Gratitude Day 624
1 Chronicles 16:11 – Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Sometimes, we just need a friend to talk with.
And maybe, this is why my cousin Heather called me last week. She’s the one on the far right in this photo.
Her Mom had been involved in an accident at home. At the hospital, it was discovered that she has 12 broken bones. Yep – 12. She would have hip replacement the following day as this was the most severe injury. And then, next decisions would be made.
Heather’s Mom, my Aunt Jane, lives a few hours from Heather. Heather will soon be switching jobs. She’s in the final weeks of her current job. As a social worker, Heather knows and has coached people who have found themselves in a situation similar to her own. A loved one in the hospital, limits on who can actually going into the hospital, a lot of work to get done as she transitions to a new job and the stress of all this raining down on her.
Heather and I have had countless conversations about The Mary Experiment: When Doing and Being Collide. Her Dad was my Mom’s brother. They were both raised in a very Martha environment, which they replicated in their lives, and then, their children (my generation of my siblings and cousins) have also embodied. Even though we have lived in different states our entire lives, my cousins have articulated the same struggle that I have felt between getting things done and allowing myself to be still and know God. We have remarkably similar blueprints which transcend miles and distance because a work ethic was so ingrained in our lives. It has been such a part of the fabric of our lives that we have a fairly good idea out each other’s internal struggles.
In a stressful time, Heather found herself struggling between what to do: should her Martha-self go to work and continue checking things off of her to-do list before she finishes her job? Or should she allow for some space to be work through the emotions of what just happened to her Mom?
I’m confident Heather knew what her answer should be. Sometimes, we just need to grant ourselves permission.
This story is a classic example of how we struggle with something our entire lives. And when we find ourselves in an unexpected stressful situation, we almost become paralyzed in trying to make the next “right” decision. In our guts of often know what we should do. It’s convincing our over-achieving brains that slowing down is best for us emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.
Why is it so difficult to grant ourselves permission to stop for a hot minute rather than plowing through the demanding situation at hand?
There can be a variety of reasons:
- We don’t want anyone to think we can’t handle it all.
- We have to prove to ourselves that we can handle anything.
- We can’t say no, especially to ourselves.
- We think we have to be superhuman … ALL. THE. TIME.
I think it is so much easier to see through the fog and arrive at the best decision much quicker when it’s someone else’s situation and we’re just listening in. When we’re the one trying to make the tough call? It’s a whole different ballgame.
Have you been feeling anxious and stressed lately?
Do you feel like you need to make a difficult decision about something and not sure what to do?
Are you stuck in what your next best decision should be about something?
Here’s a couple ideas:
- Be like Heather. Pick up the phone and talk to a real live person about your situation. Someone who you feel will quickly relate to your dilemma. And then, take their suggestions to heart, if they offer one. It is amazing how a little space from a situation can make clarity so much easier.
- Give yourself a break. No one expects you to be superhuman but yourself.
- Allow yourself to say, “No” and not feel guilty one little teeny bit.
- Put boundaries in for yourself because if you do not, no one else will.
As Heather and I talked through her Mary and Martha dilemma, Heather was able to quickly see what the best decision was for her. I was clear with her that it was her decision. By the end of the conversation, I hear in Heather’s voice that she was in a space where she could move forward. Whether she just needed someone to talk with or a nudge in the clarity department, it doesn’t matter. She showed up and I believe benefitted from this.
Whether a decision you have to make today is a big one or a little one, be kind to yourself. Allow space to work through the choice. It’s OK to ask God to help you.
And then, implement the best choice. Know God will be with you every step of the way.
When we find ourselves in a stressful or anxious situation, give yourself permission to need extra support. That’s what friends are for.
For more information on working through the Mary and Martha sides of your life, check out my book. It would make a great Mother’s Day gift for the person in your life who struggles with living as a Mary and a Martha. As a special offer, if you order from me directly in the next five days, I’ll sign the book and include a hand-written letter to the person you’d like the book sent to. All this for $15. To order this special Mother’s Day offer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For finding those who can help us navigate living in the real world, I am grateful.
Holy God – When we find ourselves in a stressful situation, we often need just a little more guidance and wisdom. Help us not be afraid to ask for a listening ear. May we discover something new about ourselves this week. Amen.
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