I would like to blame this rut I am in on the fact that my skin has not felt the warmth of the sun in three months. Or maybe my antsiness comes from trying to find something for my kids to do almost every day of the week because they are not in school and they cannot go outside. I would like to tell you that I am having trouble being in a room with anyone because I just want to be in my pajamas and hibernate. But I’m not sure any of this is true.
Because I believe in vulnerability, I’m being brave right now in telling you that I am struggling. I cannot focus. I am not interested in much. I am not finding joy in the spaces I always find goodness (which is basically everywhere). I am annoyed. And distant. I am just focusing on what will get me through the day, the week or through the month.
Years ago, my ups and downs were pretty consistent. One day up. Another day down. Two days up. Two days down. It all depended on who I came in contact with, what circumstances surrounded the day, whether I felt loved or not.
Then I grew up a little bit. I can now identify a trigger. I know what prompts me to turn off my phone for the day or not eat. Instead of swallowing my feelings, I confront them now. Deal with them. And let them go.
On a general note, I am light and bubbly now. Sometimes I feel a little tick in my heart, it gets tight; if I wait patiently for about three days, that feeling will go away and I’ll feel like me again. My little ticks no longer control my life.
I’m not saying I’m unhappy right now. But I’m struggling. I’m starting to question whether it’s the weather or other issues I need to deal with. I’ve become annoyed, angry, jealous, have felt misunderstood and just am struggling to find meaning in anything. These emotions within me signal that this is something deeper than lack of Vitamin D.
Here’s the thing that scares me the most: I don’t have any thoughts right now. I used to get so excited about sharing the way I see the world with you. Telling you stories about my kids’ discoveries or what I have learned.
During the basketball game on Friday, a friend said she wanted me to meet a restaurant owner in Gibson City because we’re a lot alike. She said we are both creative. I explained to her that I am not creative right now. I am a dud. She asked if it is just a phase because she likes my thoughts. I hope so. I’m trying to mindfully wait through this knowing most things are just phases. Maybe this winter is just a time of nothing for me.
But I remember being here before. There were a few things I learned during that time that I am practicing now. Maybe if you’re struggling, too, you can also identify some things within yourself to practice.
-During a Sunday service at New Horizon Church way back in 2004, they displayed Philippians 4:4-9 on the prompter:
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all.The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
This verse slayed me because my thoughts included nothing lovely or admirable or praiseworthy. The peace of God was not with me because I was so focused on things that were not from Him. When I began to practice turning my thoughts towards the goodness in people, nature and circumstances, everything in my life turned around.
-I need to make things-with people. When I didn’t believe in myself, or even felt like I didn’t belong because of how I think about things, I needed to reach out and connect with people who were able to put their world/life view out there creatively. People who know how to let go of what the world may or may not think about their art and just create. I needed to experience people who share their lives through music, writing, photography, videos, paintings, etc.
Creative people show us how to be vulnerable. And they often show us the beauty in vulnerability.
I’ve recently realized I have become disconnected from creativity. I need to create.
-When I was going through this process years ago, my daily plan was to take one day at a time. Wake up grateful. And then when I went to bed, I asked myself how I felt about the day. Did I intentionally hurt anyone? If so, apologize, learn from mistakes and let it go.
-At that time, it was important for me to acknowledge how social I am. Suddenly, I could not be around people enough. Now, every second of my life is filled with someone: whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone, text or social media. I never have a moment to myself.
Maybe now that all my thoughts are someone else’s, I need to spend some time alone.
-And this last thing is the most important. I learned that God wants to carry all my burdens and joys. Whether I am dealing with childhood memories, how to be an adequate parent, what the future looks like, He doesn’t just want to help me through it, He wants to carry whatever it is for me. In that, I changed the way I go through everything in life.
Whether I’m jealous, feel left out, misunderstood, betrayed, angry, happy, overjoyed, blessed or like I could conquer the world, God knows I can’t carry all of it. But He can, and He wants to. I learned that God doesn’t want us walking around with the weight of the world on our shoulders, but instead he wants us to be light, bubbly and able to connect with the world. And we can only do that when we decide to let go. He’ll do the work when I let Him.
When I get through this, I’ll give you all the retrospect. I’ll let you know what I learn. And how it’s changed me. And maybe we’ll just talk about that one time the Polar Vortex put me into a slump….