One of the biggest lessons I have learned since being diagnosed with colitis two years ago is to have grace for myself. I have found that I don’t have the same capacity or stamina for the things I enjoy doing and I have been working on finding a “new normal.” It’s a term I have heard so much more than I want to lately, and one that I honestly am still getting used to. For me it feels like a cop out, saying, “this is my new normal,” and then not doing things the same way. I used to view it with an extremely negative connotation, but it doesn’t have to be negative. I think the important thing to understand is we are all changing, life is a process, a journey, and we all go and grow at different rates. So, my new normal can just mean different, and different isn’t always bad. I can still live my life; it just looks a bit different these days. That’s where the grace comes in. If I want to spend an hour walking but wake up feeling terrible, I might just do some yoga or go for a 10-minute walk. I do what I can. If we have plans for a nice dinner out but I end the day feeling lousy, it is time for take-out and a movie. I do what I can. It isn’t always about what you are doing but that you are doing something. If you can’t run a marathon, do a mile jog. At least you are doing something and that’s better than nothing! Start small! Don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t do. Honor your health and be grateful for what you can do.
This message isn’t just for those who are dealing with a chronic illness in your life. Having grace for ourselves is something that everyone could use more of in their life. If you are a mom of three and the list of chores is piling up, pick one, start small, do what you can. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to get everything done. If you have projects at home, projects at work, projects with your kids, and projects at church, start small, say no to some things and yes to others. You don’t have to do it all. Do what you can and don’t beat yourself up for not being the “perfect” parent, employee, church attendee. We only have one life, and I don’t know about you but I want to live mine the best way I can, not trying to push myself till I collapse.
Now, go smile at yourself in the mirror and have grace for who you see!