This week has been exhausting. For some reason, my brain decided to go into migraine mode 8 days ago and hasn’t made its way back to normality yet. Over this last week I felt pain, I felt nauseous, I felt foggy and confused, and the worst… I get motion sick and my vision was not only blurry and flickering, but also spinning (yes, I did see a doctor). So all I wanted to do was hide in a dark room, wait for the day my migraine finally comes to an end, and wallow in my bitter-sweet self-pity.
While experiencing that, I also had many conversations with people going through a really hard time, and was given the opportunity to go out of my way to love them well on several occasions. My empathetic heart was torn, and I had to figure out who I wanted and needed to prioritise… myself or others?
Over the years I had to learn a lot about setting boundaries, about self-love, self-care, and about filling your own tank before giving to others. It is interesting to see how the world’s perspective changed from ignoring and hiding mental health issues to starting a movement of self-care advocates over the last few years. While I love that we can openly talk about mental health and find valuable resources now, I feel like there is a lot still missing in the message.
It can be very confusing growing up in our Christian culture that promotes ‘sacrificial love’ and ‘laying down our lives for one another’ and also living in a world that promotes ‘if they don’t love you, don’t love them’ and self-care over sacrifice.
For a long time, I thought you either had to pick one or the other, or find a good balance between the two. Now I am convinced that setting boundaries and sacrificial love can coexist.
I believe that learning how to set boundaries is highly important, yet even more important for a lot of people, is to learn how to ask for help. If we set up walls to protect our energy, but we don’t know how to let that guard down to let others reach out to us, we end up feeling pretty lonely in the ‘safe’ castle we have built for ourselves. We are so focused on being independent these days that we forget that letting someone truly love us means to make ourselves vulnerable, and that being dependent on others in a healthy community can be a beautiful thing. As humans, we are dependent on human interaction. We need to be loved to be able to survive. If we all focus on making sure that we are okay by looking only after ourselves, how will we survive even one day that we can’t fill our own tanks?
Here at Beth-Biri, family is one of our main values. We believe that we were made to be known and loved, and to love others with the abundant love we were given by our Creator. We are very intentional in creating a space and a culture where we build trust and lay down our lives for one another. Yaz and I share pretty much everything we own (except our toothbrushes). We share a wardrobe, a car, our groceries, a bunk bed, and we share almost every meal together. We are pretty dependent on each other, and it is the most beautiful thing. I fully trust her, and she fully trusts me, so being family and risking that level of vulnerability only makes sense to us. I can lay down my life for her, because I know that she will lay down her life for me. When I have a migraine she will take on my load, call a doctor for me when I feel like I’m too sick to even find their number, and check in with me how I’m feeling. When she is having a hard time, I will take on her load, do her dishes, and buy her salted caramel chocolate. Same for Sergei. Even when he is in a different state, he carries our burdens with us and champions us from afar. We are family.
One of our biggest desires for Beth-Biri is to invite others into this family. We don’t want to have you come over and do art and then go home feeling lonely. It would break our hearts if that was the case. We want to invite you to be part of a community that sticks together. We want you to know that you are safe and seen here, and that we are here to celebrate with you when life is easy, and sit with you when things get hard. We want you to know that there is a place for you here, that you don’t have to change to be accepted, and that our desire for you is always to be loved and to be free.
What if our generation started a movement that looked like family? I believe it would change the world.
Would you like to know more about Beth-Biri?
We are creating a place that promotes freedom in the lives of young people; a place of creativity and the One who is the source of all creation. Read more about our desire for a safe home environment where family is hosted.