May 31, 2021
I know, I know … it’s a direct question. Honestly, I’m in a season where straight shooting is becoming more of the norm. So there’s that.
You might be wondering where this question stemmed from.
The other day, I had the pleasure of spending time in my backyard. After a windy and rainy season in the mid-South, it felt wonderful to do some landscaping. And a couple of hours in, I decided to pause and take stock of the work I’d completed.
That’s when it dawned on me. It was something about looking down, with the leaves of 2020 nestled around my feet, that helped me recognize just how much I’d neglected myself last year.
See, beyond the pandemic, 2020 was riddled with heartache. My dad died in March 2020, and I carried guilt associated with not being able to be present throughout the last week of his life in ICU. Intellectually, I know this was related to hospital restrictions due to COVID-19. However, that did nothing to soothe my aching heart.
The guilt thrust me into a space where saying ‘no’ proved difficult, and I found myself doing things that didn’t honor my time or emotional needs. Deep down, I think I was attempting to emotionally repent for what I considered abandonment at the time of my dad’s death. Dying alone was his greatest fear, after all.
So I rationalized my self-betrayal by celebrating the fact that other’s needs were met without taking my own into account.
We live in a society where loyalty to self is viewed as selfish. And I get it. Of course, we must balance the focus on ourselves with loyalties to our faith, family and friends, and community. I’m certainly not a fan of the ‘it’s all about me’ revolution I see manifested in today’s world.
I’d argue, nevertheless, that our never-ending to-do lists and commitment to everyone else but ourselves creates the perfect environment for emotional resentment and exhaustion. I recall moments last year, after saying ‘yes’ to someone, when I literally felt bitterness growing inside. Yet I continued to plant and water the seeds.
Months after my dad died, I made the decision to let go of the feeling that I hadn’t been enough and moved towards the reality that I’d always been enough in our relationship. Though I wasn’t physically present at the time of my dad’s death, he didn’t die alone. God was there. What a relief! The emotional shackles that had weighted me down fell to the ground, and freedom arrived.
Remember my mention of straight shooting? Sit with yourself, ask the question, and tell the truth. The consequence of not doing so is great. And you know what?
You’re worth more than that.
Share what you discover below. I can’t wait to hear!
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