It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

In These Times of Great Anxiety

Credit: Artist-David Bowman

At the beginning of March, I read an article about people hoarding toilet paper and paper towels due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The virus had not reached The States quite yet. I decided to prepare for it during my scheduled monthly trip to Costco.


I arrived at Costco at their opening time and the line wrapped around the building. The entrance of the store wasn’t chaotic, just crowded. However, inside the store, the atmosphere was different. You could feel a level of desperation in the store. People were grabbing things, but not in the Black Friday sense, just 3-4 times what they would usually get. I asked a person why they needed so much toilet paper and paper towels. The person replied, “if we get quarantined for months, I would need this much, and these were the items China ran out of first when they needed to stay inside their homes.”


I began to catch the “fever” of shopping hoarding. I grabbed as many cases of toilet paper and paper towels that I could fit in my cart. As much as I justified the need to buy, this convicting feeling came over me that this didn’t seem right to do.


I took a pause and began to rationalize the situation. We will still have water and electricity. One case of toilet paper and paper towels lasts my small family for many months. Safety and food are much more important than hoarding shopping. I took a few deep breaths and decided to buy one case of toilet paper and paper towels, bleach and other cleaning products for my family and some non-perishable foods.


In the next two weeks, our national government leaders claimed everything was under control but quickly changed their claim to this will be horrendous. The panic in our country began to grow, and more cases of the virus became evident. In the middle of this, my daughter got lice and then lovingly (through all the hugs and cuddles) gave them to me. I focused more on destroying the lice and doing 35 loads of laundry in one week than focusing all my worries on the pandemic.


Thank God, the lice are gone, and the washer and dryer took a day off. My family has been home this last week. Then the underlying anxiety in me rose to the surface at midnight. I truly began to panic. Every tickle in my throat or sniffle I felt began to worry me. My husband coughed, and I would think, “Oh, sh*t!” I thought about the “Downton Abbey” episode, where many characters caught the Spanish Flu and suffered or died. My mind did somersaults imagining the worst-case scenarios.


Stress, lack of sleep and exercise, dehydration, and poor eating habits contribute to low immunity and sickness. An event like this has not affected the world in a long time. There have been pandemics, but not in this day and age. We are all navigating this for the first time together. As much as I want to get mad and criticize our country for not being prepared for this, it won’t do any good. I could not imagine the responsibility that the medical field, the government (state, local, federal), the public school system, and first responders (and countless other entities) have in this situation. The best thing I can do is cooperate, stay home, wash my hands, and pray.


This image included in this post of Jesus holding a child always brings me great comfort. When I get anxious, I have to surrender to God, trust, and allow Him to be in control. While I know the health and financial crisis this pandemic has brought will affect us all, it will be temporary. I am not in any way diminishing the long term effects of it, but we will get through this in some way.

Stay safe, friends. Take this opportunity to do things that bring joy to your life every day. Reconnect safely with family and friends. And if you are having difficulty managing all of these feelings of despair, please reach out because someone would be glad to help.

Lesson Learned: Anxiety does not help me in situations like these. Gaining perspective is better. And, I don’t like creamed corn from a can unless it is very sweet.


Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I command this virus to cease spreading and be eradicated in the name of Jesus. Heal and restore everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially the victims’ families and the hardest-hit industries. I pray countries that have been devastated by this virus to be re-built. Protect those with low immunity. May family units become strong again. Give our government leadership and direction, which will be in the best interest of the citizens. I rebuke the idea for people to take advantage of the helpless in this time and bring to light anyone who does this. Let love, grace, and mercy rule as we re-build and restore our lives. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Grateful for the Life You Have

#171 Blog Post- Grateful for the Life You Have

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This week has been a whammy.  Daylight saving time, full moon, Friday the 13th, extra workload, Corona Virus fears, and pandemonium, and my child and I had our heads invaded by lice.  (Cue Scratching.)

The physical and emotional toll lice took on me felt like the end of the world to me.  I counted that I did 12 loads of laundry for over 2 days. I spent a lot of money to have someone come to the house and treat us and purchase new hair brushes, hair supplies, and bedding.  My child had the lice eradicated in 1 treatment, while it took 3 treatments to get rid of them on my hair. My hair is very thick, so I have a hospitable environment for them. Lice are equal opportunity jerks, I felt dirty and poor, even though that is far from the truth.

