Have you ever played the “Take a Bite of Your Own Advice” game? I’m sure there’s an actual fancy name for the concept, but it’s a good practice to give a go. The concept comes from the reality that sometimes our grace-giving outlook to others is actually a better dose of wisdom and kindness that our inner critic. Are you confused? Are you overwhelmed? Are you at a crossroad? Imagine seeing that version of you, venting, crying, lamenting across the table from you. What pep talk world you give her/him? What encouragement would you share? What prayer would you speak? Being an achiever who seems to give everyone extra grace more than herself, this practice is really helpful for me. I imagine myself taking myself out for coffee, like I’ve done so many times with girls in various seasons and stages of life. I pour out my questions and hard moments, my worries and concerns. Then I flip the table and tell myself what I’d tell another girl. Encouraging yourself, is a Biblical weapon we can practice! It's more than a pep-talk, it can be a great tool to master. I played the "Take a Bite of Your Own Advice", this week and it looked like this:
Inner Critic Abby: ”This week has been really hard. Unexpected sickness has hit our family and I’ve been cleaning snotty noses and dirty bottoms tirelessly. How is someone with a degree, who is competent and filled with the Spirit of God, having trouble finding time to take a shower and simply brush her teeth?! I'm quite upset at myself for not having it more together. Everywhere I turn I see my house in shambles and the routine lover in me isn’t sure when I’ll feel “back in rhythm”. By the end of the day I’m so exhausted from life with 2 under 2, and although I deeply want to and need to invest in time with my husband I find myself choosing an early bed time again and again. And on top of that, I also was so excited about finally being able to go back to church in person after a long maternity leave and now I have to stay at home for another week because we are all overcoming sickness...” Encouraging Abby: "Abby, you are still in newborn season. And it’s just that a season. It won’t last forever. You are a phenomenal wife and mother. There’s nobody grading you. You don’t have to figure-it-out or get-it-together. You have a helper, and Holy Spirit will teach you step by step, day by day how to adjust and be the wife and mother GOD has asked you to be, not the mom and wife you think you need to be. I know you know all this, and you're just venting in frustration, but be encouraged there is so much you ARE doing. Try not to focus on what you are not doing. You may not be looking at a perfectly clean house or perfectly clean you, but you are taking time to play tag and giggle with Oliver. You are nursing every 3 hours around the clock. You are giving your husband good morning and good night kisses. You are taking praise breaks, and modeling a life of devotion to your family. You are doing great, Abby. Can I pray with you? Faithful Father, thank you for Abby. Thank you for being present in this tricky and tiresome season. I pray healing over her home. I speak encouragement to her heart. Thank you for her beautiful marriage and family. I ask you strengthen her in ways only you can. And help her keep her perspective eternal. Amen My challenge to you. Find 3 pictures from this week for your eyes to see things that DID happen this week, instead of your brain focusing on what didn't."
I’ll admit, I’d give that last dialogue to a hundred women before I’d give it to me. That's why practicing to flip that ratio is important. I deserve that second pep-talk much more. So do you. You deserve the encouraging chat too. You deserve the extra grace. You deserve the faith-filled prayer. You deserve the truth. So my encouragement to you this week. Take a try at playing the “Take a Bite Of Your Own Advice” game. Great Grace, Abby ***Don't Forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on!