This morning I woke up with the worst backache. As a matter of fact, I've had a backache for weeks. My neck has also been strained for the past week. Not to mention that I am moving in a little over a month, and I haven't started packing yet. Oh, and I'm having people over next Friday, so I have to clean. And I can't very well have boxes all over the place when they come. Work was terrible this past week. Actually, it's been pretty bad since the semester started. I could probably count on one hand the days someone (or I) DIDN'T cry in my office. In the past month. We're down two counselors right now, so I am seeing my students as well as other "counselor-less" students. There have been at least two major crises that I had to spend time getting taken care of. So yes...I have a lot going on. And dang. I'm not even a wife or mother, I wonder what it would be like to add those to the mix. Although I think I'll be happier, I also know from experience that men and children require tons of time, effort, patience, and sacrifice. That's time, effort, patience, and sacrifice that I barely give to myself as a single woman now.
I have a list of things to do today. Shred old bills, clean the living room and bathroom, vacuum, and do laundry. Yet I didn't wake up until 11 am, after spending the day yesterday exhausted and unable to do much of anything. So when I woke up (at 11 am), I thought, "Oh my goodness, I just wasted another day, and I have so much to do." But this backache was the only thing I could think of. Most of the time the ache is in my lower back. This time it extended from my neck throughout my entire back. It felt as if my back was screaming, "I HURT."
I thought about driving to the gym, but that would entail putting gas in my car, then driving the 15 minutes it takes to get to the gym, working out for over an hour, then 15 minutes back. By that time, the day would almost be over for me. I made the decision to do 20 minutes of yoga. The best invention ever: Exercise TV on Demand. I found a yoga workout that includes cardio. I just finished it. And guess what? My back really doesn't hurt anymore, and all of a sudden, my mind was clear to think about what is important. Not all of that stuff I ranted about in the previous two paragraphs. It became so clear to me what is essential for my survival, my happiness, and my peace.
Exercise: I hate the idea of preparing to exercise. I keep thinking about this gym membership I pay for, and it upsets me so much not to be able to go to the gym as often as I want to, but the truth is, I really don't have the time to make the trip every day. So, on the days I don't go, why can't I just do 20 minutes of something that I find on Exercise TV on Demand? Because I told myself, "It's not okay to skip the gym. I pay for it." So I do nothing? How does that help?
So, today I'm telling myself, "It's okay to skip the gym, but I have to exercise, because it makes my body feel great, and it clears my mind. So whatever form that takes, I am exercising. As often as possible."
Prayer and Worship: I love God. Everyone may not feel the same way, or even believe in God, but I literally have a heart full of love for God, because things have happened in my life that I believe could only have happened because God saw the pinch I was in, and He rescued me. However, for years I thought that loving God meant I had to get up at 5 am every morning, get on my knees, pray and praise God for at least a half hour, then read the Bible. When I tried that, I would either fall asleep before I could get out of bed, or I would fall asleep while kneeling next to my bed. Also, sometimes I'm so tired, I can't put the thoughts together to pray. Or, I would start praying, then I would be overwhelmed by my prayer requests, and I would feel helpless. Um, this praying to God was becoming more stressful than peaceful. What I've noticed is that it's much easier to have a relationship with God when I tell Him I love Him, and then thank Him for the ways He has shown me He loves me. He already knows my circumstances. He knows everything that concerns me. And His Word says in Psalm 138:8: "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me." That means He's got it under control, and He's going to make sure that all of my concerns are worked out.
So, today I'm telling myself, "It's okay not to get up at 5 am to pray, or to even list all of my concerns to God. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. I will tell Him I love Him, I will sing songs of praise and worship with the gift of singing He has given me, I will check in with Him anytime I need Him, and I will be quiet so that my spirit can be free to hear what He wants to say to me, and so that He can lead me and guide me in the way I should go."
Writing: All day, every day, I have thoughts that need to be written down. Even if those thoughts don't necessarily lead to whole blog posts or essays or books, they are important thoughts. These are the thoughts that many times I would write in my journal. However, I've told myself that I'm being self-indulgent when I do that. I've told myself that I have real work to do, so I can't spend the time writing in my journal or even turning my computer on to post on this blog. That's wasting my time, the time I could be cleaning or doing laundry or doing something for someone else. But I've noticed that when I post something, or even update my facebook or twitter status with these thoughts, they resonate with someone. I can't recount the comments or emails I've received thanking me for a blog post, note, or facebook status update. What I write touches people. And HELLO, I've dreamed of writing a book for so long, maybe I should be putting more time and energy into writing, no?
So, today I'm telling myself, "It's okay to write, even when I have other things to do. I will make the time to write. Writing is like breathing to me, and when I do it, I reach a new level of awareness, and my heart and soul connect to the hearts and souls of those who enjoy reading my writing."
If you don't do what you love to do, you won't love doing what you're doing. I'm exercising, praying and worshiping God, and writing so that I can let LOVE flow through my mind, heart, soul and body, not pain.
Do it for YOU. Tell yourself it's okay. And others will surely benefit from it.