I went to the dry cleaner to take our comforter to be professionally cleaned.  I already washed it at the laundromat, but it smelled like everyone else’s laundry.  I noticed a post-it note on the wall at my dry cleaner. The dry cleaner scribbled out, “Gratitude is riches. Complaining is poverty.” She had it there to remind her to be grateful.  Little did she know that the quote was the encouragement I needed to help me through my exhausting week.

Even in the middle of this inconvenient and tiring time, I could be grateful for several things.  I only have one child to deal with this. My husband didn’t get it. Bed, Bath and Beyond had a clearance sale on bedding. My washer and dryer handled the enormous loads of laundry.  My house has been Spring Cleaned. And I knew deep in the back of my mind, this to would pass.

In my years of having anxiety and fear, gratitude was never a priority.  If complaining was an Olympic sport, I would have more medals than Olympian Michael Phelps.  I had a complainer’s mindset. When I had a difficult situation to deal with, it seemed like it would never end.  I remember being in a grocery store and started to have an anxiety attack (grocery stores seemed to set me off for some reason).  Then this thought came into my mind: there are plenty of people in this world that would trade their life for mine. So, I began to count my blessings.  The anxious feelings fled, and I carried on with my errands.  

When it comes to the definition of being wealthy, our income may not qualify in the area where my family lives.  However, being grateful truly brings out all the riches in my life. May the person reading this post find something to be thankful for and see their riches!

Lesson Learned: Focus more on all the good things in your life.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking for the things I do not have.  Thank you for the blessings that you have bestowed upon my life. I am grateful for everything.  When times are difficult, Father God, I am thankful the time is temporary. Thank you for your provision, protection, and love.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Uncover Your Faith

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Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Everyone’s Journey is Different

#165 Blog Post-Everyone's Journey is Different

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I entered adulthood, I began to have debilitating anxiety. I would receive (unwanted) advice from people regarding anxiety. Their advice of “stop worrying so much” hurt me more than it helped.

A former co-worker of mine wanted to become an esthetician. She asked me if she could practice giving a facial. Of course, I jumped at the chance. For some reason, those intimate environments cause people to open up. I brought up the subject of anxiety and the troubles I had. She scoffed at me and said, “aren’t you a Christian? I thought your God helped you?” Her words hurt me. I wanted to melt into the table and evaporate.

My issue was this, the trauma that I experienced in my life clouded my ability to trust in the Lord. She was sort of correct, though, in a mean and condescending way.

Everyone’s journey to healing is different. Here has been my path (so far). I prayed. I cried. I had others pray for me. I read the Bible. I did Bible studies. I attended church and weekend conferences. I had years of therapy, coaching, and bodywork. I took medication. I ended toxic relationships. I kept boundaries. All of these things helped me to get on the path of healing. I did wish for God to heal me after one prayer. However, I know every hurt I experienced brought me the knowledge I have today. Neurolinguistic trainer, Al Sargent said, “There are no experts in a new experience.” In my young adult days, I wasn’t experienced yet to walk in victory. As I look back, it was okay that I didn’t have all the answers.

My name, Colette, means victorious. The enemy knows my weaknesses and wants me to forget God has already made me victorious. God doesn’t want me to suffer but to thrive. I can rest in His arms and allow Him to fight my battles for me.

Lesson Learned: My journey is different than others, but I am already victorious in Him.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you, Lord! Help me walk victoriously in you. Remind me of all the times; you have carried me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. I believe I am healed. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

I’m Just Not Feeling It and That’s Okay

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:1-3

 

My mentor told me that from ages 38-52 years old, many go through a life change. I imagine this change to be amazing, a chance to become what God created me to be in this life. However, it doesn’t feel that way. It hurts — a lot.  

 

There are many things I used to enjoy that I don’t anymore. There are relationships I have had with friends that have ended. Many of my interests aren’t interesting to me anymore. Right now, I do not know what I want or like, and that frightens me. I usually love writing; except recently, I haven’t had a desire for it. It scares me because this is what I want to do. In the past few months, I wanted to give up. It feels like a midlife crisis of some sort. But one thing I know is that God is faithful, and there is a reason for all this change.

