This morning I received an email from a friend who laid out what he hadn't done well in the last year. It was almost a confession of sin, although he hadn't sinned. I replied to him that I hadn't done enough to help him in his ministry, and that he is a devoted person for whom I am grateful, and then I hit 'send.'
Ten minutes later I send a P.S. email, asking him to be gentle with himself. It occurred to me that I am often like him, focusing on what I'm not doing well, rather than focusing on what I am doing well. And, the words of my spiritual director had come to mind: be gentle with yourself.
Almost every month she says this to me. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to be human. Recognize what you are doing well. Know that God loves you. Accept your circumstances and ask God to change you in those circumstances. And, oh, be gentle with yourself.
If a problem is persisting in your life, and you are fighting for a solution, be gentle with yourself.
If you've made a mistake and are chastising yourself for it, be gentle with yourself.
If you are looking at your past, and wishing you had done things differently, remember that you can't rewind the past, and be gentle with yourself.
If life seems overwhelming and you can't seem to get ahead, be gentle with yourself.
In life, there are struggles and storms. We are either in the midst of a storm, have just come through a storm, or a storm is coming up. Wherever you are in life, be gentle with yourself. Know that God loves you and is walking with you.