This morning I read the following devotional* by author Joan C. Webb. (I just want to tell her “Thanks, I needed that!” LOL!) Actually, this story reminds me of Elvis Presley’s song, “Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.” And that heart would be my own! (Or in your case, Reader-Friend, your own heart!)
I sat in a lovely old library surrounded by the written wisdom of well-known Bible scholars. Pulling a book from the shelf, I settled into an over-stuffed chair to read. Sounds pretty good, huh? But these words glared at me from the page: “Christians may burn out, but they must not rust out.” The author probably meant that it’s better to act than not, yet I winced because this statement used to be my unspoken creed. Practicing it caused me to become a walking dead person. What good was I to anyone then?
Adhering to this philosophy (which as a teenager I adopted from my mentors), I assisted, befriended, encouraged and nurtured others, yet neglected myself. In his book, Burnout, Myron Rush explains, “When you burn both ends of a candle, it may produce twice as much light, but the candle burns out twice as fast. People . . . discover that all of their mental, emotional and physical energies have been consumed.”
You and I are part of God’s creation, just like the people we serve. Our souls are nourished when treated with kindness, and they’re destroyed when we’re cruel to ourselves. How do I know? (Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel. Proverbs 11:17, TLB)
We respond to life with less anxiety and greater joy when we’re considerate not only of others, but of ourselves, as well. (Indeed, I needed to be reminded of this today! How about you?)
Will you join me in choosing at least one small way to nourish yourself this week? I’m thinking about it right now. Hmmm. What will I decide? I’ll let you know.
Love Limits and Boundaries
It’s LOVE WEEK! If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that sometimes love feels safe, authentic and exciting; at other times it can feel a little suffocating and confusing.What’s up?
Several years ago I read a statement that helped me understand the flipsides of love. “We don’t have to be willing to lose everything for love. … Sticking to reasonable, healthy limits is a prerequisite to love and relationships that work. We can learn to make appropriate choices concerning what we’re willing to give in our relationships—of ourselves, time, talents and money,” writes Melody Beattie in her book Beyond Codependency.
Is love always giving and fulfilling another’s need? I wanted to know, so I looked at Jesus. What did He do?
“These people have listened to me for a long time now,” said Jesus to his disciples. “Many traveled far. I feel for them. They may faint from hunger on the way home. Let’s give them something to eat.”
Photo: Galilee where Jesus may have fed the crowds!
So Jesus fed 4000 men and their families. They ate till they were satisfied. Then Jesus sent them away—and he left with his disciples. (Check out Mark 8:1-10.)Perhaps some begged him to stay and continue performing miracles. But Jesus left. His loving, caring miracle did not preclude the firm action of setting time and involvement limits.
By observing Jesus’ example I learn that I can love and still set limits. It’s healthy, balanced and such a relief! Although I realize I’ll never do “love” perfectly 24/7, I want to learn to give and take with respect for myself as well as others. I continue to ask God to show me both sides of authentic love.
What have you learned about the give- and-take boundaries of LOVE? I’d like to hear from you.
I’m inviting you to join me for a little “get-away” time this Saturday, February 11, 2012 at the 13th annual “Heart to Heart” Women’s Day near Sedona, Arizona. I’ll be sharing how The Intentional Woman Finds Relief. As I chat with other women, I’ve noticed that we all want permission to relax and breathe more deeply in this Age of Overchoice, Over-commitment and Overwhelm.
Sometimes we try too hard to make our families, bodies, homes, dreams, friendships, work, and even faith “just right”—and it’s so frustrating when they aren’t. We feel STUCK. Come, re-discover yourself and how God longs to free you from your unrealistic expectations. Start an intentional relief-producing journey of inner transformation and hope. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
This fun day (from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm) will include great music, door prizes, a lovely luncheon banquet sponsored by ten popular restaurants from the Cottonwood and Sedona area. And our interactive time together around this relief-producing topic based on my books, The Intentional Woman and The Relief of Imperfection.
It will be held at the Verde Baptist Church located next to the Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood. Tickets are available for $15 per person. Space is limited to the first 400 women, so please contact the church office at 634-3645 for tickets soon. For additional information visit www.verdebaptist.com
I’d love to see you there!
Perfection is God’s Business!
Is there really any difference between pursuing excellence and striving to be perfect? Michael J. Fox, well-known actor, husband, father, and Parkinson’s patient thinks so. “The only thing that separates any one of us from excellence is fear, and the opposite of fear is faith,” says Fox. “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business.”
The thing that has helped me in my ongoing journey out of over-doing, over-committing and over-whelm is reminding myself often that there IS a difference between “trying too hard to make it all just right” and “partnering with God for excellence.”
If you’re like me, you can sometimes be your own slave-driver. So this verse gives you (and me, too!) permission to be gentler with ourselves. I love that!
Which of these perfectionistic symptoms sounds a little too familiar to you? What one gentle self-care moment are you going to allow yourself this week?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.