I love this quote by Richard Foster: “God cares as much about the body as he does the soul, as much about the emotions as he does the spirit. The redemption that is in Jesus is total, involving every aspect of the person – body, soul, will, mind, emotions, spirit.”
If only it was easier to live this out in daily life! So often my "big" emotions seem to get in the way.
I’ve been noticing myself getting more stir crazy as the pandemic continues. My kids, who are especially bored, keep asking for more screen time. They miss school, they miss their friends, they miss dance class & basketball & soccer practice.
Life is just…different. I feel disappointed for them, as they are missing out on these experiences, and I’m feeling disappointed for myself, as well. The social distancing limits lead to feeling very isolated, even though we know they are an important precaution.
The problem is that I get frustrated that I’m getting frustrated.
Can you relate? That is when the judgment and self-condemnation start coming in. I “shouldn’t” be so tired when I’m at home and not doing much. I “shouldn’t” feel so grumpy about having to homeschool my kids (I like the idea of it, I’m just not very patient, and it shows more than I'd like to admit!). There are valid reasons for this exhaustion and continually feeling “out of sorts,” but it doesn’t take away the nagging feeling that I should be able to rise above all that.
The point is, the judgment, shame, and self-condemnation don’t help. Whether it is coming from our own false guilt, lies from the Enemy, or comparison with others (perceived or real), it really doesn’t matter.
What matters is believing that Jesus is patient and loving toward all our imperfect ways of dealing with this strange season.
In this hard place of feeling like I’m continually “falling short,” He is not telling me to “pull myself up by my bootstraps,” “get it together,” or “suck it up.” He cares for my total wellbeing, including my body, soul, will, mind, emotions, spirit. He listens patiently to my complaints, He desires to bring comfort when I admit how sad I am, He offers reassurance when I am honest about my fears and disappointments.
Acknowledging how I really feel, and letting these emotions be validated in His presence, is what allows me to keep going, to face a new day, to keep hope alive.
Are you able to extend this kind of compassion and patience toward yourself?
Honestly, I am still learning. I have not arrived. But I do know that if I want to feel the unconditional love & acceptance coming from Jesus, my own shame and self-judgment need to get out of the way. And I suspect the same is true for you, too. So let’s be intentional about extending grace and compassion towards ourselves and each other, the way Jesus has modeled for us.
“Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7 NASB
“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.” Is. 42:3