 

Sometimes I wonder, “where are you, Lord?” Even King David, in the book of Psalms, wondered where the Lord was in his times of grief and despair. David was faithful, though. Me, not so much. When I am in the midst of change, it is hard to see the outcome. The enemy comes and distracts me from what I should be doing to get there. 

 

I feel pressure to perform and to pan every second of my life.  But, I cannot know until I try and even possibly fail. Failure isn’t always a waste of time. It can also be the opposite of regret.

 

If you feel like giving up, please do not! Doubt and worry are the enemy’s tools for stopping us from attaining God’s purpose for us.  I want things done quickly and easily. But God does not ever do anything in a hurry. He moves in His timing. May you take shelter in the mighty arms of our God.

 

Lesson Learned: Change is inevitable and necessary. Allow God to work it out.

 

Prayer:

‘Dear Heavenly Father, help me in my times of need. Give me endurance and energy to make it through tough times. Thank you for your protection. May your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

A Mini Manifesto on How to Handle Anxiety

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

Our thoughts can give us hope and renew our faith.  In dealing with anxiety, depression, or fear those negative thoughts can destroy our well being.  If you are stuck in that negative thought pattern, it becomes a habit to think the worst. We can defeat ourselves before we even try.

I understand that I must let go of things that are out of my control.  However, I never knew how to do that. People say, “just let it go.” But we all know, it is not so easy.

I have embarked on the process of becoming a more healthy person, especially mentally.  I have come to learn how to let things go. There are several things I have actively pursued in trying to let go.   Thankfully, I am beginning to see a good outcome.

 

A Mini-Manifesto on How to Handle Anxiety

 

#1 Prayer and Meditation

A therapist suggested to me that I use meditation to ground myself and learn how to be more aware.  As a Christian, I fought the practice of meditation because a lot of the experts in the field study other religions.  But as the anxiety affected my daily life, I decided to try it.

My medical insurance offered on their website, meditation practices.  There was a woman who narrated the practice. She didn’t sound weird, never used any religious tones.  It was about breathing and grounding myself. Then, I researched and learned about apps that have guided meditation.  I found Headspace, Calm, and Abide. Abide is a Christian app, while the other two are not. I cannot tell you, how much meditation has changed my life.  It has helped me become more aware, to stop those racing thoughts, and even helped me to pray with focus.

Another thought I carry with me in times of despair is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not suffer and die on the cross for us to live fearfully and in a constant state of panic! Jesus wants us free from that burden and bondage.

I usually wake up in the middle of the night and begin to think about all the bad stuff around me.  I think of every possible scenario of how to attack anything wrong that could come my way. This thought pattern would keep me awake for hours.  One night, I woke up and thought about something. About a minute into the negative thought, I realized, there is nothing I can do about this at 2:00 in the morning, so the best thing I can do for myself is fall back asleep. Honestly, I surprised myself with that thought. I knew that meditation was helping me.

 

#2 Being Kind and Gentle with Oneself

My inner voice can be a real jerk.  I know this stems from fear of failure and perfectionism. Our perception becomes clouded from social media. We see friends/people’s good sides, fake and inflated, and we become dissatisfied with our life.  Dissatisfaction is the purpose of advertising and marketing. Hate where you are at because something new is better and leave no room for contentment.  I had a friend say to me, “if I spoke about myself the way you speak about yourself, you would be so mad at me.” We can be our own worst enemy. I realized that most of the things I am upset about, will not matter in weeks, months or years.

 

#3 Deepening Your Relationship with God

Relationships take work.  We can pray to God like He is a genie fulfilling our every wish and command or we can learn about God through reading/studying The Bible, worship, and prayer.  We fill our lives with other things that we think will help when God is waiting for us to turn back to Him. However, my faith increases when I remember all that God has done for me.

 

#4 Self-Care and Therapy

Self-care is different for everyone.  It has been suggested to me to take a bubble bath and get a pedicure; I’d rather not.  I would much rather be in nature alone or take a day to rest. Regularly, I see a therapist and a physical therapist to help my mind and body.  There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. If you take care of yourself, then you can take care of others. Remember in an emergency on an airplane, put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others.  The same goes for taking care of yourself.

