I have a confession. My Christmas tree came down late into January this year. The real truth of the matter as well is the only way that it actually came down, was through the help of a gracious friend. Together with my husband, they happily took on this daunting task, while I chipped away at report cards. We then all enjoyed a nice pizza dinner with great conversation, so it was all good in the end. The best part though was that there was no judgement from my friend, but just a sincere willingness to help. The only time that my tree was up longer was when I had Tyler. He was born on January 10th, so that year the tree stayed up well into February. With a new baby and an adjustment to new motherhood, I let myself off the hook. I clearly had more important people and things to attend to.
I have not always been able to be this honest. In years past I could never admit we have cereal for supper sometimes or some days I spend most of the day in my pajamas or I love to sleep in whenever I have the opportunity. In the past I would try to keep those precious little tidbits to myself, for fear of being perceived as somehow “less then,” my peers. Now I find that for the most part, the more I am transparent, the more support I get. It is so awesome! With the support are sincere declarations of “preach it sister” with heartfelt stories of how they too are “right there with me” and that is so liberating. Recently some friends and I were sharing our hearts and another friend was hesitant to share. Another friend kindly said “No judgement here” and that was all it took to get this person to open up. She clearly felt better for it as well. We all need those people we can honestly talk to.
All of us want to look good in front of our family and peers. No one really wants to be seen in their absolute worst moments. When I was working as a social worker, I had a client who seemed to on the surface be making great gains. Up until this point she had shared quite a bit, yet still was somewhat guarded. One day she mentioned that she was about to share something so personal, disappointing and shocking that for certain I would tell her “There’s the door!” To her shock and surprise, her confession was not this terrible and unbelievable thing, but something she had been working on for quite some time. She was emotional as she realized that this was not the end of our professional relationship, but a new beginning. Honesty and trust was being established and it was a powerful moment for both of us.
Life needs to be in balance. We as spouses, parents, and professionals are pulled in many different directions every single day. For whatever reason now more than ever we seem to be wearing way too many hats. It is easy to get down on ourselves if we feel we are not living up to par in some facet of our lives. Perhaps the struggle lies in the fact that we are too overextended and our self-care is greatly lacking. I read a book where the author would always ask her friends “So how is your soul these days?” Her friends would always look at her puzzled as it was not something they often considered, yet the importance of taking good care of ourselves cannot be underestimated. We cannot be of any good to anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
Every journey begins with a single step. Sometimes that first step is the hardest to take. I read an article that had the headliner of something like “Man Loses over 100 Pounds with 1000 Sandwiches.” This definitely got my attention and it was very interesting. The story was about a very obese man who made a decision to just start walking. He was tired of feeling embarrassed, self-conscious and depressed and he knew he had to do something. Every day he walked and each day as the walks became longer, his self-esteem soared as the weigh began to drop off. As a further incentive on his various routes, he handed out sandwiches to homeless people in his area. In total he calculated: km walked, pounds lost and sandwiches distributed. He decided to stop looking at himself with negative judgements and just do something about his situation. He shared that his proudest statistic even above the weight loss, was the amount of sandwiches he handed out, as this gave him the most joy. He looked beyond his struggle and blessed others. This is what we all can do if we are real with each other and help each other keep on keeping on.
The Bible teaches us to bear each other’s burdens and to encourage one another and build each other up. Life is hard, but we are here to help each other. You may feel alone but with good people and God in your life you really are not alone. Be assured good and true friends do not judge, but instead support you in your time of need. The cool thing about being transparent is you feel better and also bless someone else at the same time. You never know who may need that little reassurance that he or she is not the only one barely hanging on. Sounds like a win win situation to me!
Until next time
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Little Lesson Learned: Struggles are real, but you are not alone. Reach out to those who love you.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2016