I’ve been talking to myself the past few days. This is nothing new (by any stretch), but the words I’m saying are. “Be gentle. Be gentle. Be gentle.”
I’m telling myself to be gentle to herself. Except I’m having a little trouble listening (let alone agreeing/obeying).
I have a long history of putting pressure on myself, of expecting quite a bit of myself, of giving myself a hard time if I don’t measure up. The crazy thing is my parents never pressured me. I don’t remember ever feeling like they were pushing me or raising some bar every time I got close to it. They were easy to please and unconditionally loving.
It was all me.
Sooo, here we are in Cambodia. We waited a long time to get here. We worked hard to get here. People are sacrificing to support us here.
(By the way, today marks our TWO MONTH CAMBODIA-VERSARY! Yay us!)
And I’m struggling.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. Really and truly. It’s not that. It’s that I have this expectation of myself. What I’m supposed to be doing and being and accomplishing and learning and getting done and managing.
And when I can’t make it all work, I get frustrated with myself. And I try to figure out ways to pull myself up by my flip flop straps, suck it up, and be the “missionary” I’m “supposed” to be.
Well. So much for that.
For whatever reason, I feel guilty when I rest, guilty when I spend money, guilty when I don’t get things done, blah, blah, blah. And I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t want me living this life of condemnation and high expectations.
Yes, there’s kingdom work to be done. And, no, my comfort isn’t the most important thing in life. And, yes, I want to sacrifice so that others might know Jesus.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been missing the point a little bit. That maybe I’m trying to do too much in my own power. That I’m not letting Jesus take my heavy burdens in exchange for his light ones. That I’m not resting guilt-free a little each day (and one full day a week).
So, I’m asking God to help me show grace to myself. To give myself time. To not expect too much too fast. To be gentle with myself.
To be gentle with myself when:
- we eat out five meals in a row because I feel too fried to cook.
- I hire help.
- I take a nap after school three afternoons in a row.
- I eat junk food because it’s easier than preparing something fresh & whole.
- I don’t get the laundry done.
- I read a book instead of practicing Khmer.
- my kids want to invite someone over and I just want to be by myself.
- I haven’t begun to return all the dinner/dessert invitations we’ve gotten in the last 2 months.
- I’m a million years behind on thank-you notes.
- I say we’re going to send out a newsletter today, and it’s 8:30pm, and I’m ready for bed.
- we haven’t updated our family site in ages.
- we order pizza delivered again when it’s neither vegan nor cheap.
- I can’t keep our kitchen shelves organized.
- the girls keep begging for a bunk bed and/or hammock and/or papasan chair, and I keep saying, “Soon.”
- I’m not getting my next e-book written fast enough.
- I let food go bad because I don’t plan ahead and we don’t eat it fast enough.
- I’m doing a bad job of being gentle with myself.
(I’m sure there’s more, but you get the drift.)
That’s all. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
Would love for you to hold me accountable on the whole give-my-burdens-to-Jesus and give-myself-grace thing. (As long as you do it in a kind, gentle, full-of-grace way.)
Anybody else struggle with this?