This last spring I went on a vacation to South Beach, Miami. I stayed at a place right on the beach near the pier, the most affluent and expensive part of town. I was able to do so because of a deal I found online and a free flight voucher, not because I’m wealthy. I mean, I still get groceries from the food shelf.
Although it’s the second time I’ve been there now, it felt weird. Vacation feels weird, actually. I don’t do vacation. I don’t do relaxation. I find that I am fairly incapable of doing just nothing, of just resting.
This is a problem.
It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, and I still don’t have all the kinks ironed out. This idea of rest – it feels selfish. Wasteful. Wrong. So I avoid it. Seriously. And I judge others when they embrace it. As if they violating some unspoken cultural code. When the reality is that I am probably just jealous. Just in desperate need myself. And if I admitted that stopping, stepping outside of my life is only not only okay but actually necessary. Vital. To my health and my well being. And it doesn’t just affect me. It has a direct and lasting impact on the people I love the most – my family.
I was a hot, nearly suicidal mess when I went to Miami last year. I had no idea that trip would save me. In many ways. It changed the trajectory of my life for several months. I was a better, more capable wife, mother, and friend.
All because I chose to put myself first.
To be selfish.
To have some me time.
And even then it was still so hard to enjoy. To just relax. I had a hard time picking a destination, booking a hotel, booking a flight. It was like pulling teeth. Really. Not because of all the options. Because all I could think about was unpaid debt and starving babies in Africa. Some of you know what I’m talking about.
And when I finally pulled the trigger and went, I discovered the ever uphill battle of my complete and utter inability to actually enjoy myself. To actually sit on the beach and do nothing but rest and relax. Nope. Instead there was a moment where me and my best friend were watching a freight ship come in to dock. Here we were in the most beautiful, peaceful location. I looked at her and sarcastically said, “There are definitely no people being trafficked in any of those containers.” This is why I take the medication, people.
I had to give myself permission to be there. In paradise. Over and over. And not just daily. Hourly.
My mind was racing. Busy. Unstoppable.
My body was stiff. Tense. Clenched.
At first I even hesitated to post a beach picture for fear of all the critics, like myself. And they showed up. The not ill-intentioned, “I’m so jealous,” and “I hate you.” But so did my friend Becky. Bless. What I love about Becky is that she is one of the few people in my life who always speaks truth. We disagree on a lot of things, but our respect and love for each other is paramount. I always know I’m understood with her. And I’m always comfortable being myself. Not many people make me feel that way. Her comment was simple, yet powerful. And everything I needed to hear.
“You deserve it.”
Yes. Thank you so much. Everyone needs a Becky.
It took time and intentional work to calm and relax myself, body and soul. You see, I am a glutton for punishment. I’ve not lived a clean life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, done a lot of terrible things. And even though God has forgiven me and I have worked so hard to turn my life around, I think there will always be a part of me that wants to believe I will never deserve anything good. That I am not worthy.
THAT IS A LIE.
Let me repeat that for those of you who struggle with the same issues. That is a lie. Because life is hard. And I think most of us are just doing our best to get through life without going to jail. At least I am. And whether you are religious or not, I truly think there is something to be said for the very first lesson God gives us in the Bible. When he had finished his work of creating the world, HE RESTED.
Let me repeat. Even God rested.
I am not better than God. And neither are you. So give yourself a break. It doesn’t have to be a Miami break. Maybe it’s a weekend at a bed and breakfast or a cabin. But for the love of sanity, stop. Be good to yourself. You ARE worth it. I promise, you will not regret it.