It’s a Process

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In the field I work in, it is estimated that up to 67% of us experience high levels of burnout…something we can experience at any time in our careers, not just the later years.

Combine my drive with perfection and my world-view that tells me to put everyone else above myself:

I am a prime candidate for this. And, tonight, I’m right there.

The weight of it all bearing down on my shoulders.
Feeling like I am supposed to be all things for all people.
And, frustrated, embarrassed, and ashamed that I cannot be.

Because, I am not supposed to be.
I am supposed to take care of myself, like the airplane mask. I have to “put mine on before I help anyone else with theirs”

Yet, I have not been doing that all the time.

I go back to that early message that if I am to live a Godly life, I am to sacrifice for others – and Christ did so even to the point of death.

But, I am not meant to do that. At least, right now, I have not been called to die for the sake of the world. Jesus already had that covered.

And, before & after that point, there are places in the Bible where self-care is evident:

  • Elijah in the cave & on the mountain (1 Kings 19)
  • Jesus himself did this (Luke 5:19; and in His time in the Garden before his death)
  • Ephesians 5:29-30 remind us we are to take care of our bodies
  • And, Matthew 22:37-39 reminds me that I am to love God with my whole being, and then others as I love myself…

But, if I’m not taking care of myself, how can I expect to show love to anyone else…And, if I am a being created by God, how am I to love God with my whole being if my being is not whole? And, if I show no respect for His creation, namely, me?

It’s honestly a process.
And, when you are in the profession I am, with the background I have, it can get messy and sticky.

I have the desire to put up a wall of perfection even when I’m falling apart, because that is what people think of me;

The very words meant for encouragement are twisted in my head to give me an impossible standard to live up to rather than being a celebration of things I’ve already done.

Most days, lately, I am not good at this self-care thing. I am too busy trying to be all things to all people, fitting in where I can, feeling like I’m dropping balls everywhere, discouraged when I have to say “no” to someone, and
ashamed at how drained I am inside.

Because, I am supposed to know better…
I am supposed to do better…
I am supposed to be better…

At least, that’s what my head keeps telling me, giving no grace for myself to be human, leaving no room for me to breathe, calm, or relax.

Tonight, I’ve actually spent the evening doing just that…after a panic attack.
The tale-tell sign that I have been taking on too much.
I don’t control when they hit; and I hate when they do. But, when one happens (which hasn’t been in a while) – it is a screaming siren: something is amiss, you have taken on too much, you are putting too much pressure on yourself, you need to take corrective action.

So, I did that. And, in that, I made myself good food – food that I’m allowed to eat, rather than defaulting to gluten-filled food that may be part of the issue with all of this. (And, tomorrow, I will be sharing more about that…)

But, for tonight, I’m focusing on self-care:

  • Leaving work at work (I only checked my email once and only answered one work-related text…it’s actually an improvement)
  • Nourishing food & water. I’m usually driven by cravings, but I knew tonight I needed to be respectful of how my body is wired.
  • Allowing myself to finally cry. It’s been building up. The release was necessary. Sometimes, we have to be allowed to feel all of the feelings.
  • Read a book. That’s right, a whole book. It it was a needed book at this exact moment in my life.
  • Writing. This blog, future posts. Thoughts. Quotes. Just pen to paper. I forget sometimes how alive that action actually makes me feel, how connected to me, and how human.
  • Sketching. I’m not the best, but creating an image is incredibly cathartic.
  • Bible reading & prayer time. I cannot be sustained if my spirit is not sustained. If my spirit is crushed and I do not tap into it’s hope, I will not survive
  • Sleep – well, at least, that’s my plan. An earlier bed time. I hope it works out.

Tomorrow, I will wake up and do it all over again:
I will go to work and do my best to be supportive and helpful to my colleagues and our clients.
I will go to work and be called names & treated unkindly by our kiddos, who have not yet developed any other frames of reference for their little worlds; and I will work my hardest at not taking it personally & showing compassion and patience to their painful little worlds.
I will go to work and do my best to remember my own “calm down skills” and doing my best to offer a real-time example of calming, compassion, patience, self-care, and communication.
I will go to work and do my best to the extent that is humanly possible, and likely will still come home feeling like it was not enough.

But, I will wake up & do it all over again, because this is what I am called to at this time.
And, as He has called me, He will also strengthen me and walk with me daily.

Remembering all of this, and taking care of myself in the meantime, is a process, though.
And, addressing my self-care is the only way I will truly be able to get into the messiness with others.
And, it’s the only way I will be able to love God with my whole self & love others as I love myself.
But, it’s a process…


Have you ever found yourself nearing burnout or compassion fatigue?vDo you have any suggestions for self-care, for me or anyone else in the helping professions or ministry? What ways do you care for yourself? 

