For the last two weeks I've felt...stuck
Kind of like back in pre-smartphone days, when a CD would get 'stuck' or 'skip' and the same line of the song keeps restarting over and over again but can never quite get past that scratched and ruined place. And at some point, you just walk over and turn the stereo off.
That's what life's been like.
Anxiety, heavy grief, and fear etching it's way into the life song on my heart and it started sounding...weary.
Over the weekend at the brink of it all...I decided to finally "turn the stereo off". Sometimes, we forget how badly we need to put ourselves first. And before we know it - burn out settles in and all those little things that we've continued to stuff down deep start billowing out
And even though I had no idea what that was supposed to look like, I knew I needed to unplug...to run away...to do some self-care.
At first, it was messy and scattered. I was in a coffee shop in another town when I had this realization, so if I was doing this- it meant taking off with only the items I had in the car with me. I had no plan and spent some time scouring the web for sage advice on how to squeeze the most out of this short time off-call. What I found instead were endless Pinterest posts telling me how to work self-care into my daily routine (which is a great idea for sure) but for today I needed something more. So I decided to make it up as I went...and as the weekend progressed, I got better at it.
My only goals: to unplug and refresh.
Unplugging meant several different things for me. First- no work. No budgeting, worrying about credit card bills or to-do lists. No working on any project that wasn't selfishly filling myself up only. And although many might assume I just turned my phone off- I chose not to, because people fill me up too. So I was extremely diligent about only picking up the phone when I absolutely wanted to...and there was a very short list of people who knew what I was up to and were allowed into my space.
The 'refreshing' part of my weekend felt selfish. Instead of feeling guilty about it, I chose to embrace it and indulge in whatever my heart felt like at any given moment. With all the money and time and resources I waste in other areas of my life, surely I could afford to invest it all in myself this time. And once I gave myself permission for that, I felt set free.
What that looked like for me was driving to a completely different city and staying away from my routines.
It looked like standing out on a windy pier watching the sunset paint the sky while I sobbed my grief over the lake.
It looked like wandering through the botanical gardens on a whim and without a map, letting my questions to God tumble out over themselves.
It looked like walking down a quiet street and eating breakfast for lunch at a quirky cafe, while conversations of strangers echoed through the room.
Like curling up at the edge of Lake Austin buried in 200 pages of that book I've been meaning to read for months.
And as I finish the day sitting on the deck of a bustling coffee shop, the rest of my Amy's Ice Cream unashamedly melting in it's cup next to me, with the breeze blowing out over the green water and worship music filling the air... I intuitively know that I've received exactly what I needed....
Rest......and for this moment at least, my heart is full.
So, for the person out there in the same place I was- carry this home with you:
Take care of yourself well.
Even if you work the craziest schedule (Hello, on-call midwife here!) carve out space for yourself no matter what it takes. Find that sitter, cancel those meetings, leave the dishes stacked high. The 'perfect day' will never come unless you make it a priority...don't wait until you're a puddle of tears in the middle of the store before you decide to make it happen. Even if only for a few hours.
I won't promise that it will be a 'magical fix' to all of life's problems. Believe me- I'm leaving with more questions than I came with, and my desk is still waiting for me piled high with Post-It notes...but it will make dealing with those things a little easier when you get back. You deserve a moment to invest in yourself.
To pause and see the goodness of God in the things around you.
To remember the promises that are there to carry you when you can't see the whole plan.
Let Jesus smooth over those areas where the burdens of this world have scratched thin. Your heart and mind and family and friends and life-purpose will all be better off for it.