The Circles We Live In

love

We live in circles. Circles of friends. Circles of family. Circles of status.

Circles, whether we believe it or not can control us.

A wise friend pointed out something to me not too long ago. Not so much pointed out to me more like drew it out for me. Because I am a visual learner and I have the attention span of a third grader after recess.

I was telling her that I was feeling anxious and overwhelmed. That my body felt like it was on edge and I found myself so critical of everything.

She quietly drew a circle on the paper in front of me with the words “love and forgiveness” in the middle.

She then explained that when I am in the circle of “love and forgiveness” there I am also with Christ.  There I am in alignment.

So simple. But so profound to me.

Any thought that continued to go into my head I had to run through the filter of “love and forgiveness”.

And that is when I realized I am constantly living in other circles.

The circle of anxiety and fear. This is where I read too many tragic stories or hear the news and it becomes paralyzing in my every thought and action. Where I react to someone out of fear rather than love.

The circle of judgment. This one at times is pretty big. I become very smart about every subject and don’t need to know the whole story because obviously I know the right answer. This is a very pious and forthright circle.

The circle of busyness. Here I have no time for anyone and time for everything. I fill my schedule and find that I am irritable and quick to snap because I haven’t bothered to take care of myself or those that are under my own roof. I find that my house is out of control and the kids soak that in.

The circle of resentment. This one I choose to use when I am feeling less then. I jump into my circle of resentment and carry around the heaviness of expectations that I had for myself that have not yet come to completion.

The circle of safety. When this circle gets too big I panic. I have to keep this circle small. For my own healing. When too many are let in I feel exposed and the safety goes away.

The circle of jealousy. Here I feel small. I feel like who I am will never be enough. Here I feel insecure.

I am sure I will identify many other circles as I learn to use this filter of identifying what I am feeling and why. Of becoming aware more than reactionary.

But I am craving the circle of love and forgiveness. In there I feel freedom. In there I see growth. In there I see acceptance. In there I embrace change. In there I feel like the weight has been lifted. In there I see clear. In there I am open and filled with hope and joy. In there is alignment with Christ.

What circles do you live in?

I love/ hate fall- when you aren’t the mom jumping up and down when your kids go back to school.

images3WF0CFTQI have a love/ hate relationship with fall. Unlike some people I love that the leaves change color, long sweaters and scarves, curried squash soup, sleeping with the windows open, apple picking, everything pumpkin (except PSL , that’s just gross) and snuggling up under a blanket with a soul feeding book.

But there is a huge part of fall that I loathe. School. (Don’t read this wrong, I LOVE our school and am so proud to be a part of such a diverse community. I digress, that is a whole other post). I am not what you would call a planner. I hate being busy. I have friends who say they thrive on being busy. I am not sure we are meant to be busy. I know for myself being busy means that I am saying no to other things. It means that I am running everyone to every sport practice, music lesson, and church. And with five kids with five different schedules this causes me to rethink adding Xanax to my yogurt in the morning. I think I would be a hermit if I could. OK. Maybe not that bad but I really don’t like to leave the house. If I have to drive more than three places in a day I get a little panicky.( stop laughing)

I know at the beginning of the year sweet mamas were posting picture of jumping in the air elated that their people were back in school all day. Me, not so much.

I was sad. And if we are going to be honest, scared.

You see fall is the appetizer for winter. And winter that I adore brings the D word.

In years past I would just let the anxiety of fall consume me and find myself overwhelmed and drowning in failure and expectations I let others put on me. I wasn’t able to keep up with the kids schedules. I didn’t know how to function with my husband gone six days/nights a week. So I drowned. The darkness would come and I would act surprised that it was there again. But If I look back I let it in. I am not saying that I asked for depression I am saying that I opened the door and did nothing to divert it another direction.

So this fall…..I am KICKING IT”S ASS!

I have put things in place that are healing for me. Things that are non-negotiable.

