Hey Friend —

Have you ever had the “blues” before?

Maybe you find the winter months to be long and dreary and blah.

Or perhaps the political ranting and raving and name-calling has left you feeling hopeless and confused.

Althought I’m typically a glass-half-full, encourager—lover of life and all things sparkly, celebratory and fun—with all the negativity and nastiness being spewed these days, I’ve found myself slipping into a sadness, and having to be very intentional to choose joy and gratitude each day.

I can see how circumstances have helped lead me to this point.

Take a lengthy ministry schedule + one excrutiating ear infection + an injured arm that is in constant pain + intense kids’ sports schedule + missing my beloved firstborn + one naughty, loud, food-addicted beagle + lack of sunlight = one weary and sad mama.

I wonder if you can relate? 

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I’m learning is helping me to get stronger — emotionally, physically, and spiritually — day by day.

1. Rest

You gotta know REST doesn’t come naturally for a Type A, get ‘r done girl like me.

But I am learning, growing, and taking steps towards incorporating blocks of rest into my schedule.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken extra naps, accepted John’s offer to sleep in and let him handle the morning routine, let my “To Do” list go and snuck off to the bookstore by myself, and scheduled extra coffee chats with life-giving friends.

The gift of rest has become a much needed lifesaver to me during this season.

If I can learn to rest, you can too.

I need to remind myself often that rest isn’t the break we take when the work is complete, but rest is the break we take in the middle of our work. (Big. Difference.)

How do you best experience the gift of rest, sweet friend?

2. Extend Grace.

Like you, my To Do list is long, although lately mine has been borderline overwhelming.

When I’m choosing to build rest into my schedule—things are going undone, emails are left unanswered, FB messages pile up, and people get disappointed.

To beat the blues, I’m learning to extend much grace to myself.

  • I talk kindly to myself.
  • I remind myself my worth is not based on what I do, how clean the house is, and whether or not I have my e-mail inbox emptied (whew.)
  • I’ve been careful to extend the same grace to myself I would to a close friend. If I wouldn’t say it to a friend, I don’t say it to myself (i.e. I’d never say, “I can’t believe you took a nap today. You’re so lazy!” so I don’t bully myself either.)
  • If I’d say it to a friend, I say it to me. (i.e. “Wow, you’ve had a full past few weeks. It makes sense your body is still tired and getting stronger. Why don’t you put your feet up and enjoy some time reading or resting?” Yes, please.)

Let’s sprinkle grace everywhere we go, starting with ourselves.

IMG_6685

Love special deliveries like this

3. Share Your Feelings

It’s been very helpful to have a small handful of close girlfriends to share how I am really doing. Their words of love and encouragement have helped restore my weary soul.

Most importantly, it’s been great to have a husband to listen and affirm my need to rest and get stronger.

It’s also been helpful to sit with a notebook and ask myself the questions:

  • What am I sad about?
  • What am I worried about?
  • What am I mad about?
  • What am I glad about?

Our feelings matter, friend.

(Now we shouldn’t base all our decisions and choices off of our feelings, but we don’t need to stuff and numb them either, right?)  My philosophy:

feel deal heal

4. Move

Y’all, mostly this week I want to stay curled up under my blankie and drink an insane amount of Starbucks.

This would not be a healthy, helpful way to deal with my stress and allow God to heal my weary soul.

So even when I don’t want to, I have been getting up and moving. Walking on the treadmill. Walking with a close friend (yes, I even mall walked and I liked it).  Doing ab work-outs with my trainer friend. You get the drift.

To help overcome the blues, we might want to monitor and adjust our fitness routine, but it’s still important to get up, move, and get those endorphins going.

5. Pay Attention

Lastly, I am learning to pay attention to the circumstances and details that helped lead me to this point. Are there changes I need to make in my personal life? Schedule? Family routine?

How is God at work, and where is He leading and guiding? What is helping restore my soul?

In the midst of this challenging season, I have been trying to pay close attention to His lead, and will be making changes to stay connected to my Heavenly Father: shutting off negative social media, saying NO to extra commitments (even good things), staying in the Word.

I’m also paying attention to make sure day by day I’m making progress. If I get stuck in my sadness I will make phone calls and/or appointments, as necessary.

Sweet friend, you do not have to journey alone.

Please pay attention to how you are doing, and if you find yourself slipping into sadness, let others help you.

Enough about me, how about YOU?

How are you doing these days, really? Have you ever found yourself faced with the “blues?”

Y’all, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but thankfully we know the One Who does.

And this I know: He gives rest to the weary, and He restores our souls.

How do you stay “filled up” so you don’t “fizzle out” and find yourself extra fatigued? What has worked during seasons you’ve experienced weariness and/or sadness? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles,* sweet friend. I thank God for you!

Warmly,

 

 

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