A favorite Bible verse I often quote is Proverbs 27:1…”boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”(KJV) If ever a verse held universal truth, it is this one. We really never know what a day might bring our way, of good or not so good.
We have had some interesting days of late, with our mail being stolen twice. Once was a box that had been delivered to our front porch, after dark. The second happened this week when a stranger took our outgoing Christmas letters from our mailbox that had our flag up. Another stranger happened to see the first man walking and seemingly dropping mail along the way. Second stranger went and picked up the mail, discovering it was from our house. Thankfully, the second man (who is a former marine, former policeman, current postal worker on leave for a physical injury) came to our door to share what he had witnessed.
I was grateful for this second stranger for a couple reasons, one being so we could know that some people on our Christmas card list might not be getting their letters we mailed. The second reason is because I planned to mail a couple of more valuable cards the next day, and because of this second stranger, I sent those to the post office with my husband for him to mail them. I’m thankful for a stranger willing to help in the midst of his busy day…
Yet, on the other hand, even though these incidents surprised us and left us feeling violated and unsure of who to trust, our experience with the mail this holiday season is a mild setback compared to what others are facing when their days bring forth much more than they desired to know or experience. I’m thinking of a couple of friends who have lost loved ones this Christmastime, and still others who have received the cancer diagnosis that isn’t curable, who know that goodbyes are not too far away. There are also friends and others on my heart who are facing financial unknowns and hardships, as well as those struggling with difficult emotional challenges.
We truly don’t know what a day will bring into our lives. This is why living my best each day has become more and more important to me. I am still learning and growing, developing disciplines that move me forward towards holistic wellness. I do this for others in my life; I do this to honor my relationship with God, and I do this for my own self.
Self-care gets a bad rap in Christian circles. Many believers think we must always sacrifice every aspect of self in order to put others first. However, if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, “loving ourselves”, well, then we cannot be fully able to love God and others well.
For myself, at this time, as I’ve written the last couple of months, my focus is on physical self-care. The last couple weeks haven’t been so stellar in this area. Who am I kidding…? The last two weeks have been pretty bad, with eating wrong, lack of true exercise, and missing the mark with consistent taking of my new med.
My goal for the holidays was to maintain the small forward progress I had made. That hasn’t been so true the last couple of weeks; however, I have been very aware, and for me, awareness means I’m learning. I’ve been observing myself, my behaviors and habits, my reactions to my med, to exercise, to food.
I’ve seen that my new medication does actually seem to be working, though I didn’t really think it was. Also, after I worked hard in the yard last evening, raking the last of our leaves and bagging them, I had such a better sense of the good I feel when I do that kind of physical work, and also a relief of my anxiety (it’s a much better feeling than when I drink a Coca Cola to ease my stress!). I’ve also observed how yucky I feel when I give in to eat the cookies that are lying around instead of a veggie or fruit.
So, I believe today will be a better day and this coming week will be more on target, even with Christmas baking still to do and the anxiety of company coming to manage. I feel hopeful and have an underlying sense of that joy I’ve been clinging to all this year since epiphany.
My plan is to write consistently from Christmas day to epiphany, to celebrate and understand better the true “twelve days of Christmas”, and to wrap up this year of my focus on joy. I also hope to hone my focus onto others, to be holding people in my heart whom I won’t be seeing this season, to do for those around me now that I can take the opportunity to see, even if for only a few moments, and to also re-claim some of my own boundaries that are needed in order for me to properly take care of myself.
All of that to say that I encourage you on this shortest day of the year to consider what it means to live each day with the knowledge that you do not know what tomorrow may bring. We can make plans, and we should, but we also must live with the awareness that our plans may never come to fruition, that life may interrupt them or that death may steal them. Let’s make the most of each moment, be present where we are, and quit putting off til tomorrow what we can do today.
I pray God’s blessings for you, for Christmas and always. May your family and friend time be rich and full….but if it isn’t, and even if it is, may you truly sense God’s presence and His deep, deep love for you.