In my last post, I filled you in on my not-so-fine moment at the pharmacy. It was the last straw after a crazy long week of disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion.
I’m guessing you’ve been there too.
Can I be honest?
Sometimes our circumstances stink.
Whether it’s ER visits or roof leaks like I’ve experienced, or maybe relationship challenges, job loss, or health concerns — life can be just plain old hard, can’t it?
Did you read the comments from my last post? Sometimes we’re asked to walk through hard things, aren’t we?
What are we to do? How do we get through those stressful situations when we feel like we just can’t take it anymore?
I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share what worked for me last week.
Now, I wish I could say at my “last straw moment” at the pharmacy drive-through — a Bible verse came to mind, I reflected on my coping strategies, I stopped and prayed, and the Holy Spirit enveloped me with peace.
Nope. If I said that, I would be a
big fat (oops, no fat talk) liar.
I honestly thought I could start screaming or crying or pounding my fist into the steering wheel or something. I was close to my breaking point.
Please tell me I’m not the only one. You’ve been there too, right?
Here’s what helped, friends —
1. Acknowledge –
I acknowledged I was dangerously close to the edge. “Wow, I’m gonna lose it. This is not good” thoughts ran through my head. I also called my husband John and acknowledged to him I could not take any more, and needed his help.
2. Breathe –
I am a horrible “breather,” and it’s easier for me to numb out, escape, or flee from stressful situations. When I thought I could lose it, I said to myself, “Cindy, take a deep breath, remember who you are (i.e. you are a child of the King, make sure you act like one), just keep breathing.”
3. Choose life-giving choices –
Boy was I crabby on Friday. Saturday too.Since I had acknowledged to John how I was feeling, he helped me make choices for the next few days to help me get back on a healthy track.
- I chose to tuck myself into bed early on Friday, rather than go to (another) hockey game.
- I chose to fill my body with good foods, and not run to the junk that my flesh so desperately wanted. (Chips and salsa was not gonna solve this)
- I chose to ask John if I could sneak out on Saturday, and spent three hours at my favorite coffee shop hideout just soaking in God’s Word and praying.
- I chose to give myself grace, and not bully or shame myself.
- I chose to limit my online time. I recognized I was vulnerable, and could easily compare my crummy conditions to others’ cheery circumstances — which could lead down more unhealthy thought patterns.
- I intentionally chose to be better and not bitter.
- I chose to coordinate a family day to Lake Michigan on Sunday to get away from the water-damaged ceilings and stained walls.
Friends, the good news — I feel 200% better today. Woo Hoo!
Have my circumstances changed?
Thankfully the leaks have stopped for the moment, but the medical bills remain, Sarah continues to have an ear infection, we’ll still need to complete major home repairs this spring/summer, and our boat is still ruined. (The boat place won’t even take it for free. What do you do with a dead boat? oy vey)
However, these stressful situations have not gotten the best of my sanity.
How about for you? How are you doing these days…really?
- Acknowledge – Would it be helpful to acknowledge — whether it’s to God, your spouse, a good friend — how you are really doing? On a scale from 1-10, how is your stress level?
- Breathe – When was the last time you stopped and took a deep breath? Can you do so now? (Stop here and breathe. One more time). Some call that “spiritual breathing.” As you exhale, let go of your challenging circumstances, stress, and disappointments. And as you inhale, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with fresh peace, strength, and patience. (Breathe one more time).
- Choose life-giving choices – What healthy choices can you make today for you? Go to bed early (Let the housework go. it’ll still be there in the morning) Call a good friend. Light a candle. Open God’s Word and remind yourself who He says you are. Pray. Enjoy a leisurely walk. Soak in the tub. Make a gratitude list.
Friends, our stressful situations don’t have to rob us of our sanity, peace, joy, or satisfaction.
Jesus came so that we might have life – a full life, more than enough, superabundant, overflowing. [John 10:10]
Let’s take Him up on His offer, shall we?
Not just life when we get to heaven someday.
Not life when our stressful situations are solved.
Not life when we lose the weight, pay the bills, send the kids back to school (no more snow days or delays in Jesus Name!), get the new couch, fix the leaks, organize the garage, or fit into our pants.
Sweet friend, please know regardless of your stressful situation, you are not alone.
Your sanity matters.
Your life matters.
And you are loved!
I’m so grateful you chose to stop by *She Sparkles*. I thank God for you!
Thank you for praying for me following my comment on your blog last night!
Your blog today has wonderful suggestions. It’s funny, but yesterday was probably the first day that I acknowledged publicly how I was feeling about this present set of circumstances (other than to my husband). Transparency was the word of the day. I posted on Facebook a list of our minor catastrophes and admitted that there had been so many in such a short time that I could tell I was sinking into depression (from previous experience). I asked for prayer, and several of my good friends responded. I also sent an email to my pastor requesting prayer.
Last night, I decided to read a few chapters from a book for pleasure instead of continuing to work. I went to bed instead of doing ‘just one more load of laundry.’ (And everyone survived!)
Today, my dog threw up on me as soon as I finished dressing for work. (I work outside of the home only 1 1/2 days a week – most of the rest of the time from home and today was my full day out.) After cleaning up the mess and dressing again, I drove to my first stop (50 miles) only to find that the person I had an appointment to meet with was not in. When I left the building, I slipped on ice and fell flat on my (chronically painful) back.
Not a good start to the day, BUT God….it had to be God…blessed me because I fell into a snow bank that had not yet frozen over into ice, thus cushioning my fall; AND I laughed to think what a sight I was. I had to have looked like a cartoon character taking that fall. Laughing can count for deep breathing, can’t it?
Thank you again for your faithfulness in your writing and speaking. God bless you. 🙂
My first visit to your blog, Cindy. I really enjoyed reading these two posts. Of course, I have many days like this. I applaud you for turning it around and sharing such objective thoughts. My children are grown, but I remember the frustrations of interrupted days and plans. God surely is in control, no matter what the circumstances. He doesn’t expect us to be in control. He expects us to lean on Him. Well said, and thank you! ~Joyce