Last week, something shifted in the cosmos. In a year of unprecedented events and continued pandemic uncertainty, there was more. Simone Biles, US gymnast with thirty-two Olympic and World Championship medals, unexpectedly withdrew from all but one competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games citing mental health concerns.

Initial reaction to her decision was mixed, then gradually it dawned on many that perhaps, just perhaps, Biles was modeling something we all need and often fail to practice – self-care. How often do we say, “I’m fine” when we’re anything but? How often do we allow others’ expectations of us dictate our behavior? Yet here was the Greatest of All Time saying to an audience of millions, “Enough is enough. My physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health override all. I matter.”

God tells each one of us, “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4) Yes, you! You are God’s beloved creature. As such your Creator longs for you to love yourself enough to say “no” when that’s what is needed, to risk being vulnerable, to take off the mask and say unequivocally, “This is who I am. This is what I need.” No apologies necessary.

While we can hardly follow in Biles’ footsteps on the balance beam(!), we can follow her lead here. Will you join me in trying?

Elizabeth Geitz
Assisting Priest