My son was doing his virtual learning this morning, and I walked by him when this clip from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas was playing. The Grinch turns in his chair with great expectation to have a large fulfilling breakfast and with great dismay finds that the only thing left to eat was one bean. One bean! “It’s impossible,” he rants “we can’t be out of food. Where’s my personal reserve of moose juice, and goose juice, my emergency stash of who hash?!” The Grinch thinks back to preparing enough food back in January and comes to this question, “HOW MUCH EMOTIONAL EATING HAVE I BEEN DOING?” The film then leads into a wonderous montage of him eating mounds of food in times of his distress.
When I heard and briefly watched this clip as I walked by my son, I couldn’t help but break out in deep laughter. My goodness, to think about how much I have been emotionally eating to help me get through this. This moment. This pandemic. This virtual learning. This constantly changing way of living that is completely out of my control (where are the cookies?).
How are you? Like, how are you really? Take a minute and a deep breath. Consider the way your heart feels, the way your hands move, and the rhythm of your heartbeat. I’ll start. I’m overwhelmed. This virtual learning since the end of March (with a nice summer break that we took full advantage of) has been an enormous amount of additional responsibility. Add on working, taking care of a family, house, animals, and all of our regular activities.
My responsibilities seem crushing at times. I’m the caretaker of my family. I’m a mama: I run the media and marketing here at The Tabernacle. I freelance: I manage breakfasts and lunches and dinners and meetings and schedules and production calendars and playdates. I have a lot going on. I want to be everything to everyone, so I’m running on empty these days, even though I know better.
How do we begin to have grace for ourselves in these situations? In my head, I know it means forgiving myself for my mess and finding peace in my circus. But if you’re like me, it’s easier said than done. It all comes down to this question: What good are we when we’re overwhelmed, overbooked, and overcommitted?
You’re a living breathing vessel of love, and so am I. We need care, rest, nutrients, and full hearts to be able to speak life into the people we love.
In Galatians, we read, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve on another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (5:13-14). The last line of that passage is so powerful: love your neighbor as yourself. We usually think of that command as centering around others. But it’s about us too. God is telling us to love, nurture, and care for ourselves and to love others that much as well. I don’t know about you, but if I loved and nurtured my neighbor (or my children!) the same way I care for myself sometimes, I wouldn’t be doing any of them a whole lot of good.
Give yourself permission to slow down. In fact, give yourself permission to just stop. Press pause as much as possible and take inventory of your life. What are your commitments and responsibilities? What can go? What are your priorities? What can you say no to?
What would your life look like if you let your well be filled, even for just five minutes a day, with the things that make you feel deeply alive? It’s not as hard as it seems to infuse your life with tiny moments of joy that will soon add up to a spiritual shift. Wake up 20 minutes early to savor your favorite dark roast coffee. Put pictures of your last beach trip on your desk. Ditch the dirty kitchen counter tonight for five minutes of being present with your family. Invest in yourself. You get out what you put in.
Together we’ll be more than conquerors,