  • She Reads Truth. This community of women have been my safe place to pray, grow and heal. I was connected to them when I returned from Uganda by a woman I now call friend. I asked someone to help me find Jesus again and she pointed me to this daily devotional that has been such a haven of healing for me.
  • Exercise. I cannot stress this enough. If you know of anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, stress please encourage them to get exercise. I personally love walking, jogging, and kettle bell. It kicks my behind and raises my serotonin level. It has done wonders with my health and heart these past two years.
  • Food. This will always be a struggle for me. My past of eating disorders to the other extreme of shoving everything and anything in my mouth. It is a daily recommitment to treat my body with respect and not a garbage can. I will never be a size 4 and that is more than ok. But I want to know that I am doing everything I can to keep my heart and mind healthy.
  • Caffeine. I said goodbye to this friend. It was hard. I literally puked the third day off of it. I know, pathetic. But my doctor at the time asked me to try and stop. He said that it was pointless to take anti- anxiety meds and drink coffee like it was water. It was doing nothing but raising my heart rate and making it harder to think and complete thoughts.It’s been two years since I have had a regular cup of sweet nectar.
  • Sleep. I am a stickler on this one. If I am not getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night it is a recipe for disaster. I know it sounds like a lot but your body and mind need it. I need rest and to reset. It becomes a slippery slope if I stay up too late for too many nights in a row. This girl needs her beauty sleep.
  • Margin. I need to set margins or boundaries around extra things. I need to say no to even good things. Just because it is with my friends or a church activity or a concert I am dying to see I many times in the fall have to say no. I need to realize that at this point in my life I am raising five athletic children who thrive when on the field or court. I will not be a taxi driver forever but at this point I am. I can get angry every day and complain (which I do) or I can take this opportunity to have great conversations with the kids. About losing. About health. About school. About being an example. About deodorant. About commitment. About teamwork. About showering. About encouraging others. So I will continue to say no to some just so I can pour into those under my roof.
  • Date nights. Or days. Or afternoons. We have friends we kind of laid out our crap for us and told us we needed to get it together. We kind of love them. They did not tell us holier than thou advice. They took us where we were at and just offered up what worked for them. So we learned that we need to date. Every week. Not once a month. Not when you have a sitter. Not when you get dressed up (although we do that sometimes). Just date. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. ( just the two of you)  Go to the farmers market. Get dressed up and actually talk about each other.
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So fall I will learn to fully love you. I will. I will take better care of myself so we can be friends again.

What do you do to fight anxiety and depression?

Like tar around my bones.

hope-light-in-darkness

I remember thinking
this is it.

These are my last sane moments.

The darkness wrapped like tar around my bones.

I couldn’t breathe much less complete a sane thought.

I would check my phone seeing if anyone had called me.
Coming to save me from the darkness that loomed.

That somehow believing that if someone knew
they would save me.

I was imagining that the next month my children would have to visit me somewhere.
Some where they were keeping me safe.

Lock and key was how they would have to find me.
Sedated.

Visiting hours would determine our relationship.

Or I could just run.
Run where no one needed anything.
Where I didn’t have to be someone.

I didn’t run.
I stayed.
I screamed.
I wrestled.
I fought.

And when I couldn’t lift my head to fight anymore.
I begged God to fight for me. I begged him to come to me.

That morning.
The sun trying to push its way through the closed winter shades.
The price of my soul was up for grabs and I was sure that I had lost the battle.
I begged God to struggle for me.
To tell me I was worth the fight.

Over 16 months ago.
This is the verse that was shown to me that day.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

In the darkest

In the loneliest

In the emptiest

In the silence

In the madness

In the hopelessness

He gently whispers
I. am. healing.

Just hold on.
the Lord your God will be with you…..Joshua 1:9b

Sweet one, I know. I know today is hard. I know yesterday and tomorrow will be hard too. But I need you to close your eyes with me now and picture this. Your God, your strong powerful warrior God is surrounded by the battle that wages for your soul. He stands there larger than the darkness. He stands and armies fall with one word. They drop to the ground by the thousands, crying out for mercy.

And you sweet one. You have not been touched. The battle leaves not a mark on you. Because your God. Your powerful warrior God is fighting. Has fought. Will continue to fight for you.

Do not be afraid sweet one; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Just hold on.

#shereadstruth
#shesharestruth