I love roller coasters. That feeling of my stomach dropping as I sail through the air is exhilarating. The surprises, excitements, climbs, and drops are this incredible metaphor for life, and I am learning to enjoy the twists and turns of life as much as the twists and turns of a good coaster. God has taught me to laugh at the unexpected surprises that come my way, and I am laughing a LOT these days. My name is Jamie Klemashevich, and in addition to my work as a counselor, I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, so you can usually find me reading and trying to come up with a dissertation topic (suggestions welcome!).
Throughout all the activity going on in my life, I have had to learn about one of my least favorite aspects of being human: limits. We all have them, although some of us *raises hand abashedly*, conveniently forget this fact. Our culture celebrates achievement. If we were honest, the new rule is “busyness is next to godliness.” Being too busy can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. I know from my own struggles with burnout. Struggles. As in it happened more than once. Oops! As a counselor, I want to help as many people as possible. To be completely honest, I want to help people, be really involved in church, have an intense exercise routine, work on my doctorate, become a service dog trainer, get certified to teach yoga, and have an active social life. Wow. It sounded much more reasonable in my head.
I have learned that part of helping others is taking care of myself and having compassion for my own limitations. For me, this has meant letting go of good things that I really want to do. I cannot serve in every ministry. I am delaying some dreams (going on a yoga retreat) to pursue others. Being a good counselor means getting to bed at a decent hour, eating well, and honoring my introvert time. It doesn’t feel great to say “no” to people and activities you enjoy. It actually feels painful. The reality of being human is having limitations. My limitations remind me of my need for God. God can do things that I cannot, and that is the way it should be. In counseling, we call this “having boundaries.” Boundaries may include saying no to other people, but it often means saying no to ourselves. I have a professor who says, “It is easy to say yes in love and no in anger. It is really difficult to say no in love.” Boundaries teach us to say no in love, even to our own desires and ambitions that may end up hurting us. I am learning to view my limitations with compassion and to honor those limitations by setting boundaries. When I succeed in setting boundaries, my emotions are more stable, and I am better able to do a few things really well. I can honor people around me by being kind, patient, and compassionate. I am who I want to be.
If you are struggling with stress, fatigue, anxiety or depression, it may be time to start compassionately looking at your own limits and setting some boundaries in love. If you want help on your journey, contact me or call (985) 661-0560 for a free phone consultation.