I realized a couple of weeks ago that I've been working our Saturday morning meetings for over a year now. In that year, we changed locations, merged with another meeting or two, and even changed leaders twice. And in reflecting on our changes, one very sad fact leapt out at me: I can only think of 3-4 people from that original meeting who are still attending our Saturday meetings -- and even then, it's sporadic. I really, really hope that they are simply attending another meeting date or time -- and that they haven't given up on themselves.
I admit: I get a little sad, a little angry, a little bewildered .... I can understand when money or time or another circumstance really is a factor. I have no problem with that. And I know how a seemingly temporary or short-term situation can so easily get us off track. The problem lies in when it becomes a handy excuse for not getting back on track. For example, I know someone who is still using an incident from 2001 as a "reason" why he or she cannot do (name it, just name it). I want to look them dead in the eye and say, "Really? Has this occurred at any time since then? No? Then what's your excuse now?"
I have my own excuses too -- gym bag in the car and ready to go but it's hard for me to make time for exercise. I'm tired. I don't want to work out too late at night. I'll get up early (how often has that worked for me lately?). I have a million of them. And it's that part I don't like about myself that sometimes cause me to take a harder edge. I have to be tough with myself because I know otherwise, I will give myself too much slack. The slippery slope becomes a slip-n-slide.
It truly breaks my heart to think that people give up so easily on the one person they shouldn't: themselves. Why do we not love ourselves? I know in my own cultural niche, there's the whole "put others before yourself" way of life. We have it beat into us that we're horrible persons and not "Real Christians" (TM) if we don't put ourselves dead last. That selfishness is a mortal sin.
Sorry, doesn't work that way. I can't begin to take care of you and your needs if I am unwilling to do it for my own needs as well. If I'm not healthy, how can I possibly model it for you?
So forgive me if I display a few selfish tendencies: taking time to care for myself properly; to attend my meetings, to exercise, to shop for healthy food. To be a little pampered on occasion, even if it's just a $10 manicure. To be able to say "no" to a request when I really don't have enough resources (especially time). To know that to care for myself is as high a calling as caring for others.
And if you were part of a meeting and have fallen away because of some months-old reason that doesn't work anymore, how about coming back? We'd love to see you again!