Last week, I met with a very cool couple walking the long road of publishing. They’ve signed the contract and are working on the manuscript now. They wanted to talk about the process of it all, what to expect, how to deal with all the starts and stops and pressure to DO THINGS AND BE BIG AND HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT (as if I have all wisdom pertaining to such things because, truth be told, I’m a spiritual aunty and a long-road walker and not really a coach or consultant).
What I’ll remember the most about the conversation has nothing to do with book writing. It is the reminder that the pressure to DO THE THINGS can be overwhelming (even when that “do” is “calm down” or “relax” or “take care of yourself” because, after a while, they’re all just more demands to DO). Even the thought of adding something else to a life that already feels stretched can make even things like self-care feel overwhelming. And because I’m often tempted to overthink all the ways I can fix this life, I’m sharing these words here so you can remind me when I become forgetful and start fretting about all the doing.
Time and time again in scripture, we’re reminded that it’s the tension of this weird life that refines and shapes us into something more beautiful than we could have ever been without its twisted and pockmarked roads. Sometimes the best self-care has nothing to do with adding one more big DO to the list when that DO adds a whole new layer of stress. Sure, vacations and massages and scented candles with a glass of something lovely and all of the things we call self-care are delightful escapes (and all of us are blessed to be able to consider them as options). But it’s OK to not come up with a big plan. My friend Lisa says we just need to invite Jesus into the unknown of it all. Maybe He just wants to hang out with us on a meandering drive or listen to us as we let the pain of the tension pour out.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that He’s not requiring us to come up with a great self-care plan. He’s not requiring us to figure out a way to overcome the days filled with feelings. He’s not tapping his fingers on the counter and demanding us to get our act together. He loves us far too much to treat us like a project.
Perhaps it’s the presence of Jesus in the tension that is the best self-care. I don’t know about you, but inviting Him into the daily rhythms and liturgies and habits of my day…that’s what can be so easily sacrificed in the search for the something that will make the tension go away.
And so, I remember again the simplicity of Jesus and coffee in the mornings. Of the beauty of a simple text that says, “Love you…and I’m here.” Of the rest found in a song when the lyrics feel like a love note.
Of remembering the days are not our enemies.
Of the refining process itself.
I’ll close with these words:
Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4
I’d love to hold you close in prayer right now. Let me know how I might lift you high.