 

#5 Find a Creative Outlet

Hey, all you artists, singers, writers, and dancers, etc.!  Find a hobby or dive deep into your talents. It feels cathartic to me to write.  It helps to get it out into an art form.  If you have trouble finding your inner artist, I highly recommend this book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.

 

#6 Forgiveness

Unforgiveness will eat you alive if you don’t address it.  Learning to forgive is difficult, but I found a way to do it.  Forgive and forget isn’t plausible in every situation; there are different levels of forgiveness.  1.) A person can forgive and remain in contact with the person and move on past the issue together. 2.) A person can forgive but never speak or see the person ever again because they died or they are dangerous.  And 3.) a person forgives, interacts with them but keeps a solid boundary. Jesus’ ministry is about reconciliation. When you drudge up the past, gossip about the person, or always think about the sin, it will not serve you well.  Your body will feel like it is re-living the moment again. Take the time to work through it, and God will heal your heart.

 

#7 Help in the Moment of the Attack

An anxiety attack can feel like you are about to die.  Your entire body goes into fight or flight mode. Your breath is shallow, your heart races, you sweat, and experience pain and loss of control.  There are a couple of ways that I learned to calm down the anxiety attack: cover your left eye and breathe and the other is to ground yourself by engaging in your senses.  

There is something about covering your left eye that stops your brain from engaging in the attack.  Your left eye controls the right side of the brain as the right eye controls the left side of the brain.  When the left eye is covered, the right side of your brain takes over, and your analytical side comes through and sees the situation for what it is.  You are probably not in immediate danger. After a few slow cleansing breaths, the feeling should reside.

If you feel an attack coming on but still feel like you are in control, start to engage all of your senses.  First, look at something around you that seems pleasant.

Take a moment to look at it and see the joy it brings.  Find something to smell that is pleasant. Just note the scent, but don’t dwell on it.  Listen to sounds you hear around you, people talking or laughing, a bird chirping, footsteps.  If you have access to a taste, like mints in your pocket or a piece of gum, savor it. I have used, Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pastilles to chew on when I began to feel anxious.  Lastly, touch something you have nearby. I have run my fingertips along the zipper of my purse. Others I have known have kept a smooth rock from the beach with them to touch when they feel anxious.  Whatever you need to do to feel calm, do it!

 

You can do this!

 

Actively working through the anxiety will make your triggers feel less heightened.  The good news is, with practice, it does get easier. I have found myself calm in situations now, that used to set off anxiety.  

For some reason, I get triggered by standing in line at a busy grocery store. I have left a cart full of food in the store and ran out of a store because the anxiety was so hard.  Movie theaters used to make me claustrophobic and panic-stricken and dental visits. Lord knows I would have a panic attack before, during, and after the appointment. Yesterday, I sat through a dental appointment that required two fillings. Every so often, I could feel the panic come up. But I told myself, I have not worked so hard to let this overtake me anymore. And thankfully, I made it through and enjoyed the rest of the day.

I hope that something listed speaks to you and can put you on the path of healing.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I put my faith and trust in you.  Lord, it says in your word numerous times, to not worry and to meditate on what is true and noble.  I entrust my life in your capable hands. Remind me all you have carried me through in my life. Give me grace with myself and remove this negative bias that things will not get better.  I know that Jesus did not die and suffer on the cross for me to be in an anxious state. Thank you for this new life, in Jesus’ Name AMEN!”

 

*Disclaimer-I was not paid by any company for the products or apps I suggested in this post.  

Sabotaging the Outcome Before I Even Start

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” Matthew 14:30-32

The activity of swimming is one of my least favorite things. I had ear infections, after many visits to the pool. My swimming abilities were sub-par. I don’t like swimming. In college, I had to face my fears whether I wanted to or not.

My major in college was Kinesiology, the study of human movement. There was a requirement of taking six different sports classes, one of them being aquatics. I talked to the administrator for my major and asked if I could get around that particular requirement. They said, “if you want to graduate, you must take the class.” Thankfully my best friend, who is like a fish in the water, offered to take it with me and be my support.

