It’s been a challenging couple weeks. I won’t lie, despite the fact that my mother (hi mom!!! I’m on the internet!) and possibly a couple of my employers may read this. 😉
Thankfully, in general my employers (and mother) are familiar with my penchant for the dramatic, so hopefully they’ll be understanding of the desire to rant. But I wanted to talk about something related-ish.
I want to talk about how one good day can turn around a bad year. And how we need to embrace positivity. And all of the related things.
There’s been a lot going on. Health problems, lots of stress in all the various relationships, differing pressures from differing people, a fortnight-long cold, a new job that’s really knowledge-intense, managing three jobs and figuring out the scheduling, gas prices making my frequent hour-long drives difficult, not getting to see Matthias for a month or so …
And then there are other little things. Issues with my new laptop not installing the programs I need to format my novels. Problems popping up with my edits. Having puppies that we can’t sell despite having a waitlist of 20+ people (the economy, y’all).
We’re even looking into home owning these days, which involves figuring out allll the different monetary things I’ve never had to worry about (because believe it or not I’m so upstanding & debtless that I can’t be trusted, lol). Right now is not really a time when I feel like adding one more thing, but it’s kind of a good distraction, too.
There’s a lot of things that I could complain about. A lot of things that are making it hard to maintain a positive attitude.
You see, I’m not naturally the most positive person in the world. I definitely live in the moment, but in the moment, I am often dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, inability to focus, and so on.
That kind of bogs me down. For instance, as I’m writing this, just getting basic stuff done this morning due to the amount of stress I was feeling was … exhausting. I finally did get moving (and that never fails to help me!), but I was cognizant of the fact that time was wasted and brains were not used.
Part of the time, I just have to give myself grace. I know how out of whack my hormones are today – I know how exhausted I am – I know how little I have left to give in certain categories. (Am I the only one who runs out of energy in certain areas before others? My house-cleaning energy tends to go first, and my writing energy last.)
I’m also a heavily-ambitious person, so the best I can do is rarely enough. For me, perhaps, but I feel I also have been disappointing others lately, and I hate that.
Tonight my plan is to unplug a little and watch a movie with my husband. (Writing this the night before it posts, because you know #LastMinuteForTheWin)
I’ve learned to do this more often over the last month because first, it lets me spend time with my husband in a way I understand, and two, it forces me to take a break … again, in a way understand.*
*I’m not the kind of person who really needs frequent rest so much as a different type of stimulation, and for some reason, watching a movie is one of the few things that fits that bill.
I think part of it comes down to understanding yourself. Understanding what you can take and how one good day, as mentioned in the title, can make a huge difference in a bad month.
I understand that I’m a person of the moment. I live day to day, moment to moment, and little steps DO help me in a way that nothing else does. Moving helps me. Exercise helps me a lot! Doing things that make me feel confident and competent are huge bonuses for my energy.
Granted, I shouldn’t need any of this, and I’m cognizant of that fact, too. We need God. In the most desperate of times, He is enough to sustain us.
Thankfully, He also gave us brains that have tricks that can help them work, and my tricks are especially easy to find out, so why not discover them?
I went up to a Republican conference with Matthew (at no small inconvenience to my brother who drove me up late lol) a couple weeks ago, despite me being sick and also girl-sick
(some day we will go on a trip when I’m not on my period but apparently that’s not any time soon).
I found a lovely little walk along the river (same one by my house). Matthew went on it with me one night, and then I spent most of the next day walking it by myself.
It was really good for me to get that much exercise in, and I also had some time to think about what I wanted to do when I got home and how I wanted to handle the next few weeks, which by all accounts were going to be difficult.
I hate how difficult it has been, but at least, I knew it was going to be. I’m not surprised.
Disappointed, maybe. I have been on a negative slump since mid-May. Nothing seems to work for me, and that exhausts me greatly.
That said, it again comes down to the little things. The walk helped. We also hiked Beacon Rock – and then a friend and I have been jogging every so often – and that same friend (Bailey) and I have also gone on a few small adventures together.
These little things make life feel more real and more doable, but there’s another part to it, too.
For instance, a couple weeks ago, I got two days home when I’d only been expecting one – and during that time, I got the apartment cleaned, a lot of miscellaneous writing work done, and also made serious headway on the trainings for my new job.
That was also the day I went on the small adventure up Mt. Hood with Bailey (finding the pond you see to the right and hopping in it despite the rain and the fact that the signs suggested it wasn’t a great idea) and went for a jog with her, which helped. I always feel better when I’m on the move.
And you know, I could let myself get bogged down by my circumstances. I can’t be on the move because we can’t find a better place to live where I can safely go outside, have more than a few hundred square feet to move around in, can have a dog to play with, can have friends and family over.
Yet I’m figuring out ways around that. Figuring out how to exercise, to spend time with friends, to work around my schedule, to prioritize my husband – even if the circumstances for doing that couldn’t be less ideal.
More than that, I’m focusing on deepening my relationship with God – even when I’m a little frustrated with Him.
I could say that I feel like He’s just not furthering my plans, like He’s making everything more difficult, like every step forward is getting stuck.
Yet there are so many positive things, too. I have a lot of hope for my new job. I will soon be back with Matthias. In the end, my health struggles (and Matthew’s) are probably for the best, but I also know what steps to take to fix them.
Long drives give me time to think – learning new things is never bad – broken relationships force me to turn to God. Well, really, everything forces me to turn to God.
And I understand a little more every day and am able to do a little more every week.
The other fact is, of course, that God’s ways are so far above our own. He oft-reminds us that “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.” Is there anything too hard for Him? Of course not.
I don’t know everything – or much. I’m of average intelligence and certainly of below-average faith. I do my best; sometimes that isn’t good enough, and that’s a simple fact.
Thankfully, our worth is not determined by what we do, or we’d all have given up or become idiots long ago.
Lately, I read a post complaining about Emily Dickinson’s famous poem: “Hope is a Thing with Feathers.”
The post rambled on and on about how hope is not anything as fragile as a little bird, crooning softly in a tree. Hope is a sewer rat that’s seen some things.
Bitter or experienced though the poster may be, I disagree. Hope is still a thing of beauty and wonder.
That’s how hope survives – not by living in the dirt, but by rising above it.
Not by being a rat, but by being a bird.
Not by sitting in the darkness, but by seeking the light.
Not by looking at the storm, but by looking at the Savior.
Never would I imply that hope comes simply from an emotional response. In fact, quite the opposite. Hope comes from being firm. From standing up for the light, for what’s right, and turning away from the dark, the evil.
From taking small steps and being faithful to your calling.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Thank You, God, for never asking anything of us in exchange for hope. May we have the strength to grasp it!
What are your thoughts on my thoughts? Would you add anything? I’m sure I was not super thorough. Also, do you like yogurt and granola, because I do now. I would’ve said “gross” a couple weeks ago, but now I’m really liking it.