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My plane landed at 9:30 pm Sunday night. That’s 12:30 am on the East Coast and since I’d been soaking up time with my {in}courage sisters all weekend, I had quickly adapted to the different time zone.

I was tired, but determined to make progress toward home. It’s a three-hour drive from the Los Angeles airport to our home in San Luis Obispo. I grabbed a coffee, picked up my luggage, hugged my traveling partner good-bye and merged onto the 405 freeway north.

I traveled for a couple hours and started to feel the dark night wooing me to sleep. The smartest thing to do was to stop and get a hotel room, even if only for a few hours of much-needed rest. I pulled off the freeway in Carpinteria, a tiny beach town and checked into a hotel. As I settled into the bed, I felt my body relax and sleep came quickly.

I set my alarm for 6:00 am and as soon as it went off, I hopped out of bed, anxious to get on the road again. I threw on clothes, zipped up my suitcase and grabbed another cup of coffee as I headed out of the hotel and into the parking lot. My keys were already in my hand and I clicked the button to unlock the car.

Nothing happened. I clicked again. And nothing happened. A feeling of dread mixed with panic swept over me. Oh no. No. Ugh.

The car was dead. I figured I must have left the lights on the night before. I was tired and in a hurry to get out of the car. I called AAA and sat down on the curb to wait.

“I’m such an idiot,” I told myself.

“I’m so stupid!” I repeated in my head.

Over and over I called myself names and berated myself for my mistake.

If you were there with me and it was your car, I would have told you, “No big deal!”

I’m sure I’d remind you it only set us back half an hour. I would have hugged you and told you not to be so hard on yourself. It was just a small, simple mistake.

But for myself I had no grace, only harsh words and criticism.

I began to wonder, at that early hour, how my perspective would change if I was gentler with myself. What if I showed myself kindness?

“It’s okay,” I whispered to myself.

“It could happen to anyone,” I told my self comfortingly

The sun began to peek over the hillside and cast a soft glow through the trees. I exhaled. The glow of the morning light was breathtaking. Maybe I would have missed the sunrise if I hadn’t had to wait for the tow truck to come start my car.

a little kindness2 lisa leonard-02

Within a half hour I was on the road, heading towards my family. My head was filled with thoughts of how imperfect life is, and how there is still beauty to be found. I am flawed and yet, I can show myself kindness. I make mistakes, but there is forgiveness.

It’s okay to be kind to myself. I want to be gracious instead of critical. Isn’t that how Christ is with us?

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Where can you show yourself some kindness today? Where can you replace criticism with grace and forgiveness? 

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  1. 1

    Amen ~ What an absolutely comforting scripture:)! One of my favorites for sure. When we are kind to ourselves we are able to give God and others the very best=). Thanks for sharing!

  2. 3

    why is it so hard to give ourselves new beginnings when we love and follow the god of beginnings? thank you lisa. this reminder is never NOT needed! xo -kris

  3. 5

    Beautiful. Exhaling and allowing these verses to wash over me today.

  4. 7

    You were kind to yourself, and wise, when you stopped at the hotel to rest instead of pushing on and putting yourself at risk driving drowsy. What a good example you just gave all of us!

  5. 8
    Jacque says:

    Thank you for these words. I so needed to read this today.

  6. 10

    Yes. I will be more kind to myself. Im slowly forgiving myself. Instead of beating myself up I will speak scripture to myself.

  7. 12
    Lucille says:

    Thank you, Lisa for the reminder that I need to give myself the same grace that God gives me. God is making my heart tender through the transforming power of His Word. I love that verse of scripture, too. Thanks for sharing.
    Lord bless you!

  8. 13
    Cathey says:

    Extending grace and kindness to ourselves is the only hope we have of being able to sincerely extend it to others! More of you Holy Spirit in my thoughts words and deeds!

  9. 14
    Sarita says:

    Amen to all of the comments.

  10. 15
    Lu Wings says:

    Good Morning,
    Ahhh yes, I sorta missed a HUGE portion of the “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you”……TOTALLY MISSED that it implies we do good unto ourselves, Lol.

    It’s challenging, to speak within, to ourselves, as we would to someone we love.
    And yet, are we not His Temple? Are we not His creation? Does He not love us totally and completely? Than how dare we NOT love ourselves?
    We are sooooooooo gun-shy, afraid we’ll become snobs or become self centered……..yet kindness towards others doesn’t ruin who they are, so why is it we seem to think it will automatically MAKE us become who we do not want to be?
    Being loving towards ourselves does not make us “needy”. As a matter of fact, it keeps us FROM that very thing, grin.

