A Fog of Self-Kindness
The fog was thick outside yesterday morning. It was bold and calming at the same time: like a silent shout telling all of us to slow down.
This week, I have been sick with a cold that has put me out. I have been resting a lot instead of getting things done. I've had to cancel plans for the past 4 days and force myself to rest and take it easy. Why is it so hard to allow ourselves to rest and to receive the abundant grace we are given? Why is it difficult for so many of us to be kind to ourselves?
Recently, I have read two books (The Best Yes and The Fringe Hours) that, among other things, emphasize the need for self-care and the importance of saying yes and no to the right things. It seems like this has been the topic in my circles for some time lately. If it's not the accumulation of more things that weighs us down, it's the accumulation of doing more, being more...the list of more goes on and on.
I see it as being unkind (to ourselves) and being unwilling to receive God's grace. This lifestyle becomes like the fog that was outside my window -it surrounds us and gets into every part of our lives. It keeps us from seeing where we are heading and where we were meant to go.
In the past, I have been suspicious of self-care chants because I worry that it will mean I give myself an excuse to be selfish and I give myself an excuse to ignore the needs of others. I don't know where every self-care message is coming from, but I think it's safe to say that I am missing the point completely when I think like this. If you tend to be suspicious and worried in those ways like me, there might be something further to dig into and process about how you view your value and worth in Christ. Do you know you are valued and loved and worth being cared for?
If I am consistently hard on myself, that is how I am with others. I often hear people say they are only hard on themselves but never hard on others. That's impossible. It's a nice be-the-martyr-thought, but it's not true. We cannot give what we haven't received. If we do not easily receive grace and kindness for ourselves, we absolutely will not be able to give real grace and genuine kindness to others.
"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
"For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." John 1:16
Does that speak to you today? His fullness is enough for you and me. Receive His gift of grace. Let His kindness and the cover of His perfect love be the only fog that surrounds you.
What can you do to be kind to yourself today?