Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Be Gentle

As much as I love guest posts, I never know how to follow them because they are always so fun, creative and other-than-me. I enjoy seeing what they come up with and seeing their insight and I am always so humbled that they would take the time to write something for my blog. So thank you Jori and all my other guest posters, I am so privileged to have you in my life.

Speaking about blogs, one of my guilty pleasures is going to Postsecret.com every Sunday and seeing their new posts. Before you run off and check out their blog let me warn/tell you about it. A man named Frank decided to create a project where he welcomed people to send in their anonymous secrets on custom made cards. Frank will then select a number of these mini works of art and will post them on his blog. Some of the secrets are funny, relatable, shameful, creepy, off-putting, offensive, touching, and/or freeing. 

A few weeks ago I came across a secret that I really loved and I have decided to include it in my 2014 goals. Most of my goals are more elusive and it is difficult to measure any success but they are there none the less. 

Note: this is not my secret and I do not have an eating disorder, or at least that I know of.

This past year I have realized just how harsh and unforgiving I am with myself. I know I have high standards for myself and "everyone is their own harshest critic" but I have been almost cruel. I recognize the need to treat others with a gentle spirit and I try to be a person of grace and sensitivity when it comes to others ("try" is the operative word here). But when I read this secret it really resonated with me and I realized that I have not recognized my own need for gentleness. Gentleness physically, in my identity, spiritually, socially, etc. When I see a physical flaw I will mercilessly attack it with harsh chemicals or drown it with an excessive amount of healthy remedies. Consuming clay, teas, vitamins, oils, water, etc. is good but when done in excess and abruptly it will only send your body into a whirlwind. When I don't meet a deadline, or someone's expectations, instead of encouraging myself to do better next time (as I would do with someone else) I bombard myself with destructive criticism.  

Even writing this makes me feel somewhat strange. Like revealing this not-so-secret (as it turns out, such behavior is evident to others) part about myself makes me feel ashamed. What person can't be nice to themselves? Perhaps my fear of others' judgement causes me to judge myself more harshly so that I won't ever have to meet someone else's criticism. Like making jabbing jokes about yourself in order to cut everyone to the chase or something. At the heart of it, this may be an issue of living for an audience of many instead of that audience of One. So instead of just telling myself to be nice as I have in the past, I have a heart issue to attend to. 

This morning I was reading from "Streams in the Desert" and feel the story is relevant for this post and will share it with you. 

A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine a fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heartsease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. "Well, heartsease, I'm glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened." "No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heartsease, I am determined to be the best little heartsease that I can."

They who are God's without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in nakedness find all things restored a hundredfold.

So today, and each day be the best heartsease you can be, worship with your life, and be gentle with yourself. 



Whitney Conard said...

*love* this, rachelle. i needed this reminder. so often i am not gentle with myself OR others, and it hurts. reminds me of the story of the servant who owed the king millions of dollars, who was given grace, but then turned around and threw his coworker in prison over a hundred bucks. i've received so much grace and only when i recognize that, will i be able to extend it to others!

Rachelle Hamilton said...

Very well said! I'm glad you liked the post. It was certainly something that I knew with head knowledge but never really struck me until I read the post on postsecret. And I can totally see the connection with that parable, too good.