It is 9:00 am and I am sitting in my pj’s and writing, actually writing to stop myself from beating myself up, because today I had promised myself that I would get up in time to go for a swim, and I find that I don’t have the energy to. Getting back to properly regular swimming is on my Sabbatical to do list! What I am forgetting as I beat myself up is that I woke at 5:20 am feeling thoroughly out of sorts, achy glands and feeling sick. I fed the cats ( who were obviously starving) made myself a mint tea and went back to bed. It is 9:02 now, and I am feeling better, but a bit fragile, time to stop beating myself up then…
But then the voice starts again, “exercise is good for your mental health as well as your physical health”, and “you are paying for the gym/swim membership, you’re wasting it…”
Time then to say a big “SHUT-UP” and just be, to myself….
Then I acknowledge that I am terrible at being, yes I am a creative, an artist ( learning to accept that now) and a poet (not always good), but those two things are doing things, they may lead others into being, and while they can spring from simple being I find that my way to just be needs to be more active. So I walk to be, and I swim to be, and sometimes on a mountain top ( okay hill top) I find that I am found.
Yet I find myself found at other times too, recently sat watching a hedge full of fledgling Long-tailed Tits coming to the bird-feeder, there were 10 of them, just amazing. I can be found by a phrase in a book, in a conversation with a friend, when we both find that God has been there in the conversation. I can be found in the eyes of a homeless man on the street, and in the sharing of a chocolate chip cookie.
So why the pressure, why when Jesus called his disciples to be with him do I struggle to be, and why when my deepest desire is to be Mary rather than Martha am I beating myself up for sleeping in during a period of time that is set aside to be rest?
Some of it is perfectionism, and to those who think that making time to swim, to walk and to create is not me putting pressure on myself think again, I know I need those things and feel guilt when I don’t do them…
Then I pause to ponder that I cannot be alone in this, and that I suspect that there are many of us who put ourselves under pressure day by day, we may write or hold in our heads the things that must be done, but the list is there, the fear of failure is there, the need to prove something is there.
Today then, in this moment I am challenging myself to lay some of my expectations down, and to remember the words that Jesus spoke to Peter when Peter had declared him to be the Messiah, the Holy One of God…
“I will build my church”
I will build it, not you, I will build it and all I am asking of you is that you be in relationship with me… I will build it with you and through you if you remain in my unforced rhythms of grace, if you remain connected to the vine, letting the relationship be intimate and organic ( Refs from Matthew 16: 18, Matthew 11: 28-30, and John 15: 5-8).
So maybe today I need to learn to be kinder to myself, maybe I needed to write this rather than swim, to tell myself to relax, to not worry, and to laugh a bit at myself for the impossible pile of books that I must read in between the swimming, walking and creating I am planning to do….
Be still and know says the Psalmist…. be still…. okay Loving God, but bear with me because I am finding this hard!