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How I Met…

You know, I’m not sure that meet-cutes happen much anymore.

You know the stories:

Boy meets girl: eyes meet across the room; they both reach for the same apple; they bump into each other on the sidewalk; and the list goes on. Then, they fall in love. #SoulMates

No, I just don’t know how often that happens, those cute stories. And I don’t know how many people are actually choosing mates that are right for them, because they are jumping into things. And, I don’t know how realistic the possibilities of those fairy tale endings are…

But, I do believe in the power of prayer, and beautiful, God written love stories.

See, I pray for my “him” – whoever he is, wherever he is, and whenever God decides to bring him into my life. However God decides to bring him.

So, I will be pleased with our meeting story (online, in person, whatever), because I have prayed for it, fasted for it, & had strong faith in God’s plan, purpose, & timing.

And, when that time comes, I will be glad to share that story!

Meaningful Message

A while back, I posted about an Embracing Single Life challenge…which I only did a few days of at the time.

Tonight, I was wondering what to write about for today’s post; so, since this 31 days is about exactly that, I went back to look at day 14.

That day’s challenge was “Draw something meaningful to you”:

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This picture shows my worldview at its simplest. Not an ideal that I’ve just inherited, but my actual belief. My hope, my strength, my joy.

And, I can’t imagine bringing in a partner who doesn’t share it.

People say, “well, would you consider someone who just goes to church sometimes. Who ‘believes’?” – Um, sure, I’d consider it.

But, long-term, would we work? If his focus and mine differ?

It’s unlikely.

So, that’s what I’m praying for. A man passionate about this message right here. And, I trust hat God will bring him into my life (and hope it’s soon).

 

Preparation in the Waiting

“That’s something that worries me about dating at this age. Either girls are super independent and set in their ways, you know like you. Or they just have never learned to grow up and we have to take care of em…”

I heard this while talking to a single guy about dating at our age.

And, to be fair to his statement, I had said earlier that it would take an amazing man to change my single status. So, I get it…

One of the beautiful things about this time of life is that I get to be independent and build a life I love…

But, the thing is, I am building a life I love and look forward to sharing with that amazing man.

In the mean time, I get to use this time to decide what kind of person I am and will continue to grow into – which includes the kind of wife and mom I will one day be.

I know I want to build a tiny house, and do some traveling ministry. And, while I pray that includes a partner, I know I can be ok if it doesn’t.

I know I want to live a more healthy and sustainable life; as well as a life that is surrounded by beauty and peace in such a crazy and at times ugly world.

I pray each day for the man God will bring, even though I am currently taking a break from online dating, and really, there aren’t any real prospects around.
He’s somewhere. So, I pray each day.

Until God brings our lives together, and we begin doing His work together, I will continue to grow towards the person I want to be – getting my own health and well-being in order. If I manage that, it’s one less hurdle he & I have when we get together (and, honestly, I hope he’s doing the same).

This is why I enjoy decorating for fall, keeping this blog, watching hours of tiny house footage, and Bible doodles (among other things). All of these are working on me to become the me I love and am proud to be…They contribute to my mental well-being.

This is also why I have begun to sell Scentsy again.

My work in the mental health field thus far have taught me some important things about myself:

  • I don’t want to always work full-time. Especially if I have a partner & then kids. I want to be the supplemental income, and spend time caring for my family. I want to be a partner in my husband’s ministry & a support in our home life.
  • I cannot always work full-time in the field without experiencing burn-out. There is so much negative emotion. I need other things in my day to off-set it.
  • I really do want to continue my education, and go for my PhD…I will need to find ways to fund that, in as little work hours as I can manage (enter Scentsy, a few hours of counseling, and a Tiny House…God can make all of this work, right?)

Often, this time of singleness feels forever…I mean, come on y’all, I’m 28 years old! 

But, this time is a beautiful time I get to use to grow into the calling God has placed on my life, to build a life I love, and to look out for others who will compliment that life, and whose lives I can compliment.

Somewhere along the way, I have faith God will bring a partner.

For now, I will just enjoy the preparation.

Struggle of Proverbs 31

I’m a pinner… Sometimes, it can be a problem.

During a recent pinning session, I came across a pin that outlines the “10 virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman” and the second virtue:

“Marriage”

Now, yes, in proverbs 31, she is married;
but my heart grew angry.
         So, marriage is my only option to be virtuous? No, it’s not!

I’ve written on the Proverbs 31 Woman before. I’ve also written in the context of waiting for that partner, becoming that woman in the waiting.

Yet, this is the idea: in order to be a good Christian woman, we have to be married. We each have that pressure around us at all times.

