Thursday, February 25, 2016

Doing the most, swine flu, and not rushing the process

The last year of my PhD program I was a woman on a mission. I finished comprehensive exams, obtained survey approval, and passed my proposal defense in record time. I was ready to be done and move on with my life, whatever that meant. About four weeks into data collection, I realized I made a grave mistake in my haste to get 'er done. Due to a coding error on my part, I was unable to view any of the demographic information in my survey. I had to start all over. As you can imagine, I had a complete emotional breakdown. Then the following week, I, who never gets more than the common cold, came down with swine flu. I don't know for sure that it was H1N1 because the lab results were inconclusive. I say it was because it makes for a more dramatic story. The point is this: rushing ahead to get to the next thing only got me in bed for a week.

I recently thought of this story because I've spent the last three months building my wellness business. I've been feeling all the same drive and intensity that I did in grad school. I have a vision for where I want to go and I want to hurry up and get there. So, I've been event planning, content producing, advertising, hashtagging, networking, and seemingly everything short of begging people to support my brand. For an introvert like me, it's been completely exhausting. Fortunately, I learned a thing or two from the PhD experience and now I rarely run myself into the ground like I did that year. I know my stress cues and my personal threshold and I can tell when it's time to take a break.

Here's a reflection question for other Type-A, high-achievers of the world. What's the big rush? It's one thing to passionately pursue your goals. When you race to the finish though I can't help but wonder if that has more to do with anxiety than ambition. It's almost like you want to hurry up and fulfill your dreams before they're snatched away. Sure, people might applaud your motivation based on what they see on the outside. Internally, however, the consequences of doing the most like that are fatigue, perhaps illness, but most assuredly burnout.

What if you had this outlook instead? What is meant for you is held for you and can never be taken away from you. All you need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and positioning yourself to receive it. Don't be afraid to work hard and make sacrifices. Just leave time for rest and recovery in the process. If the process precedes the promise anyway, you might as well enjoy it.


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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love is a person

As we know, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romantic love. Romantic love is a wonderful thing. I honestly think there should be a prize of some sort for each year of remaining faithful to one person. It’s a big deal to partner together and do life with someone. But for those who don’t have that, and even for those that do, there’s something even greater. It’s God’s love.

The image that always comes to mind when I consider God’s love for me is a scene with Liam Neesen and his daughter in the first Taken movie. It’s the one where he finally finds her. The daughter looks shocked to see him and with tears in her eyes she says, “You came for me,” to which he replies, “I told you I would.” Let me tell you, as a girl who never had a dad, that scene messes me up every time. It also perfectly captures a father’s love. He would’ve stopped at nothing to get his daughter back.

That’s exactly God’s sentiment towards us. He created utopia and us for fellowship with him. That was ruined when we believed there was something more satisfying than all that God had already given. Once we were separated from God, ancient law required that a sacrifice be made to atone for sin. Instead of punishing us like we would’ve deserved, God offered himself in the form of Jesus to be that living sacrifice. In laying down his life, he showed himself as being both just, because the law had to be fulfilled, and merciful, because he took the L instead of us.

The gospel is a love story. It’s about God’s fierce, passionate pursuit to restore us to himself. He didn’t just do one act of love and then stop. He continually pursues us and invites us to know him intimately. This isn’t some guy that can’t be bothered to text you back. He’s not a lover that drops you after he gets what he wants. He is the lover of your soul who’s willing to go to the ends of the earth and back just for you.

On this Valentine’s Day remember that love is not just a feeling. It’s not just for those with a romantic connection. Love is a person and that person is Jesus.



Originally posted: February 14, 2014