I am pretty sure that I am not the only person who puts undue pressure upon themselves, pressure to somehow be better, to be seen to be better, to be part of something. I know it’s crazy but I often feel like I am on he outside looking in, but then I have to remind myself, that this is where I like being. Take this weekend for example, lots of my friends are heading to, or already at Greenbelt, they are sharing pictures of their tents, looking forward to catching up, etc, etc. I have been to Greenbelt a few times, and it was okay… but I don’t want to camp, and while I could find a hotel the thought of driving in and out each day, and then squashing into tents to hear people talk about stuff I could comfortably sit in my garden and read about doesn’t thrill me! I am not criticising those who go and love it, but I am acknowledging that it’s not for me. As a deep introvert a quick catch up with a couple of people leaves me exhausted, the thought of more than that is utterly overwhelming. I love what Greenbelt stands for, but I don’t want to go, so why do I feel the pressure to join in???
The there’s personal stuff, four years ago I lost a lot of weight and felt good, I was fitter and smaller than I had been for years. The lockdown hit and I struggled physically and mentally, I wasn’t one of those who took up running, or even walking that much, living on my own meant isolation was extreme, despite the interminable Zoom meetings that broke into my days as we tried to answer endless unanswerable questions. There were times when I just didn’t know what to do when others were looking to me for answers. The I caught Covid, and it landed me in hospital, and set of gallbladder issues. The result I am struggling to get back to fitness and need to loose weight again, but I also acknowledge that I need to be in the right headspace for that, and that the mental health struggles began to outweigh the physical struggles, add to this the little voice withing that says, “you should be fit and healthy, you’ve let yourself go etc…” or ” you need to make better lifestyle choices”. The reality however is that I need at this moment in time to be gentle with myself, to allow myself the time and space to begin to recover, not to set a 3 stone weight loss goal and beat myself up for failing. It is the same with fitness, I want to be fitter, but to decide that I will train for a 5k, or similar right now would be utterly counterproductive! I may be there in a couple of months time, but now is not that time.
Other questions flood in, can I still do the work that I am called to? I know the answer to that is yes, and while September and October are always busy meeting filled months I know that I don’t need to chase myself in small circles to achieve things. I tell myself that I have nothing to prove, and yet somehow the subtle push to prove something creeps in…
What do I do, how can I be gentle with myself? Maybe I need to look to Jesus for my example, maybe….okay, I am looking to Jesus for my example, he was pretty good at taking time out, at making space for prayer and for being, his first call upon the disciples was that they would BE with him:
He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word.
Now while I might enter into an argument about the fact that these were 12 men who were named, and that the gospel writer had excluded the women, etc etc, that is not the point that I need to take in right now, right now it is the call to be. I am called to BE! More than that I am called to be me! Right now I am a rather unfit, overweight introvert who is putting a lot of pressure upon herself to be something else, but I can be nothing but be me, and to take it from there. I can also acknowledge that it’s okay to be an introvert, and that I don’t have to enjoy festivals, or be in with the perceived in crowd ( this is one that I invent in my head) . I can and do enjoy discussions and debates on a smaller scale, crowds overwhelm me ant that’s okay, it’s okay to be me! I can BE, and start from there. The same applies to my desire to loose weight again, it’s no good beating myself up for putting in weight again, what I can do instead though is begin to make the choices that I know will make a difference, I am not going to wake up tomorrow 3 stone lighter, so I can only be where I am. I can BE me and start from here. The same goes for fitness, a 12 mile hike would likely finish me off right now, but I can be me, and starting from here I can build up my fitness. I can BE me and start from here…
I could keep writing myself lists of things I want to do, or feel that I ought to do, but instead I am going to choose to start my journey onward with being, and specifically being in Christ, where from a focused centre I can begin from a place of rest and acceptance, because it is okay for me to be me!