I have two sisters younger than me, and both seem closer to the alter than I am (& one of them is still in high school)…

So, now, we single women (especially as we get older), are left to feel convicted.
I’m somehow not living up to potential, because there hasn’t been anyone in my life who can be that Godly leader in my life & home, who have been ready for a relationship or commitment.

Does that really mean I can’t be the virtuous woman?
Absolutely not…

As a matter of fact, it conflicts with what Paul says about the gift of a life of singleness:

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” – 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

So, as a single woman, striving to live out God’s plan, what do I do?
Which verse do I follow?
Do I patiently remain single; or seek to marry, so that I can be virtuous?

Yes. Both.

I get to decide to serve God where I am, with what I have.

And, I pray.
I pray for myself in the waiting. And, I pray for whoever God may bring into my life.
I pray for wisdom & strength in the temptation about my passions & desires. And, I pray that I would be of use in the time of waiting.

In the waiting, I become that virtuous woman. (Which, by the way, means “force” “valiant” & “valor”). I can bring good to those I love and those who love me. I develop my work ethic & my service for the Kingdom. I can strengthen myself, and in Christ be bold & powerful.

In Christ, my character develops, and from there my beauty comes through.

And, in this way, I bring good to my husband, even before I meet him.

Thus, I am that virtuous woman…
Even if I am single for another 5 years…
Even if this man comes into my life near the end…
Even if God never brings a husband into my life…
Even if I am called to a life of single service…

So, lets stop shaming the single woman, making her feel as if she must have a man to serve God; instead teaching and encouraging one another to be that virtuous woman even before he comes along. (How much better would that make our marriage when/if God does bless us that way?)

So, my friends, single or married: Go forth & Be a virtuous force!


With this week’s Five Minute Friday

When…

How many times have I asked this question?

In the past week alone…?

When will I graduate…?
When will I be able to start my career?
When will this transition be over?
When will I meet “him”?
When will I actually start living how I say I want to live?
When will I finally be a “grown up”? (Then again, do I 
really want to be…)

Those who have read previous posts know that I’ve referred to myself as a perfectionist, and that my anxiety hinges on this need for things to just fall into place.

I get so caught up, sometimes, asking when, that I get derailed from actually making things happen.

I forget that I have the power to set things in motion, simply by doing.

That life I want for myself? Sure, I can’t make a “him” appear for myself, but I can begin (or continue) to work on other aspects of that life: career, family, friendships, spirituality.

That me that I want to be? God is shaping me into that, and the process goes a lot smoother when I submit to the hand of the potter.

So, when? 

I don’t know, but I’m starting to really just enjoy the journey on the way there.


This post is part of the Tuesday @ 10 link up over at Finding the Grace WithinThis week’s theme is WhenHead on over there to join the fun! And, let me know below how you handle the big question “When?”

Perhaps…

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” – Proverbs 31:10-12

Each time I come across those words, I get a stab in my heart.

Anyone who has read my blog for more than one post knows there is something beautiful I am attempting to wait patiently for: a Godly man to come into my life & add to the ministry God has placed on my heart.

And, I wish with everything that I could say that I have done this: “bring him good, not harm, all the days of my life”, but I have failed at this more than once. Allowing my eyes, heart, mind to wander, be tempted to things that are not honoring to the man that will one day enter my life.

Blessed for me, though, my Abba is one who redeems.

And, I know that He continues to protect my desire for a man who feels like home.

As Christina Perri (who I am currently in mini-obsession with) sings:

“You put your arms around me and I’m home.”
– Christina Perri ‘Arms’

One day, this is something I joyfully hope for. When I think about that relationship, feeling like home, I see cozy fall days; I see a man who is crazy in love with Jesus.

I think about my favorite TV couples (because, perhaps, I maybe, just a little bit, watch a tad too much of that TV stuff…), and though I enjoy those relationships, I can’t wait to see how much more I enjoy our love story.

Because, I so look forward to that coming home, home in his embrace feeling.

Who knows…?

Perhaps he is just around the corner.

Perhaps he is just a day away.

Or, perhaps he is another twenty years away.

I don’t know.

But, what I do know, is that I will continue to do my best to bring him good and not harm as many days of my life as I can, even before our paths cross.

So that, perhaps, one day, he will find home in my arms as well.


*Connected also with this week’s Tuesday @ 10 – Patience*


Along with my current Christina Perri obsession, I have discovered this lovely, moving video. It moved me and tugged at all of my heart strings. Tugged.Them.All. Please enjoy:

Christina Perri “The Words” from ‘Head or Heart’
Video from Christina Perri YouTube

Impatience at Home

So, you may have noticed that each of my posts on home seem to have a theme about them. That’s because, in my overall theme of Finding Home, I am going along with Kate Motaung over at Heading HomeThe idea is a 5 Minute daily challenge as part of this 31 day event, so I’m trying to make it work.

