Faith Self-care

To Be Known

One of the greatest desires of our hearts is to be seen and known. I’ve struggled most of my life with feeling like I’m on the outside looking in or feeling invisible…being the last to the party and not knowing where I fit in.

I started attending a new church a few months ago. I’m thankful for God’s goodness, guidance, and direction, but it was hard and intimidating to leave and go somewhere else. Oh, but what joy is found when we follow where God is calling us to go!

Anyways, I have obviously been meeting and getting to know some new people. I’ve always been a good conversationalist and able to engage with anyone. I’m willing to be the first one to stick my foot in and test the waters of friendship. I’m used to carrying the conversation and asking the questions of others.

However, in getting to know these new people, the tables have been flipped. After meeting people once, they have remembered my name and invited me to hang out. In one on one settings, they have asked me about myself and got me talking. Each time, I’ve apologized for monopolizing the conversation. Each time, I’ve been told that they wanted to hear my story and know me — that we will have plenty of other times to get together and talk…and they continue to invite me to events and engage with me.

I’m not invisible. I’m being seen. I’m being known. And I’m accepted.

It’s a weird feeling. And awesome.

Outside of my amazing husband, with whom I am amazingly known and loved (and my family), this is a new experience for me with strangers and new acquaintances.

I can feel God working in my heart and healing me – addressing the issues that I have stuffed deep and thawing my frozen heart. And maybe someday down the road, I’ll finally learn how to be vulnerable with friends, share my hurts and experiences, and still be known and loved.

I’m wary and nervous, but trusting God as I let myself be seen, known, and loved.

Health and Wellness Self-care

Give Us Grace

This is my second year of teaching P.E. Last year I taught K-5th grade. This year I have K-8th grade…a range of attitudes and personalities. 😉 This also means that instead of teaching two days a week, I now teach 4 days a week.

Teachers do amazing things. I’ve been learning this as I create lesson plans and manage my classroom. But, I think what gets overlooked, is the amount of grace a teacher shows his/her students. I treat each day as a brand new day. If there is a kid that was difficult one day in class, I let it go and don’t carry it to the next time that I see him/her. Every child gets a clean slate every day.

Can I be honest? It’s hard to constantly be letting things go. I’m able to do it with my classes, but I’m noticing that I’m doing a worse job at home. It’s as if I give out all the “grace passes” that I have at school and am empty by the time I get home.

Now, I exaggerate some, but I have noticed how little hurts or frustrations outside of school stick with me more…they swirl around in my subconscious and I have a hard time letting them go. This ends up with me either irritable or in tears.

So, if you have any teacher family and/or friends, give them a little extra grace when they seem irritated or emotional…we’re busy giving grace all day long.

Faith Goals

Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This might be the biggest lie that we teach children. Words wound deeply and can stick with us for years.

I was pondering this on my way to teach P.E. to 5th-8th graders the other day. My first class of the day is 6th grade and my son is in that class. Trying to be funny about not liking the activity we were doing, he said something that hit on my biggest insecurity and took the wind out of my sails. Words hurt.

I’ve seen people I trusted say hurtful things about my family, labeling and accusing, demeaning and laying us bare. Words that cut deeply and left us raw and exposed. Words that are still trying to heal. Words hurt.

I’ve watched my daughter’s anxiety rise as a result of the careless words spoken impulsively by kids she considered her friends. Words hurt.

Words can also heal.

I’ve watched my daughter radiate joy when her brother compliments her on something she has done that is really important to her. Words heal.

I’ve watched my son’s chest expand and smile return as his dad praises his performance and tells him how proud his is of him. Words heal.

I’ve felt acknowledged and affirmed when a new friend has shown genuine care and asked to spend time with me. Words heal.

How are you using your words? Are you using them to lift someone up and encourage them or are you using them to bring others down?

I’m working to pause before speaking and keeping harsh words to myself, because I know how words can hurt.

And I’m choosing to tell someone every day something affirming and encouraging, because I know how words can heal.

“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24, NLT

Faith Family

Choose Kindness

A few years ago, while working as a fitness coach, I received a scathing review from a member. She wrote it on lined paper, didn’t sign her name, and gave it to the front desk one morning. The sales associate read it, called one of the owners, then showed it to me when I arrived for work a couple of hours later.

As I read it, I felt humiliated and defeated as this person lit into me, degrading me and saying I shouldn’t be there…all because of one class where I misread the template and made a mistake.

Because the note was for the owner and not written to me (just about me), it was scanned and then left at the front desk…where everyone who worked there could read it. I was determined not to let it bother me and to learn from it, but honestly, I felt crushed and defeated.

Never once did this member talk to me while I worked there. She could have nicely approached me during the workout or after it. She didn’t know me, my heart, what my day was like, etc. but felt she had the place to criticize and demolish me.

In the Fall/Winter of 2019, my son joined a travel soccer team. He was the new player on a team that had been together for a few years. During one of their indoor games, a teammate was called for a bad throw-in. The parents around me (who I was just getting to know) were trying to figure out what happened since it was at the far part of the field. I joined the conversation and said what he did incorrectly on that throw. Then we continued to watch them win the game.

That evening, I received a nasty email from the player’s mom berating and demeaning me because I said there was something wrong with her son’s throw-in. I was mortified and thought that everyone must hate me and would it effect my son. To make things even worse, she included the coach in the email. I kindly apologized and explained that I wasn’t criticizing her son, just talking about why the ref said it was an illegal throw-in, etc.

Never once did she ever acknowledge me or say ‘hi’ to me at any practice or game. While the other parents got to know me, she ignored me. She could have talked to me after the game. She didn’t need to copy the coach on the email. She knew nothing about me, my kid, my heart, etc. but she felt it was okay to crush me and make me feel small.

Here’s the thing about both of these stories (and I’m sure you have your own to add): we all make mistakes and are misunderstood. I don’t mind constructive criticism because that is how I grow as a person, but there is never a reason to verbally abuse and demean another person. As Jesus said, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” (John 8:7)

Who of us hasn’t said something they wish they could take back? Who of us hasn’t hurt someone unexpectedly? Who of us hasn’t something taken the wrong way by someone else?

How about instead of lashing out we choose kindness. Realize that you are no better than that person and show forgiveness and grace. Is there a place to call someone out when something is wrong? Of course. But how you do it makes all the difference. Don’t be a jerk. Be kind.