I did have a passing desire to be like her and do something super generous for the world. 37 random acts of kindness in celebration. Seems like everyone's blogged about it. Everyone was all fired up a few months ago to do copycat birthday celebrations in one way or another. It's sincerely a great and inspired idea. And honestly, I totally DON'T want to do it.
Maybe because Christmas just ended, but I feel like I've just done 37 things for others. But times 10. I'm tired of doing and cooking and decorating and making every single thing intentional. I just want to get a pedicure and an ice tea on my birthday.
A piece of me feels sort of lame and selfish about that, but God is speaking to my heart. He's graciously reminding me that He wants us to take sometimes. After all, how can He fill me up if I don't take time to receive anything from Him?
What if my husband and children and friends all selected and wrapped beautiful gifts for me today and I left them unopened on the counter. Let's say all birthday long, I busied around, taking care of everyone else while they stood there staring. Then the next day, I kept on doing the same. I could not stop giving long enough to receive. I ministered at church, helped with homework, prayed for someone, fed the dog, watched her kids, called grandma, washed their clothes, made them dinner, read a story, sang a song, and picked up the mess. Just what if I never opened their gifts? What if I didn't see myself as valuable enough to stop, in order to let them give to me?
I do not want to be that woman who neglects to open the gifts God has for me.
I do not want to be someone who neglects her own soul care and calls it "giving."
(And yes, I just implied that getting an ice tea and a pedicure could constitute "soul care". It most certainly can, if those things are simply a vehicle to taking time out in order to remember who I am, and whose I am. Of course, if getting a tea and a pedicure are just part of the busying around, it doesn't count at all.)
I do really try to let God refresh me and bless me. I try to open His gifts. And not reluctantly, but with enthusiasm. With a hopeful expectation too, knowing that He is an awesome gift giver, desiring to meet my deepest needs.
I will say that being able to stop and receive blessings and refreshment from the Lord is a tricky business. It takes some vulnerability, and I know women who can't seem to do it. Either they feel unworthy, or they don't understand the importance of letting Him refresh our souls from time to time. In both cases, a better grasp of grace is needed. Grace is simply favor God has for us that we don't deserve. It has nothing to do with worthiness. It's just free love. It is room to be regular you, all performing switched off.
Grace is as important as air for us to function rightly. God doesn't need burnt out martyrs; He needs strong, healthy followers. Putting aside God's huge storehouse of blessings and refreshment and joy and love for us in the name of serving is just not His desire.
I know Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. It's the foundation of everything I believe. But sometimes we forget how much time He spent alone. Talking with His father, or his best pals. Relaxed. Getting filled back up.
Heck, back in those dirt-road days, had there been a Happy Nail in sight, He may have even gotten a pedicure. I'm just sayin'.