Yesterday, a series of bad moments wore me down.
So today, we’re going to discuss how to be gentle with ourselves when we’re having a bad day. There’s a powerful, yet simple verse that inspires this conversation.
Now, before yesterday, I was having a great weekend!
On Saturday, I spoke at the Guided by Promise Women’s Event at Timberline Church in Fort Collins, CO. About ten months ago, one of Timberline’s members, Nancy Vogt, was searching for a new Bible study and she discovered mine. Nancy enjoyed the study and she recommended me to Timberline’s women’s ministry director, Leigh Ann Dilley. Over the past six months, I’ve loved partnering with Leigh Ann in planning and praying for this weekend’s event.
Saturday’s event was a sweet oasis of sisterhood, connection, laughter and love. Best of all, our experience was centered around Jesus!
After the event, I began praying for God’s Spirit to protect my heart and soul. There’s a temporary emotional struggle that can happen after powerful ministry moments. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Elijah Effect.” After the prophet Elijah defeated the false prophets of Baal, he had an emotional meltdown and God sent an angel to feed him and order him to take a nap.
With a full and happy heart, I woke up at 4:30am on Sunday morning to catch my 7:00am flight out of Denver. (At 6:15am, I made a last-minute decision before boarding to get a seven-minute mechanical chair massage. It was fabulous decision!)
During the flight, I could feel the “Elijah Effect” creeping in.
I closed my eyes and prayed. For weeks, I’ve been wading through some complex emotions after my oldest child’s wedding earlier this month. Also, the anniversary of my dad’s passing in 2017 is later this week.
Then, on my trip home from the airport, I got stuck in a stand still construction detour after getting a $180 speeding ticket. (I hadn’t received a speeding ticket since November 2000.) Oh, and my rear tire on my new car was leaking air, too.
Cue my emotional meltdown.
At first, I was upset that I was so upset. After all, no one had died. I was safe, cared for, connected and loved. Still, my heart hurt and I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I don’t like admitting that I fell apart after enjoying a wonderful weekend serving God and others. Yet, I share this uncomfortable story with you because I suspect that you’ve had a similar experience.
Here’s what’s real for all of us: Sometimes the jumble of our emotions, spiritual battles and everyday life collides. A meltdown doesn’t mean that we don’t love Jesus, it just means that we’re human.
But, what we do next is what matters. Since that wasn’t my first meltdown, thankfully I knew what I needed to do.
At the conference this weekend, I shared my “Taking Care of You” message. The key verse in that talk is 1 Peter 5:7: Give all of your worries and cares to God because He cares about you.
We usually criticize ourselves for crying or for not being stronger. Beating ourselves up never helps, it only hurts us more. Besides, God isn’t condemning us. He cares that we’re hurting. First Peter 5:7 is proof that God knew that we can’t carry the weight of life without Him. So, we need to ourselves a break!
When we’re crying or losing hope, that’s a HUGE cue that should prompt us on what to do. Here’s what we need to do:
Be gentle with ourselves.
What does “be gentle with yourself” mean?
Being gentle means treating yourself like you matter.
Being gentle means that you stop expecting yourself to push through, buck up or ignore your heartache.
Being gentle means that you slow down and give yourself permission to listen to what your heart, body and soul needs.
For me, being gentle with myself meant giving way to to those tears without judgement, suspending my to-do list and crawling into bed with a hot cup of chai tea and watching puppy videos on YouTube, like this one.
Being gentle also meant giving myself permission to ask for prayer and support. When I got home, I text some trusted friends to share my struggle and ask for prayer.
Did you need this message today?
Maybe you don’t, but tuck this “be gentle with yourself” lesson in a handy place by because you will need it.
If you need some ideas on how to care for yourself, here is the link to my popular e-book, “Taking Care of You in Tough Times: 101 Self-Care Tips” that I’ve developed years ago.
If you know someone who needs to be gentle with herself, you can share this email with her.
So, this wasn’t the post I planned to share today. But, I trust that God knew someone needed it. If not, I’m grateful for a opportunity to testify about how remembering that God cares for me makes a huge difference when I’m struggling.
I’d love to pray with you as we start off this new week:
Dear God, I am praying for my friend right now as she begins her week. God, I pray that she remembers that because You care for her, she has permission to be gentle with herself. I pray that she recognizes the condemning lies and deceptive tricks of the enemy. Surround her with loving and trusted voices that will remind her of Your love and truth.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.