I have a hunch that we make things harder than they need to be a lot of the time.
In our scrapbooking, we beat ourselves up if we’re not as productive as the next girl. We feel like a failure if we don’t make our dream Design Team.
We’re forever putting something out there so people don’t forget us. We tie ourselves up in knots over comments, popularity, likes and subscribers.
We run after the latest ‘it’ line, convinced that it will revolutionise our style and make our layouts magically come together.
In our home lives, we’re constantly picturing that immaculate, show-home state that in reality only ever happens five minutes before the in-laws visit.
We’re convinced that if we could only get to the bottom of our ‘to do’ list, then we’d find the illusive headspace we need in order to relax and find inner peace.
In our spiritual lives, we berate ourselves for not spending enough time reading the Bible or praying. (That’s what we kid ourselves anyway: the truth is, we’re not spending *any* time doing those things, but we’d rather not go there.)
Then when it comes to self-care, we’re falling down all over the place.
The diet’s a mess because the natural yoghurt didn’t hit the spot that it seems only chocolate really can.
And while we fully intended to walk a mile every morning this week, it’s not stopped raining once, and how much fun is it to walk in wet trousers?
We’re annoyed with ourselves because there’s been no time for our hobbies.
We’re snappy with our families, because there’s been so much mess to pick up that we’ve not had a moment for a bath, let alone chill-out time with our favourite youtube subscriptions.
And with our faith life slipping right to the bottom of the priority list, God can’t be all that chuffed with us either, right?
I heard a quote that tickled me the other day:
“Sometimes we need a rub on the back and sometimes we need a kick up the butt.”
And there are times – like now perhaps – when we need *both* a gentle kick and a lovely indulgent back rub.
You see, the thing is, we’re big girls.
If our diet choices aren’t making us feel our best, we need to start putting a banana in our bag for elevenses instead of a bag of crisps.
If we’re annoyed that we don’t have time for ourselves, we need to catch ourselves mindlessly surfing each evening and remember our intentionality goals.
And if we’re forever feeling fomo over the latest goodies, we need to switch those haul videos off and re-organise the product we do have so that it’s appealing again.
But while we’re giving our butts that gentle kick, we need to make sure we’re in super-gentle, grace-giving, back-rubbing mode too. Because life is hard!
It’s complicated and chaotic and we have *so much* mental noise going on the Whole. Flippin.’ Time.
We have entire show choirs in our heads singing that we’re not good enough, with repeat choruses of ‘God can’t love us and what’s the point in having dreams because we’ll probably never reach them?’
We girls are not always our own best friends.
But you know what? We don’t need to live like this: we can choose to start turning those voices off.
Because our God is the God of the light burden; He’s the God of the easy yoke. He doesn’t need or expect anything from us, other than that we let Him love us and pour His grace into our lives.
He doesn’t need immaculate homes, scrapbooking success or perma-smiling family gals. He doesn’t require subscribers or quiet times or deep theological knowledge.
He loves us. Just as we are.
And we need to show ourselves the same grace He shows us.
To love ourselves enough to look at our lives and work out what will make room for joy.
To see that as His awesome creations, we deserve a bit of self-care, so we can better love others.
To look at our crazy schedules and imperfect homes, our dreams and desires; our messy family relationships and painful pasts, our sadnesses and failures, our excitements and joys and just-can’t-go-on-weariness and be grateful.
Because it’s all a gift. And the only ones making it feel like hard work? Us.