Thursday, March 08, 2018

high-five yourself 👏

there is a zumba instructor who teaches one of the classes i go to who always ends the class by having us give ourselves a pat on the back. after an hour of following her dance moves through each song, she slows down the beat and leads us all in bringing our right hands up towards the sky, and then down behind our shoulder, and pat, pat, pat. it's sweet and silly and it always makes me smile, because i get it. everyone in the class gets it. we all woke up, got dressed, drove ourselves to the gym, and moved our bodies for an hour together. it's not a huge feat, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless. pat, pat, pat, congratulations, self!

i received an email a few months ago from a friend who works with the same company that i work with, asking if i was going on the company's annual retreat for top achievers. all expenses paid. at the beach. but, no. no i wasn't a "top achiever" so i wasn't going to the retreat. which is absolutely fine with me because as amazing as that sounds, it hasn't ever been a goal of mine to earn "top achiever" status. ((and thankfully i don't tend to suffer from FOMO with these kinds of things!)) but my friend was pumped about earning top achiever status and getting to go to the beach retreat and i was really happy for her! pat, pat, pat, congratulations!

rewards, raises, retreats, bonus checks, award banquets, promotions. it's all very good, this system we use to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments. i have a pretty deep circle of friends, though, who aren't part of companies or organizations or networks with reward systems like that. our pats on the back aren't frame-able and our kudos don't show up in the bank account. it's more common for me and many of my friends in this season to celebrate accomplishments like not burning dinner, matching all the socks in the laundry, saving 50cents at the grocery store, and remembering to get a birthday card in the mail for aunt so-and-so. pat, pat, pat, congratulations, self!

i'm not being sarcastic: those are real wins. unfortunately, i think it's also common in my circle for weariness and self-pity to creep in and sabotage our daily joy. because we're doing a lot of hard work that mostly goes unseen and unrewarded like other accomplishments in other circles are. and we can easily slip into wondering does this even matter? or worse, we see someone else being applauded for their work and we think no fair.   

please hear me: this is not a pity-party invitation. definitely not. this is a call to GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK. when no one else is, when no one else sees, when it feels silly- do it anyway. we don't need the certificates or the title changes or the round of applause or the medal or the retreat. those things are great, yes! and well-deserved, i'm sure! but let's not discount the work we're doing or the power of encouraging ourselves in our daily accomplishments.

another caution: this is not about entitlement. absolutely not. this is a challenge to acknowledge your own accomplishments. step away from the lies of "it's not fair" or "i deserve this." and get on board with the satisfaction of simply encouraging yourself in the work that you're doing. and let's beware of bitterness when comparing our high-fives with other people's beach retreats. 

i just vacuumed the living room. pat, pat, pat. and then i handwashed all the dishes. pat, pat, pat. i'm home alone and it's very likely that no one will notice the things i did today. i could very easily give into a self-pity woe-is-me wheres-my-raise mindset. but as i was winding up the vacuum cleaner cord, i thought of that silly pat on the back we give ourselves at the end of zumba class. i don't need a kudos for taking a zumba class, but it's nice to acknowledge the time i took to do it and investment i made in my health! just like i don't need a kudos for vacuuming, but it's nice to acknowledge the time i took to do it and investment i made in my home! knowing my family will come home today to clean floors is a little secret kudos tucked away in my heart and that is all the reward i need.

have you ever tried to give yourself a high-five? try it. it's basically a clap. one clap.

i'm going to start giving myself a high-five (or clapping one time) after my daily unseen small un-celebrated accomplishments! why not?!

when i'm working hard on daily domestic stuff and i have a moment of wondering where's my awards banquet? when is my beach retreat? (first of all: shut up, devil.) it helps me to remember WHY i'm here doing what i'm doing: God chose me for thisthe reality is that i was selected and appointed for this! of all the people in all the time in all the world, GOD CHOSE ME to do this here. my mindset immediately shifts to: wow, what an honor it is to be these kids' mom and this man's wife! what a blessing it is to get to serve my family in this way! truly there's no where else i'd rather be. keep the accolades: my appointment here IS the reward! i can encourage myself in the Lord because He called me to this. i can give myself a high-five for my small daily accomplishments because i know God sees me, is with me, and loves me. He's my rewarder! (Hebrews 11:6) i have a renewed pep in my step when this is my mindset! earning "top achiever" status isn't my goal right now; serving my family and honoring God by making the most of these days is. 

so, when tomorrow's lunches are already packed and in the fridge: high-five.
when the floors are mopped: high-five.
when the dirty dishes are washed: high-five.
when the library books are returned on time: high-five.
when no one had a meltdown at the grocery store: high-five.

// turn on some music and do a happy dance.
// write out a gratitude list. pray and thank God.
// prop your feet up for a few minutes and do nothing.
// take one minute to step outside for sunshine and fresh air. take a walk, even just to the mailbox.
// text a friend or reply to a non-work email or phone call.
// wash your hair.
// paint your nails.
// refill your coffee mug.
// read a few pages of a book or magazine.
// write out a DONE list, like a to-do list but of things that you've already accomplished so you can cross things off immediately.
// find a podcast or youTube channel to listen/watch that will encourage you or make you laugh.

remember, wherever you are, whatever you're doing today: God chose you for this. your appointment is your reward. encourage yourself with that truth! do it all for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) and like David did, encourage yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6).

high-five yourself! 

"For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13