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.  

We Need to Stop Believing the Lies of the Enemy

I wrote the post below for #lionslightinternational

This is Colette, here. I run the social media for #lionslightinternational

Honestly, I feel like absolute crap. The issue is I allowed myself to believe the lies of the enemy. I believed I am worthless, un-lovable, and non-existent to others.

The enemy loves to distract us from remembering all the ways God has saved us and helped us in our life so far.

I cried out to God and asked…

Where are my friends?
Where is the love? Have I been forgotten by everyone?
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

Immediately, I heard God say, “I’m right here, right now, as always.”

I saw an image of Jesus embracing me. I Googled an image and this one, I posted feels just right.

Most of my life, I have felt like an outsider. I feel quirky and different from other people. Whether with my own friends, other couples, other moms, women at church…I still felt alone.

But, that is a lie from the pit of hell. We are never alone when we know God.

So this post is for anyone who needed to see this precious picture of Jesus holding a child. Jesus loves you and He will comfort you.

Stop believing those lies like you don’t matter. You do matter! This world needs you!

 

Know Your Value

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them.” Psalm 139:16-17

There is so much pressure in the world today to be successful; it overwhelms us.  That pressure and stress have become unbearable for some. You can feel it in the atmosphere.  Sometimes you hear about it in the news because the story is about someone committing suicide and the aftermath.

Our niece is a high school senior.  She has many wonderful qualities: kind, intelligent, athletic and beautiful.  Her grades are perfect, and she has many extracurricular activities.  She wants to be a surgeon someday, so she has to be tough and be able to handle a lot at once.  Over the holidays, I heard her extensive schedule for the next semester, and it floored me.

A few days after seeing her for the holidays, I learned of a popular newscaster who died of a drug overdose.  Even though it was not a suicide, he allegedly used drugs to cope with the stress in his life. Sadly, many people deal with stress through the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, video games, eating disorders, etc.  The pressure becomes too much to handle.

For some reason, God put our niece heavily on my heart when I heard about this newscaster. I felt like I needed to tell her that she is valuable, I was proud of her,  and no matter what, she would be successful in all she planned to do. I sent her a text. She responded that she needed to hear that.

Whether you are heading into college, getting a job in a career that you want, finding a spouse or even planning a birthday party, they are so many expectations-real and unnecessary.  The competition alone can bring people to their knees. In my daughter, just as a Fourth Grader, I saw the stress of the state testing week make her physically ill. I know she prepared the best she could, so I told her, that I did not care about the outcome of this test as long as you try.  She relaxed and tested at her grade level. I do not need her developing ulcers, worrying about a test score.

In January 2018, there was a suicide of a high school student in South Orange County, CA.  He wrote a letter about his discontent of living a pressure-filled life and trying to attain a perfect grade point average.  He enjoyed playing a sport, not the constant drive to achieve championships. It broke my heart.  He wanted to be a teen and have fun and try his best.  He felt he could not be himself.

Our worth should not be defined by the world, but by God.  God has a unique plan and purpose for each of us. Death and destruction are not a part of His purpose for us.  No matter how difficult life gets, God wants us to finish well. Let us relax the unrealistic pressure put on ourselves by the world.  Pursue God and seek His will. If we fail, then it will not be devastating. God loves us, and we are all valuable and worthy.

Lesson Learned: My value and worth are in the Lord, not the world.  In knowing that then I will be free.

No More Self-Inflicted Suffering

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:10

The disciples and apostles in The Bible suffered greatly for sharing the gospel of Christ. Job suffered immensely. The Bible tells us, our lives will not be comfortable on this Earth, especially for knowing Him. However, there is a difference for suffering for God versus dealing with constant suffering in our lives.

A friend of mine shared that he suffered from chronic neck pain. He was stressed and not taking care of himself. Once he sought help and took action to help himself, his situation began to change for the better. This friend said something poignant. He said, “God doesn’t want us to suffer.”

Many times, we worry how things will turn out. I have wasted precious hours of sleep thinking of every scenario of a situation. Honestly, I thought this would help me. Instead, my body would hurt, and I would wake up exhausted in the morning.

A few months ago, I woke up thinking and agonizing over a problem. Thankfully, I had a moment of clarity, “it is 2 a.m., what could I possibly do to solve this problem right now? Nothing, so I need to rest so that I would feel rested in the morning.” I was asleep in minutes. Before, I would have stayed awake for 2 hours minimum.

Trusting and having faith in the Lord is the remedy to the suffering we bring upon ourselves. We may never know the answer to the problem or why a person behaves the way they do. There are things we want for our lives, but God has a different way for us.

Thankfully, bad situations and problems are temporary. It may not feel like it at the moment, but things usually get better. If we reflect on how we got through a stressful time, we can see how it changed for the better. Worrying never helped, but God’s direction and our faith are what brought us to the other side. Remember God has got us! If we are to suffer for anything, it is for advancing the kingdom of God.

Lesson Learned: Self-inflicted suffering will not get us through life’s problems.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not trusting in you. I pray for healing in all areas of my life, where I may suffer. Reveal in me what to let go or when to fight. I ask for a hedge of protection around myself and my family. Help me to allow you, Heavenly Father to fight my battles. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”