    Spot on, and exactly what I needed reminding of on this gloriously beautimous day!

    Trust you got to your family safe and sound…….and that sunrise? Sounds like it continues to fuel your spirit, grin.

    Thank you for sharing, and offering a place for us to share in return.

  11. 16

    What a wonderful way to learn the lesson… I could feel the sun coming up and touching my skin. :-) It is so easy to forgive others boo boos but so easy to berate ourselves. Thank you for this post! It will help me remember.

    Love, Patty

  12. 17

    Thank you. Very timely. Sometimes speaking kind words to oneself is so much harder to do. I’m from SLO too ;)

    • 18

      Isn’t SLO beautiful?
      Speaking kind words to myself makes my heart softer and more vulnerable I think. Which is good but also hard. Hugs to you Cat.

  13. 19

    So true, Lisa. God is much kinder to us than we are to ourselves! And for Pete’s sake-next time, you can always use our guest room! XOXO

  14. 21

    Definitely words I needed to read this morning. I had several days last week when I was less than kind to myself and, as a result, less than kind to others. Thank God that His mercies are new every morning! Great IS His faithfulness!

  15. 22

    That’s a good word for all of us, Lisa. My heart needed it this weekend morning.

    And I loved, *loved* spending time with you last weekend. I just adore you.

    Much love!

  16. 24

    That’s a wonderful encouraging word. How often I beat myself over trivial things.

  17. 25

    I’m a totally positive person. Absolutely. When I was young I read Pollyanna from our Sunday School Library. Since then I play the glad game. It’s makes for a much lovelier life. So, I’m ever positive. Even at myself. Does not the LORD grow me daily into HIS image. Into HIS image HE creates me day by day. Moment by moment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wm57-iSYyk

    Is this not every single moment that HE LOVES us. HE LOVES me. So, I just love to sing this song. To JESUS.

    :)

  18. 26
    Joanne Peterson says:

    Thank you!

    When I am critical with myself, it is only too easy to be critical with other people too no matter how unintentional. It can be a reflection of the unrealistic expectations I have of myself and other people.

    Lovely reminder that often Jesus has another agenda for me, and it is a good agenda. Like you said, you might have missed the glorious sunrise and His welcome of the day to you.

    Well said Lisa.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

  19. 28
    Debbie Kelley says:

    Thanks so much for your loving, comforting words. My time with God was about just this today. I felt your words were grace from Him reminding me of who I truly am!!!!

  20. 29

    Wrote about this very thing in August, when one day I suddenly realized that I don’t treat myself with near as much grace as I give others without even thinking!
    “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32
    He would indeed want us to treat ourselves with just that spirit! Thank you for the reminder this morning. As I was reading this beautiful post, I realized that once again I’ve slipped out of the new habit, even though I JUST wrote about it 2 months ago! Thank God for His patience with me and for sending people like you to remind me just when I need it most! <3 Blessings

  21. 31
    Caroline says:

    Thank you, Lisa! This word just washed over me, bathing me in Grace. And @Lu Wings: I love this — Being loving towards ourselves does not make us “needy”. As a matter of fact, it keeps us FROM that very thing, grin.
    Wow, a refreshing perspective :)
    Grace & Truth, ladies!

  22. 32

    I can empathize with your situation with a dead battery in the car. I had to sit and wait for AAA for over 1/2 hour to have my battery replaced two weeks ago. The battery was over 10 years old and my husband had told me last week that I needed to get it replaced. I didn’t listen and just figured it could go another month or so. Yet, here I was on a street downtown with a car going no where. I found it enjoyable to just relax and read, realizing that God was with me. Though I was inconvenienced, I was in God’s presence where He was my source of joy, comfort and strength. Thanks for your thoughts and glad you did not “beat yourself up” too badly.