Today’s topic is patience, which is something I’ve written on before. Many of you who have read my posts before know that there are a few things I await

But, when I think about home, I realize it’s the impatience I get to practice at home.

I get to pour my heart out to my Abba, my family, my dog, my journal – about the things my heart yearns for.

I get to cry, panic, worry…I get to just be real for a moment.

I’ve learned that this doesn’t take away from my waiting. It doesn’t make my strong moments lose strength. It doesn’t affect the beauty of what will be.

It’s just a place I get to be real in my frustrations for a minute.

Because, out in the world, I use every ounce of patience in me: in my job, in my day to day errands, in waiting for a job, for “him”, for a home…(Not so much in the car – I’m working on that).

At home, there are moments, I get to practice impatience.

And, I’ll be honest – I am really glad for those moments.

Waiting For Capture

“Certain things will catch your eye, but pursue only those things that capture your heart.” – Ancient Native American Proverb

Confession time?

I have a list. You know, the list…

I’ve called it my “Him List”.
Honestly, it isn’t that hard to track down…it resides at the back of my Bible, a tradition I started in High School.

This list is much shorter now…much shorter.

But, one thing I added more recently is:

Home

That’s right, one word: home.

There are a select few people I’ve come across that make me feel safe, like I’m home.

And, fewer of those are male than female.

Though, a greater number of males have “caught my eye”.

Confession 2? My eye is somewhat easily caught…

But, my heart? Not so easily captured.

So, I haven’t even thought of pursuing too many relationships past friendship.

Because what catches my eye and leads to the capture of my heart is a complete surrender to God. A passionate pursuit of Christ.

So, for my him it’s this sense of safety, sense of home, that will capture my heart.

Not in an ideal, everything will always be peachy kind of way, but in an even when things are rough, he’s a safe person.
Safe because of where his heart is hidden.
Safe because  God is at our center.
Safe because there is no question of his love or loyalty.
Safe because he’s my best friend.

Safe because he fought to capture my heart.

Safe because it was in surrendering to God that my heart was so captivated.

So, currently, I’m waiting.

Waiting & praying for capture.


“I fell in love the way you fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once.”
-John Green, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

***…Someday…***

#LovelySunday – HOPE

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
– Proverbs 13:12

I did it. 

I packed up my life, loaded as much of it into my car as would fit, and drove across country with my mom. Back to a place I never thought I’d call home again.

Now, a week later, I’m all settled in.

I went back to the church I grew up in. Had an incredible time of worship. 

I’ve reconnected with my dearest friend. And, spent a lot of time with my family.

I’ve applied for countless jobs and have begun praying for my dwindling finances.

So, tonight, I took to the internets – the dating sites, as it were.

And, apparently, my options are more limited here than they were on the Left Coast…

So, it seems, for now, my mate is not to be found online. And, as at first, that struck me as making it a hopeless cause.

But, really?

I have all the hope in the world.

Other than for four months last year, Single is what I do. 

Do I want a partner? Absolutely

My heart longs for it. Some days, the ache is almost all I can take. Some days, my heart cries out in ways only my heart can cry out. 

But most days? I can definitely survive until it happens; I can survive if it never happens.

But, I have hope – hope that a partner will come some day.

I have hope because my Abba God knows my heart. He knows the ache in there. He knows it intimately, because He created it.

I have hope, because I pray for “him” almost every day:

I have been “devoted to [him] in love…joyful in hope, patient, and faithful in prayer”
(Romans 12:10&12)

For over a decade, my heart has held a special place for “him” and I have hope my Abba will fill that space.

Because, I believe that it is within His will that many of His people find an ezar (Gen 2:18). He knows it is not good for us to be alone, and He created this space in our hearts.

As for what I am patiently waiting & praying for?

Some people have told me that by requiring “he”  be a Man of God, that I am asking too much. That people, especially in my generation, are just not as devoted to Christ as they used to be. So, I should dull down that standard. Perhaps a “church goer” is enough; or maybe someone who is just “spiritual”.

To that, my whole-hearted response is:
I would rather serve Christ alone & single, than serve Christ alone & in a relationship.

So, is my standard too high?

Perhaps – but it’s not going anywhere.

So “he’s” not online. That’s ok. That just gives me hope that God has something even greater in mind for our love story.

And, I can’t wait to see what He makes of it.

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” – Romans 8:25

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13


Is there something you are patiently trusting God for? If so, I recommend taking advice from the new movie “War Room” (which, if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend). Begin to fight in prayer, that’s where patience is grown and the battle is won. Keep trusting God. Stand on His word. He is faithful.

*I have written this post in conjunction with last week’s Tuesday @ 10 and as part of my own #LovelySunday series.