The first day of the class came, and I was nervous. The students were waiting out by the pool. An older man drives up in a yellow Corvette, gets out of the car shirtless in swim trunks with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. The man walks up to our group and asks, “beginning swim? I’m Flip, your coach.” First, we took care of the paperwork of people adding the class and straightening out schedule questions. Then he said, “we will start tomorrow, class dismissed.”

Now, I was upset because I was all worked up for and had to put on a bathing suit for nothing. I walked over to Flip and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can teach me how to swim, I am horrible at it, and I hate being in the water.” Flip, took his cigar out of his mouth leaned in and said in a calming voice, “can you give me a chance, my dear? I will not let anything happen to you. But if it doesn’t work out, we will go from there, okay?” And the next day, I did.

Flip had us in the shallow pool, and we got used to the water. We did simple exercises. Then he asked us to all get out and walk over to the Olympic size pool, that was about 16 feet deep. He told us to get into the pool and hold on to the side, slowly let go, and then we will dip below the water, and come back up with our heads above the water, without needing to tread water. And it worked. I couldn’t believe it.

After class, he asked, if I will be okay and I said yes, I would. He told the students to buy some goggles and flippers for the hands to skim across the water. By the end of that same week, I was swimming laps in the Olympic pool. I come to find out; Flip was the coach for Olympic Gold Medalist swimmers Gary Hall Jr. and Amanda Beard. My friend says, “oh my, only you would tell an Olympic Swim Coach, he can’t teach you how to swim.” Yes, I would!

There were two lessons I learned from this experience. Attitude is everything. It was so helpful to have a coach, who listened and acknowledged my fears, but encourage me that I could do it. Flip knew I couldn’t handle hearing, “oh suck it up, you big crybaby!” And how many times, are we faced with something difficult in our lives and we cry out to God, “I can’t do this! Why do I have to be in this situation?” We will have to endure some growing pain and hard times. But God is able; we are capable through Him. God wants us to be victorious! If we aren’t victorious in a particular situation, God had something better meant for us.

Lesson Learned: Let your faith lead you through the difficult times and God will help you figure it out in some way.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting you. Help me to see where you are in difficult times. May the Holy Spirit give me wisdom and knowledge. May my attitude change and learn to build on those positive experiences. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Fear Factor

“I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give.” John 14:27

There are days, I can feel the anxiety in the air. If you watch or read news stories, one cannot help but be fearful. There are tragedies of shootings, natural disasters and uncertainties in government.

I admit, there were days where the anxiety was too much for me and I would have a panic attack. It was draining. So, I made a decision to wholeheartedly go to God first with prayer, then to have my mind go into a downward spiral.

Three years ago, we made the decision to remodel our kitchen. We saved for many years to pay for it all up front. I was so excited to get new cabinets and countertops because our kitchen was about 38 years old.

In this process of renovation, I was collecting quotes from different contractors. This man, named *Mike came over who was highly recommended by a few people. He was going through the kitchen taking measurements and noticed I had a water filter on my counter.

*Mike asked me questions about the filter and if it filtered out fluoride. I said I had a separate filter for that attached. Then he asked if I had heard of a certain info website that was famous for being an alt-right wing conspiracy site.  When I heard the name (which I will refrain from mentioning), I thought, “oh no, where is this going?”

I was truthful and said that I had heard of that website. Mike seemed so excited to learn I knew what he was talking about.  He proceeded to give a lengthy monologue about how the end of the world was coming due to the government and that he has a stockpile of food, water and ammunition when all hits the fan. He talked about having pills to take in case there was a radiation fall out. You name it he was prepared for it.

I live in California, where a huge earthquake could happen at anytime. We are prepared. I do believe in having an emergency plan for events and knowing what to do. But at some point, you can’t have it rule over your daily life.

The fear and anxiety this man had, was making me anxious. Then I heard the Lord say, “he doesn’t know my peace.” So, when he finally stopped talking, I said, “it seems like you worry a lot. While I do believe in preparing and having a plan, I trust in God so I can have peace.”   He just stared at me, then he laughed. He said, “well how are you going to defend yourself when society can’t take care of you?” I told him, “I have never depended on society to take care of me but instead I dwell on the fact that I am a child of God and if I die, I will be in heaven not suffering.”

