When I look at this image, I see women filled with joy and wonder. I see laughter. (It may only be because of the awkwardness of the posing and looking in all different directions, but there is laughter nonetheless.) The day we made these floral crowns was supposed to be about a creative photoshoot for the Crowns of Clover Girls Night Out (happening tonight!). But it ended up being about authentic connection through friendship. It ended up being a life-giving break in the middle of the day.
That’s because that’s what happens when we show up for each other.
Even in the rush and the frenzy of getting everything done. Even getting ourselves, and everything else cleaned, ready, and set just exactly “so”, almost instantly gave way to laughter and connection. It’s the magic of friendship that emerges when we set aside time, away from the frenzy of our overscheduled lives for renewal. In her book Rhythms of Renewal, Rebekah Lyons so beautifully describes the four life-giving rhythms our bodies are designed to need for an intentional, lifelong journey toward sustained emotional, relational, and spiritual health. They are Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create.
These rhythms are imperative, especially for women in today’s frenetic world.
One day I read an article, that led me to a video series, that left me enraged over a condemning narrative shouting that women should constantly pour themselves out, without any replenishment. My anger began with tears of sadness, nose tingling, and eyes watering. I was so sad that a woman with so much charisma and self-confidence would make these claims, talking down to women, like if they had any brain at all, they would see it the way she sees it. The outright deceitfulness of saying to care for yourself is godless. She manipulated self-care memes with disturbing images that twisted the meaning/the intent and the truth only to leave women believing that the only way to be a good woman is through constantly feeling empty and drained. Oh, and if that leaves you feeling unfulfilled or unjoyful, there’s simply something not right with you.
This is so far from the truth.
It’s condemning. It’s distant. There is no love, no compassion, no signs of the God I know in this. This message is shameful.
It’s literally FULL of shame.
How, does someone like this propose a woman physically thrive enough to care for others? How does she become strong? Does she starve herself of food? Go without sleep? Deny her need for solace? Never recharge? Never replenish? Only martyr herself for others? Oh and if she’s faithful to this martyrdom, she should certainly feel fulfilled and joyful all the time!
Everything in me fights against this.
There is another path. There is a more loving path. There is a more human path. A more realistic path. A more compassionate path.
It’s the path of renewal.
It’s tending to the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs of your body so that you have the strength to show up, full of joy, for your life of service to others.
Spring break is on the horizon, but if we’re honest, this “break” is mostly about the kids. For many of us, it means taking on more work, not less, in an effort to balance all the things. I’m here today to remind you to shun to false stories that work to convince you there’s something wrong with you if you need rest and renewal. Those stories are a lie.
If you’re tired, hungry, sad, or lonely, those are signs of life, not selfishness.
It’s why babies cry before they can speak. They are signals you need care. You are designed for rest, renewal, connection, and creativity. If you want to live a flourishing life in humble service to others, as I do, these things are non-negotiable. I’m certainly not the expert at practicing them, but it’s why I do what I do.
I’m fighting for you.
We need you to flourish.
We need you to do what you’re called to do.
Pay attention to your signs of life.
to more love,
P.S. If you’ve considered joining us tonight, we’re saving you a seat. There’s a crown waiting, just for you at Crowns of Clover GNO.