Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gently Does It

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:1

How has it been two weeks? Time flies when you are knee deep in birthday season with Holy Week and visitors thrown into the mix. Truthfully, I've barely kept up with spinning all of the plates I've got going and, as is commonly the case, writing is the first thing to go. Except it hasn't, at least not completely. I have a draft folder full of half baked ideas and thoughts, moments of intention that were interrupted. I'm still learning how to be interrupted well. This life is so full of opportunities to stretch and grow into virtue. Sometimes maddeningly so.

The three March birthdays, a baby shower, Easter are all behind us, with the final birthday in this set coming up this weekend, along with a visit from my husband's parents. I've been looking toward this weekend as an end cap to the madness since before Lent. I know that living life to "just get past this" isn't how I want to be, nor is it what I am called to. Still, something has to change and I feel it most on the day after Easter when my home is a shambles, work men show up unannounced and I'm completely overwhelmed by the chaos. All of that paired with lack of sleep and several consecutive weeks of extras and I'm just suddenly so done I couldn't be more done if I tried. And I realize it in the moment right after I completely lose it that maybe I need to get a little better at establishing boundaries and respecting my own needs.

It's a common realization for me at times like this, but one I always struggle with implementing. On the one hand, service and self donation are, in my mind, the highest and truest calling on my life. On the other hand, I have a tendency to give until I give out. It is only when I'm at rock bottom looking up that I realize maybe I'm going about this all wrong. When I see someone with a good grasp on communicating their needs and establishing their boundaries, I'm in awe. My people-pleasing tendencies run deep, and in the rare event that I do try to set parameters such as that, I'm back pedaling and apologizing before anyone knows what happened. If anyone has any suggestions for good reading on boundaries within a Christian life, I'm all ears.

The thing is, pushing through until the magical weekend with nothing on the schedule is a fools errand - because right beyond that we start the push toward summer time with all that that brings. I've got to figure out how to choose the better part - and to remember who and Who's I am. In those tender early days following the arrival of a baby, I have no guilt about requiring gentleness for myself. Perhaps there are other seasons and reason to give myself a break and remember that not all rest is laziness and not all efficiency is good. Sometimes, dare I say it, the theme of the day needs to be to simply abide.

Perhaps you're like me? And you think you need permission, a reason to be gentle with yourself. You don't. Dearly loved one, don't forget to treat yourself with kindness and heaping grace.

Today, for me, for you, for us - gently does it. 

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