The Band-Aid of Self-Care

By Mary Lehman

The other day, I went to have my nails done. I said to Kim, “I have an ‘owwie.’ Can you fix it?”

I proceeded to take off a band-aid on the ring finger of my left hand. Halfway down the nail, it was split horizontally, almost from one side to the other. The break was a little hard to see, since I had carefully bandaged it as to not break it off. The band-aid provided the protection to keep me from fooling with it anymore .

As I soaked off the previous gel, I babied the fingernail. When Kim came over to work on my hands, I was a little squeamish that she might break the nail off completely. Carefully, she prodded off the old color. She pulled out a little bottle of nail glue and repaired the nail. After she sanded it, I couldn’t believe the difference. Now, I could not even see the break, but I knew it was still there.

When she was finished applying the color, she said, “Mary, you’ll need to wear a band-aid until that nail grows out.”

How did I break my nail? I had formed an annoying habit of pushing up on the end of the nail with my thumb on the same hand. The continual motion weakened the nail. At one point, it tore almost in half. The band-aid provided the protection to keep me from fooling with it anymore, which would have completed the tear.

What other options could I have used to remedy the situation? Pulled the top half of the fingernail off completely? Cut off my finger? With restoration in mind, I had reached for a band-aid.

Now, the nail is polished, and I have applied a new band-aid. The habit has lessened, but I still push at the band-aid with my thumb. The difference is now I’m pushing down, not up, with my thumb. The reminder (the band-aid) is there. If it wasn’t, the nail fix would have lasted only a few minutes.

The nails represent our lives.

If we have received Him, our lives belong to Jesus.

We love Him and want to live for Him.

We struggle with sin, hurts, and even addictions, as we are still in our earth suits.

The hurts and habits of life try to defeat us.

The thumbs represent our bad habits.

A habit is obsessive/compulsive.

A habit is brutal and destructive.

A habit has no boundaries.

A habit make the “injured finger”its idol.

The band-aid represents a solution while we heal.

The band-aid says, “Don’t do it,” providing a boundary.

The band-aid is a deterrent from further injury.

The band-aid offers protection and supplies a distraction.

The band-aid gives us time to overcome the addiction and correct our behavior.

The growth of the new nail speaks to our Freedom in Christ.

While waiting until the broken nail grows out to the length of the others, we can feed our nails by using nail strengtheners to make the growth process faster. Still we must not remove the band-aid.

The band-aids in our lives are called self-care. Sometimes self-care happens when we are at the end of ourselves, when we realize a habit or hurt has taken over our entire lives. We need to start doing things differently, and we call out to God for help. He forgives us and offers a lasting strengthener (His grace) to protect while we renew our minds with His Word to conform to Him and implement His gifts and abilities into our lives.

Sadly, my bandaged fingernail has a counterpart, i.e., the sweet woman with whom I have a bruised relationship. On her finger, she too wears a band-aid as a reminder and boundary to protect her torn fingernail from further injury. Through setting her own boundaries, she also is learning to attend to self-care.

I guess I’ll be wearing the band-aid until the nail grows out.

Mary Lehman