Give Yourself Grace
Grace. Grace. Grace. And more grace.
I was recently talking to a therapist friend, both of us in private practice, both primary care takers for our babies. We were sharing with each other how we were struggling with feeling like we weren’t doing “enough”. We weren’t working enough, making enough money, etc. That’s when I had a Holy Spirit response. I say that because in the flesh I wouldn’t have come up with this on my own:
“Let’s just try to tell ourselves that we’re doing enough and anything else we do is a bonus.”
I wish I could say it is this easy. But it is NOT. Anyone who has had a baby struggles with the fact that they have WAY less time than they had before, even if they aren’t working and they can’t seem to accomplish what they once did. It can leave you feeling insecure, inadequate and, if you try to fight it, you will end up getting burnt out.
In the following three areas I’ve made the choice to extend grace to myself in this new season of life.
And I hope that as you read them you make the choice to extend grace to yourself for whatever season you are currently walking through.
Since having my daughter almost eight months ago, besides an occasional stroll here and there, I have not been motivated to participate in any type of structured activity. But that is consistent with what we know about our bodies. Activity isn’t meant to be done when we’re tired!
I haven’t slept through the night since my daughter was born, and I wasn’t sleeping well before that either (hello, third-trimester). I am just trying to get enough sleep; so how can I expect to WANT to do something that is just going to make me more tired? Of course, it has the potential to give me energy but only when I am getting a healthy amount of sleep.
Whether children are the cause of your tiredness, or it is stress from work, home or physical illness, taking time to strengthen and invest in your body and your health through physical activity is literally the first step in the right direction towards pursuing wholeness.
I have never eaten as much take out or prepared food, as I have in the last eight months. I honestly don’t really know what I ate the first few months postpartum. It’s all a tired, blurry, mess. Thank goodness for the meal train my small group set up for me. Only now am I able to prepare food for my family a few days a week, which was largely inspired by my baby starting solids.
I love to cook, but I found no joy in it and it only brought on more anxiety as a new mom. It seemed like a lot to come up with an idea, shop for ingredients, cook it, and then clean it up. I felt guilty for spending the extra money in our restaurant budget. I did my best to combat that with, statements like, “It won’t be this way forever” or “I am choosing to give myself grace in this area.” Luckily my husband isn’t one to complain about extra spending on take-out and door dash. What a blessing to even have flexibility in our budget and our eating style to do so.
Feeling like this has caused me to reflect on the truth found in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Before we are able to extend grace to ourselves, we must receive the grace that God extends to us. His word tells us that His grace is sufficient, it is more than enough, and it is best put on display when we are weak so that His strength is made known. In the places where you feel weak, rest in God, grab hold of His grace and receive His power.
I don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. My belly and thighs are softer than they were before. This was an easier one for me to accept, because I haven’t had any major struggles with body image (thank you, Jesus), but I can totally relate to why and how this would be difficult for others.
To me, it just seems SO unrealistic to expect our bodies to go back to the way they were before having a baby. It’s like expecting my body to look how it looked in high school – I was in a totally different chapter of life then!
Please hear this loud and clear: women who bounce back to their pre-pregnancy bodies is COMPLETELY a result of genetics.
If that’s not you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You just keep on taking care of yourself and your baby the best way you know how.
You’re doing a great job!
Weather you’re in season of motherhood with young children, an empty-nester, a working woman, a work from home woman, or a stay-at-home mom – you’re amazing! As women, society has set the bar of expectations way higher than is realistic. When thoughts of “I’m not doing enough”, or “I’m not good enough” creep in, remember to receive the grace God extends to us and then extend it to yourself, knowing that as a child of God you are loved and valued.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16
And from that place of God’s great love for you, remind yourself that you are already doing enough – everything else is a bonus.
Nicole resides in the East Bay Area where she works in private practice as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is a new Mom and serves alongside her beloved husband in their local church. She completed both her bachelors degree and her dietetic internship at California State University, Chico, where she was also a NCAA cross country and track athlete. Through those experiences, God prompted her to help people of all shapes and sizes discover body peace and acceptance through the unconditional love of Jesus. Nicole most enjoys spending time around a table and cooking for the people she loves.