You have similar routines to others. Are you noticing?
Sometimes we think we need to get out of our routines in order for things to change, for us to experience new people, for us to grow. But there is a lot we don’t notice in our routines. We get used to doing the same things in the same order at the same times. But we haven’t noticed all the details, all the people, all the opportunities.
Wake up to your routine. Open your eyes, your heart, your ears. Be willing to notice, invest, engage.
We sometimes want more when God is giving us many opportunities we’re simply not willing to see and grasp.
Today that can change.
Is self care selfish?
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
We can all justify just about any level of what we’d call self care. We can think about the analogy of needing to put on our own oxygen before helping anyone else with theirs on a plane. After all, if we die, how can we help anyone else?
If we’re not healthy, how can we help others become healthy?
But we can get so focused on ourselves that what we intend as self care becomes counterproductive. We actually become less healthy because we stress about ourselves and our care. Our intentions might be good, but that doesn’t mean the results will be good.
Focusing on ourselves for too long keeps us from living productive everyday lives that help others. Looking in the mirror keeps us from looking around us. Sure, we need to check the mirror. We need to regularly assess where we are and what we need to change, yet we also need to live with others and get reality checks from them. When we become too self-focused, our judgment gets skewed. What we think is best for us (and for others) doesn’t get filtered through enough perspectives and reality. And our goals of getting healthy in order to help others be healthy backfires. We end up hurting others and hurting ourselves.
It’s okay to be good to yourself, but it’s not all about you. Be good to the “we” in your life. When you live with healthy community, because you’re part of that community, you will grow in your own health, too.
Are you willing to be shifted? Are you willing to be changed? Not in control of the change. Not changing with the wind, so unstable that you have no consistency.
But are you willing to be shifted and changed while also staying stable at the core?
There are certainties that form a core of truth and consistency. It’s not a core that you simply come up with on your own, that you decide to pack into a firm ball and make it what centers you. Well, you can try that, but wanting something to be stable and finding that it is actually stable over time are not the same thing. Instead, the core comes from a pursuit of truth over time. It comes with the humility of being willing to be shifted and changed, the willingness to invite pruning, correction, and refinement. The core is comprised of what proves itself over time.
And that core, as solid as it is, is small. Compared to everything else in life, it’s packed and mighty. It can get ignored. But it is essential.
It’s what you truly believe in, what you would die for, what centers not only your world but the world. When everything else gets burned away, it’s what remains. When everything else gets boiled away, it’s what remains. When everything else gets broken and blown away, it’s what remains. But the reality is that we rarely get the chance to experience a trial so severe that we can actually see what is left after such refinement. Or we get caught up in the twisting turmoil and are disoriented. We are typically faced with so much other stuff that the core is obscured and muted.
But the core is still the core. Everything else must be filtered and tested. And in the process, you will be shifted and changed.
It’s a good thing.
Sometimes you can be right but take the wrong approach to the process.
So, how right can you be when you’re wrong?
Proving your point might come at too high a cost. What do you sacrifice in the process? Think about it. Because while sacrifice is sometimes important and even necessary, we can sacrifice the wrong things or the right things at the wrong time.
Being right isn’t just about a firm answer; it’s about the process, too. It’s not about having the correct final answer; how you get to that answer matters.
Is being right costing you generosity, compassion, patience, relationship, humility, or love?
Maybe you’re not as right as you think you are right now. Take a deep breath. Pause. Reflect. Your next step matters.
We have to face the evil and wrong in our lives. If we don’t, it continues to dig unsettling, treacherous holes that make our ground uneven and soft and uncertain. We ignore it until we see something tangible, then we play whack-a-mole with it. But when we ignore it and just hit it when we see it or when it’s convenient, we make it duck into the shadows. And evil does a lot of harm in the shadows. It thrives and digs and reproduces and damages. It undermines us – no matter how right or good we believe we are. We can’t be in a solid, good place while we let a shaky, bad place take up residence beneath us.
Where we stand matters.
How we take care of where we stand matters.
What we do when we have problems matters.
There’s more than one way to help.
We can get tied up in that one “right way” to help someone, get paralyzed, and decide it’s better not to do anything.
Don’t step aside out of a fear of doing the wrong thing. Sometimes doing something is better than nothing. It shows you’re available. And being available is a big deal. The person in need may say no. They might not have time. They might cut you off. But a quick message of “I’m available,” “I’m stopping by to give you a hug then I’m leaving,” “I’m running by the store. Do you need anything?,” or a simple note left on the front door let’s the person know they’re not alone.
And that is one of the best ways to help. You don’t need to solve someone’s problems. In fact, you can’t. But you can be available. And that is nearly always the right thing to do.
Be available today.
I love long walks. They serve multiple purposes for me. Most the time, they’re a combination of relaxing and energizing. Often times, they’re worshipful and centering. And every now and then, they feel absolutely necessary. If I’m in a funk, I know I can walk myself out of it. Not because the walk in and of itself is magically healing; it’s more about the process of walking, of action, of doing something that takes effort.
And that’s how I found myself miles away from where I parked, sitting on a picnic table, praying and catching my breath, not from walking too much but from weeping. I breathed, not the natural breath we all take but an intentional breathing to remind myself I was alive.
I received a text from a friend who was checking in on me.
“How’s my Susan?”
“What are you doing?”
“Well…that’s good. Where are you?”
And that’s when I realized where I was and how far I had walked. I laughed as I replied, “A long way from my car. I decided to walk until I de-funked. Apparently, it took a while.”
It felt so good to laugh, mainly at myself. I was indeed alive. I walked back to my van with a bit of a spring of appreciation in my step. Thankful for long walks, thankful for healing, thankful for friends.
Maybe you can’t take a long walk. Sometimes I’ll read sections of Scripture over and over until it sinks in and settles me (and settles into me). Sometimes I’ll listen to a song over and over. But there’s something about repetition that can refocus me. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but it always happens eventually. It’s like an alignment at the chiropractor. I might walk away sore and a bit off-balanced, but I still know it’s a good thing.
And I’m thankful for God’s adjustment.