August 1, 2023
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest,”
~ Matthew 11:28
Whenever you return from being away for an extended period of time, especially for vacation, there is an adjustment period to reenter your typical daily life, get back “into the swing of things,” and get back to tackling your work responsibilities and running your household. Under the best of circumstances this can take a few days and may be somewhat daunting.
My recent return was more overwhelming than I could have anticipated. After three weeks away, I returned sick with COVID, fighting jetlag, trying to prepare for a youth mission trip that would have to proceed without me, and a family member that ended up in the ICU. These were not the best of circumstances.
I felt guilty to have to lean on others to make the FUSH trip happen without me, and terrible to feel like I was disappointing so many people. I’m frustrated that my body is still struggling to fully recover, that I don’t have the energy to do all the things that should get done or are expected of me or the ability to focus on completing a task at hand.
I am not the most gracious person to myself.
I wonder how many of you have cups overflowing with grace and understanding for others, but when it comes to yourself, you struggle to be generous, to let yourself off the hook, to acknowledge that you are human, with limits, and to make yourself a priority?
Our society tells us that to prioritize ourselves is selfish, acknowledging our limits is weakness, anything less than 100% is failure, and unless we are making progress and meeting goals, we are wasting time. This is the narrative I have told myself and bought into for so long. It. Is. Exhausting.
And the question is, why do I keep listening to it? Why do we keep listening to it? How can we treat ourselves with the love, grace, and generosity we grant to others?
For me, this is a practice, but it helps to remind myself that even our scripture acknowledges that we get weary from carrying heavy things, that we need rest, and God encourages us to take it, to unload some of those things. The other thing that helps me is to talk about it and, I guess, write about it.
As sad and disappointing as it was not to go on the trip with FUSH, it was absolutely able to continue without me, thanks to the group of incredible adults who stepped in and stepped up to make it happen. And although it is frustrating to not be back to 100% energy and focus, I will continue to rewrite the narrative in my mind. If this is something that you also struggle with, I encourage you to do the same!
Here are the things I will be telling myself instead…
I am a priority.
Taking care of myself is not selfish.
I give myself permission to be exactly where I am today.
I will be generous to myself with grace in accepting my limits.
Having limits does not make me weak, it makes me human.
I am a beloved child of God.