Loving And Caring– 4 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself
Four Greek Words for Love
Let me tell you about the four Greek words for love that are within the marriage vows–most of them you may know. Agape, phileo, eros, and storge. Storge is in our vows with the words “in sickness and in health.” As one ages and the body deteriorates, this part of love can supersede the other three if the caregiver does not tend to self. The parents of small children have all of these kinds of love as well.
Agape is an unconditional love that is applied with some sacrifice. it is a serving sacrifice, a recognition of the Christ in the spirit of each person. Each human is a carrier of the God-sized hole that only Christ can fill. Your agape actions serve the Christ within; if the beloved is not a Christian, he may see you as a doormat or do-gooder, not a giver of the most precious love of all. Love, anyway. Apply this love to yourself as well. Parents begin this love when taking care so that the best physical health can be passed to their unborn children.
Eros is a worshipping kind of love. We think of erotic love as sexual, but actually when I worship my Savior and regard Him in his true nature, I fall in love–that is eros. We need some of this–a “cherishing” love, forsaking all others, and seeing the beloved as special and set apart. We experience this eros love when we look at our newborn child and fall in love. Every smile, every coo, every “first” is special because of eros.
Phileo–apply liberally to the body of Christ–the brotherly love that sees equality and friendship. This implies in the marriage that the two will be forever friends, best friends. Love that is good-natured, seeking joy in togetherness and in joint purposes is phileo. This love counsels the child and grows him or her to be a grown-up friend.
Storge–caregiving love. I will take care of you when you are well to keep you well; I will take care of you in illness because of storge love. Do you remember the story of the college president who gave up his career to provide personal care for his wife in her later days? Storge–apply to yourself so that you can love others. As a parent, I consider what is in the child’s best interests. What do I want for my child that he or she would want for himself? I want my child to be educated, socialized, able to be independent; I structure in those behaviors that work toward these purposes. I want my child to love Jesus; I model my love; I pray for and with them, take them to church.
How can I agape love if I am worn out physically, spiritually?
My eros love must be reserved for others, not for myself. When someone eroses (totally made up word) you, receive the love as a gift of the highest order, and phileo him or her. If that is your special one, agape in return.
Storge is shown in many acts of service and may be confused with agape, but it requires the lover to be in the best shape, meeting own needs to provide care for others.
My husband is my care-giver/care-partner. I am still strong and independent enough to do many things for myself and do help him with some things. Dressing is easier with his help, and I try not to depend on him in this area unless we are rushed. Putting on shoes is his domain. If I make too many demands on him or his time, I stress him. As his partner, I have to remind him to take care of himself.
I gave my granddaughter my golf clubs. Unfortunately, he might as well give his away because he wants to stay close beside me. He does not leave to pIay; I want him to take the time off, not because I want to be rid of his attention. He needs to laugh more and escape more.
As a caregiver, part of taking care of one’s self may mean being a little selfish and carving out the ‘me’ time that nourishes the spirit. Take care to care for yourself.
Can the mother love the child when overwhelmed with financial needs, spiritual wounds, and physical exhaustion? She may “feel” the love, the eros, but is she in such a state that she cannot serve others in love? Does she lack the resources to phileo or storge?
Call To Action
As I am on a soapbox preaching today, look around at the single parents who need your help. Love them. Love Jesus first, always; then love self and others equally. Help others cast their burdens on Jesus.