Again, he stared at me like I had four heads and didn’t say anything until he finished with the estimate. He said he would email me with the estimate and left.

I wish I could say, he accepted the Lord after our conversation, but he did not. I do hope though, something made him see an alternative way to live.

Life will be troublesome and scary. There will be times, where we just won’t know what to do. But God is faithful to His people and will carry them through those difficult times. Jesus overcame the world, NOT so we could live in fear and anxiety but to be over comers too.

Lesson Learned: I am an over comer.  I do not need to live in fear because the world does.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I trust in you. Even though I don’t always understand your way, I believe you have my best interest at hand. Help me in those times of trouble. Give me wisdom to prepare the best I can, but to trust that we are in your hands. I am so thankful that I know you and can rest in your love. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Mid-Life Transition

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29

It has been 6 months since I turned 40 years old. Some days, I can feel the pain of it, both physically and mentally. There is a growing level of disappointment about my life that feels suffocating and tiresome.  Honestly, it is a terrible way to live.

It was time for my yearly wedding ring inspection at the jeweler. They inspect and clean the ring back to its original luster. I love my ring, it isn’t too big or too small. It has a vintage look and I still receive compliments on it after 14+ years. Some of my husband’s family couldn’t believe he bought me that ring because it wasn’t on clearance somewhere. His sister saw the ring and said, “Hey, come look at what my cheap-skate brother bought his girlfriend! Welcome to the family!”

I gave the ring to the sales person and she went back to inspect and clean the ring.  She came back and said, “have you considered upgrading your ring?” I stood there with my mouth open in disbelief. She said, I deserved a bigger ring because we are nearing our 15 year anniversary. I told her, that I love my ring and it has true sentimental value, plus I wouldn’t want to have someone Kim Kardashian my finger to steal it. Now, she was in disbelief, as I thanked her and walked out of the store.

As ridiculous as that situation seemed, it planted a bad seed of discontent in my mind. While I didn’t want a new ring, I thought maybe my husband may want to upgrade and get a new wife. I felt this way because I know of two women that are separating from their husbands. One wanted to, because she felt she could do better while the other one was blind-sided by her husband’s decision to separate. Other people I know are discontent in careers they have been working hard in for 20+ years. They say, there just has to be something better but simpler.

One Sunday morning, I was driving my family to church. I felt this overwhelming sadness hit me. As the tears streamed down my face, I silently prayed, “Lord, what is going on with me?” The response I felt was, “I feel like I am having a mid-life crisis.” I giggled on the inside and thought, “am I going to buy a Ferrari next?” But I realized that I am feeling the same thing that many are feeling in their lives. The commonality of a lot of these struggling people are we are all in our 40’s, assessing our lives, wondering-what next?

Ironically, that same Sunday, our pastor began a series on the book of Daniel. He told a story about his own insecurities when he started off as a pastor. The pastor prayed about the insecurities and God told him, “just be you, be who I created you to be, no one else.” That sermon took a hold of my heart.

After the pity party at church, I gave my friend a call. She is able to listen and give a Godly assessment. I told her what I was experiencing, mentioning the mid-life crisis. She told me, “I don’t believe that this is a mid-life crisis, more like a mid-life transition.” My friend was right. God can create a change in our hearts to be who He intended us to be.

Living life in this world pulls us in many different directions. We believe we have to: make a certain amount of money, marry someone aesthetically pleasing, live in a nice zip code, own lots of things, give our children a life with endless activities. To attain these things, we believe we have to work overtime, supply our kids with material things, instead of attention. I admit, I was lured into thinking that I needed the $200 French face cream to combat the wrinkles that are forming. Yet, life can be much simpler. We can take a step back and communicate this to our loved ones. More than likely, they are feeling it too.

Lesson Learned: I won’t lament over the idea that life is over.  I will access them and ask God, what is it that you are trying to show me?

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for living my life in the world. Show me what you created me to be. Give me the confidence to pursue your will instead of mine. Thank you for supplying all of my needs. Create a grateful heart, not one of discontent. Convict me of those times, when I am envious of others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”