  23. 34

    Thank you for the reminder that God’s grace covers us even we aren’t gracious with ourselves.
    From SLO county, too. :)

  24. 35

    Thank you for your post today. We all need that reminder! I have to say, I’ve gotten better, but I still berate myself and tell me how fat i am, (20 pounds overweight) or how stupid I am when I mess up. My good friend once asked me…”would you EVER say such things to someone else? Then by on Earth would you say that to yourself ?” I am loved and made by God and He doesn’t make stupid or ugly, only beautiful!
    Lisa

  25. 37

    Lisa,
    That was lovely. I think we all tend to do that.I would never say to a friend the things I say to myself and I repeat it in my head again and again. It is a reminder to me that I need to show my kids more grace instead of being so fast to criticize. Sometimes the 13 year old simply just forgets. He is not trying to be disrespectful or disobedient and it’s not in his nature to be that way. Thank you for the reminder. Erin

  26. 39

    Yes, our self-talk can be more than discouraging; it can be cruel. And wouldn’t we offer others–even strangers–more grace and kindness? Such an important reminder! Even though I’ve written on the subject, I need the reminder again and again to be kind to myself! Thank you.

    Deb Weaver
    thewordweaver.com

  27. 40
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    I had to call AAA last night. By midnight I was getting home. The car is still parked still at the driveway. I want to be kind to myself today and thankful to friends who come to rescue me to take my boy to his camping out. The quietness at the house only filled with songs and friends calls as we check in each other. Let me, Lord, see your new mercy arising for me today.
    Thanks for such a sweet, down to earth reminder. What a verse! I’m writing it on my cards.

  28. 41

    I love it when God teaches us these kind of lessons, at the most unexpected moments!
    Thanks for sharing.

  29. 42
    Valerie Hohenberger says:

    Wow! So I am not the only one that beats herself up for doing silly things? That makes me feel somewhat less lonely, but still not what God intended for us, His beautiful creations! Several posters commented that they would never say those things to others, and I wouldn’t either (my mom was of the “if you cannot say anything good, do not say anything at all” school). I too could feel that sun come up on my skin as I was in a rush this morning too to get to a church function. I made it there before anyone else and was able to unload my car and get the water ready for nice steaming cups of tea! God Bless!

  30. 43

    Thank you so much. You are so right! I so needed to read this and remember we serve a perfect God Who understands our frailties and loves to rescue and comfort us.

  31. 44
    Beth Williams says:

    Lisa,

    I’m my own worst critic. When things go wrong, or I don’t feel appreciated on the job–I hear the evil one whisper “stupid, dumb, not good enough”. Oh sure I can forgive others boo boos, but for me I must be perfect, or so I think.

    Why is it we are so hard on ourselves? Thank Heavens for a forgiving and loving God who can forgive us and sends us people to remind us we are not stupid, dumb and are good enough!

    Also–that may just have been a “God thing” with the car to get you to see the sunrise and rest a few more minutes before rushing somewhere!

  32. 45
    alina y says:

    Oh thank you for reminding me of this beautiful verse. Oh how it lift my spirit up today. I really needed this thank you

  33. 46

    It was so great to read that someone also have problems with criticism herself too much and really harsh. Thanks for sharing this. I feel more encouraged on being more kind on myself.
    Rosie

  34. 47
    Rachel says:

    Thank you for this post. It was really an eye opener for me. I would never say the things I say to myself to another person. The other person would be crushed if I would do that because I’m so hard on myself. I think it’s a way to not feel the pain of the mistakes and disappointments in life. It is a form of pride because our life is in Gods hands not in ours. Thank you it will help to keep things in perspective and to keep my eyes on Jesus.

  35. 48

    Thank you Lisa!
    “Where can you show yourself some kindness today? Where can you replace criticism with grace and forgiveness?”
    In reading this today, I again realized how I can be harsh with myself at times, so I am going to follow the Lord’s leading.
    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.
    They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
    Lamentations 3:22-23
    So every morning from now on I am going to allow love and mercy come my way, not only from the Lord but from myself. Thank you again, Lisa

  36. 49
    Jessica says:

    So glad to be reminded of that!! I am so encouraged by your blog and your beautiful jewelry which I have the honor of owning a few pieces that mean so much to me!!

    Jessica

  37. 50

    I can relate your words to many stories of my own… But now when something happen that really frustrate me and goes in conflict with the plans I had I try to repeat myself several times :”Everything happen for a reason and most of the time we fail to see the big picture” I know this annoys many people, but I often find this very true… And it just does help me to remain calm… Take Care.

  38. 51

    Thank you for your wise words, Lisa. We not only CAN be kind and forgiving of ourselves, we SHOULD allow a bit of slack, just as we would for well-meaning friends. I highlighted your insightful post over at my blog. ALL GOOD–not to worry!

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