A special thanks to Ann Voskamp for the inspiration to write this “Dear Me” letter. Sometimes, slowing down to discern where we’ve been and where we want to go is the best gift we can offer ourselves.
Remember to breathe. When the to-do list mocks, the kids squabble, and the noise is deafening, breathe.
Breathe, and then remind yourself that God didn’t ask you to gut this out through sheer willpower. Instead, he is inviting you to lean into his grace. And grace is God’s work to accomplish what you cannot do for yourself.
God is waiting to set you free, slow you down, lead you into joy, give you peace, and offer you a million unexpected surprises. Beautiful surprises.
Slow your pace to admire Black-eyed Susans as they bow in the summer sunbeams. Sit to observe the red-bellied woodpeckers as they cling to the feeder. Take off your shoes and plunge your feet into the rippling creek water. Maybe even do something spontaneous like diving headfirst into the clear, cold water. Be wild. Be free. Take yourself about a thousand times less seriously.
These are not emergency days; they are grace days. They’re all grace days. And grace is yours for the taking.
Take your agenda less seriously.
Sit to watch the fuchsia glow hover over the western tree line after the little ones have been tucked beneath thin summer bed sheets.
Listen as birdsong gets tangled in the lanky arms of the yellow poplar while the coffee drips black at dawn.
Walk through the ragged gold of summer wheat fields—palms outstretched to touch the fruit of another growing season.
Listen as the rolling hills tell their stories of sleeping winters, expectant springtimes, and lush summer days filled with hope and abundance.
Hold all things with open hands—your kids, your friendships, your expectations, and your greatest dreams.
Stop burying your weaknesses and trying to overcompensate for them. Your weaknesses are God’s platforms. He waits to make his power known in your weakest places.
Be vulnerable with others. Your cracks let the Light shine through.
Step into raging rivers. The miracle often comes after the first step—before the evidence of the provision.
Don’t Fear Hard Things
Let fear, anxiety, and worry serve as prompts that send you running to the arms of Jesus. Don’t fear the fear. The fear can take you deeper into his love.
And when your heart breaks into a thousand scattered shards, don’t rush to clean up the mess. Don’t hurry to fix the brokenness or run through the valley of the shadow of death. Don’t put your hope in your ability to straighten your circumstances. Instead, put your hope in the Shepherd. He is right beside you in the valley. He is your Living Hope.
Instead of clinging to control, steward God’s assignments and leave the outcomes in his hands.
Instead of walking into crowded places and wondering what people think about you, walk into crowded places and ask, “Who can I love and encourage?”
Resist the urge to run from God after you stumble into that ugly besetting sin; instead, run to him in the middle of the mess. He is waiting to set you free.
Chase Kindness, Even Toward Yourself
Instead of criticizing yourself, be tender with yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat the most precious child in your life.
Don’t shove junk into your mouth to fill an emotional void, grab your love handles when you look in the mirror, or complain about your stretch marks. You wouldn’t treat your most precious loved one like this, so don’t do it to yourself. God sees you the way you see the most precious child in your life, and he wants you to treat yourself with loving compassion.
When you start to feel sorry for yourself as you scrub the toilets, wash the grime off the walls, and do the hard, hidden work, find reasons to give thanks for the people who make the messes in your life. Wave a playful hand and say, “Oh, those sweet kids . . .”
Don’t get all fussed up over the balled-up socks on the living room floor, the stinking wet towels in the hallway, and the stubble in the shower. Smile and say, “Oh, that sweet guy of mine . . .”
When the daily grind wears you down, step back and find something to relish: a smile, a strawberry, a cold glass of water, or the way a flickering candle casts gaunt shadows on the wall.
Dear Me, Lean into the Giver
Lastly, stop beating yourself up in the moments when you feel like a spiritual failure. Remember the One who chases you down and lean into his love. Drink deeply from his Word. Soak in his presence. Pour out your heart in worship. Let him light a fire in your heart, and then go and carry that fire to a broken, hurting, hungry world.
Grace awaits. A thousand times a day, choose to lean into grace. The Giver of all grace is waiting.
Your Invitation to Write Your Own “Dear Me” Letter:
I encourage you to find a quiet place and write your own “Dear Me” letter. These are not emergency days; they are grace days. They’re all grace days. And grace is yours for the taking.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe