, the impact it would make on the world.
It says in John 17 that Jesus prayed for himself first and then for the disciples. He also left the crowds pulling on him to heal. Many times he would leave one crowd to go to another village because God spoke to him to minister to others. A hard thing to do if the present crowd still has needs. John 17, Mark 1:35, Matthew 5
God is love. Self-giving is giving God to ourselves; it is seeking the spiritual restoration of our hearts. And this form of self-giving is a way for us to give freely from a place of love and not from a place of preservation. If the time of reflecting or praying or meditating does not result in Love pouring into our hearts and outward to others, then self-preservation is hiding somewhere and keeping you from trusting the source.
These are just my thoughts, my impressions of my own spiritual walk and journey in life. You may have a different view point- which is a great platform for discussion and contemplation.
After I preserved my peach marmalade, I kept some for for my family and me to enjoy. And the rest I gave away to friends- a gesture of my love and appreciation. So could you also call preservation of food a form of self-caring and caring for other?. I don’t think so! But self-caring and caring are results of preserving the good of God in ourselves and others.
My prayer for myself and for you is that you are flooded with the love of God and self-caring will naturally follow!
Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul. Love yourself as you love your neighbors.