Be Kind to Thyself

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Weekend Thoughts

This week marks the most blogging I’ve done in a long time! I began 31 Days to Glancing Back and Leaning Forward on Tuesday, along with the gang out at The Nester. I have loved writing my randomness all week. But this weekend, I am feeling my old friend, Pressure.

What to write?
(I have a million starts of ideas and partial thoughts, none complete and ready for your eyes.)

When to find time to write it?
(Each time I take up my computer to type, I glance at a million other priority items I try to knock out first.)

Is my writing worthy of the effort? Worthy of your time?
(If it isn’t profound, isn’t unique, does it need to be said?)

Such a sneaky one, this self imposed Pressure!

In my life’s seasons of great busyness and demands, on the brink of burn out, I have an image that wakes with me, stays with me, sleeps with me. It’s the image of a train, barreling down the tracks, chasing me actually. It is a black, old train, with a menacing chug-a-chug-a-chug-a sound and the hiss of steam, steadily picking up speed.

And I am running as fast and as hard as I can. I’m pumping my arms, leaning forward, tripping over the tracks. Something nearing panic begins to grow from my stomach up to my wild eyes and I just keep running myself to tears. I know, just know, this train is going to run me over if ever I stop doing, doing, doing.

In one such season, my husband held me in his arms when I was at the brink of exhaustion, trying to convince him this train was going to kill me, and he just started to laugh. “Babe, there is no train!” (He has an annoying way of laughing when I most want him to take me seriously.)

There is no train.

Do I have grace for everyone else, and none for myself? Do I demand of myself more because of an irrational pressure toward achievement, pleasing other or perfectionism? Where is this compulsive behavior coming from?

Love your neighbor as yourself. What an awful commandment! I want to be known as the gracious one AND the perfect one at the same time. But this wise commandment hints at a secret. Its the impossibility of being gracious and kind to those around us while being harsh and demanding of ourselves. One naturally flows from the other.

John Eldredge put it this way in, what I believe is his greatest book, Waking the Dead.

“How you handle your heart will determine how you handle theirs.” – John Eldredge

“Caring for our own hearts isn’t selfish; it’s how we begin to love. Yes, we care for our hearts for the sake of others. Does that sound like a contradiction? Not at all. What will you bring to others if your heart is empty, dried up, pinned down? Love is the point. And you can’t love without your heart, and you can’t love unless your heart is well. When it comes to the whole subject of loving others, you must know this:  how you handle your own heart is how you will handle others.”

So I do what never occurred to me before. Instead of living a “do more, try harder” life, instead of running as hard and fast as humanly (inhumanly?) possible, instead of the pressure to run straight ahead as the train chases me down, instead, I’m going to step sideways, off the tracks and feel the woosh as the train passing me by. I can walk from here.

Be Kind to Thyself

This is a no pressure blog. I hope you enjoy what I write, but even if you don’t I’ll have fun doing it anyway.


Back-and-Forward-ButtonThis post is part of my series 31 Days of Glancing Back and Leaning Forward: Personal reflections and life lessons from my year.

To see the rest of the posts in this series, please click here.
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It is pure joy to me knowing you are reading what I am writing. Thank you.


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