Getting Past the Exhaustion

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

Such an inspiring quote. The thought that I can do even a little something right now, right this very instant to make things better. Smile at a stranger. Laugh with my two year old. Help someone in need.

I love it. And it’s something I want to remind myself over and over until I really “get it” because it’s simple and powerful.

Yet sometimes I see stuff like this and I just feel exhausted at the thought of it. If I’m to be honest, this thought of exhaustion, tiredness, or of the effort that something takes, I focus on that WAY too much. I’m not proud to say that, not at all, but it’s what happens to me.

Anyone else just feel exhausted thinking about such things? I can’t be alone on this one.

Don’t get me wrong this feeling of exhaustion isn’t limited to saving the world. It creeps in at 10pm when there is a sink full of dishes. It creeps in when there are important phone calls I need to make. It creeps in at the thought of cleaning the closet in my boys room. Or when I think about opening a youth center in my town.

The funny thing is that the thing that is actually exhausting is the fact that I don’t do those things. It’s more exhausting to leave the tasks alone and sit on the couch and flip through Facebook. It’s more exhausting to hit the snooze button 17 times or to wake up to a sink full of dishes that you, yet again, have no intention of starting because – it’s too exhausting.

I know I’ve trained myself to think this way and it’s something that I don’t even consciously think about most days but looking at my life I can see it’s there and it needs to change if I’m going to go forward instead of in circles.

How do we get past these thoughts?

For me, I need to remind myself of the truth instead of the lie.

The lie: Doing that project, or choosing happiness, or changing the world is too exhausting.
The Truth: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

The lie: It doesn’t matter if I do my dishes(or laundry or cleaning the car etc) or not because nobody will see.
The Truth: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

That’s great for the mental attack I get at the thought of something but there is one sure fire way I can attack my exhaustion (or rather perceived exhaustion) that seems to work every time. I simply get up and do some thing. It doesn’t matter what. And yes it’s sometimes harder than it sounds, but it works.

I have to remind myself that motion begets motion. An object in motion will stay in motion until a force stops it. See what I’m getting at here? The more you start, the more you finish. The more you finish the better you feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself the less exhausted you feel and when you feel less exhausted you change the world.

I’m beginning to realize I’ve spent too much time not doing things because I was scared it was going to be too much for me. Or because of a myriad of other fears I’m sure. I NEED to remind myself that I have not been given a spirit of fear but that of love, power and a sound mind.

At the end of the day I’d rather actually be exhausted because I did things that will change the world than be exhausted because I played on my phone all day. Even if the only world I am changing at the moment is my own home, or the lives of my children, it’s all important and it’s all worth it.

So here’s to an exhausting life – I hope you live one too! 🙂

What makes you feel absolutely exhausted at the thought of it? What ways have you combated that?

– Jess 🙂

 

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The Thing I Forget Most Often

One of the things I learned early on is that when Mama is ready to go, the whole house moves faster. When I attend to myself first (and I’m talking hair, makeup, clean clothes) it’s SO much easier to get the rest of the house done with the same.

However, in other areas of my life I’m not so disciplined with putting myself first. I tend to work out everyone else’s schedule before my own, get everyone else’s laundry done, drive the family where they need to go, feed everyone first, and the list goes on. Please don’t read this as a “poor me” post. I like to do these things, I like that I’m on top of most things and I can get it done.

No, the thing that I forget most often in all of this is to take care of myself.

After many years I’ve realized that I need time to refuel myself too. When I don’t do this, I become bitter and resentful and generally not happy and all of that feeds into my depression. I’m not sure why taking care of myself is so low on the priority list for me, but it is. And while I don’t want to go to the other extreme and be demanding or high maintenance, I do want to develop a habit of taking care of myself.

For me, recharging could be reading a book, taking a shower, organizing the closet or even watching the new “Good Luck Charlie” episode. (Yes, I love that show!) I need to remember that recharging doesn’t have to be an all day thing, that it could be a few minutes here or something penciled in there.

Most of the time finding what it is that I need to recharge isn’t the issue, the real issue is letting myself take that time. The issue is reminding myself that I deserve the time to myself too. So often I think I get caught up in what I think I should be doing and thoughts like “how could I read my book when there are rooms to clean” that I don’t let myself take the time I need.

So yesterday morning I thought it would be nice to take a run. Not that I often run, but after a weekend of Bacon Caramel Truffles I think my body was craving some movement. It felt SO good. Not just to exercise, to breathe fresh air, and to be alone, but to see something I needed and go after it. That was the best recharge I could have given myself.

– Jess

 

Just BE Happy?

The other day I went through and re-read all of my posts here on the blog. I love and hate when I do that. I love to reread my favorites, but then I cringe at the other non-favorites. 

A while back I wrote about choices and it got me thinking about how people would tell me that you have to choose happiness. Have you ever had someone say that to you? You just have to choose to be happy. It’s always irked me, and frustrated me and in the height (or depths really) of my depression, that sentiment just made me question myself and ask why I couldn’t just choose to be happy. 

Because in the thick of it, I couldn’t. 

And while many of these people were well-meaning, I sincerely doubt they know what it’s like to be truly depressed. To struggle to get out of bed in the morning, to struggle to eat, to struggle to laugh at the most adorable faces, to struggle to be happy for your family. If you’ve never been there I don’t know how to describe it to you, but if you have, then you know what I mean. I’ll bet that you also know how hard that happiness choice is.

There is truth to the statement, that at a point you can choose to be happy, but I think that you need to get to that point. When you’re up to your elbows in tears and tissues and completely distraught, that statement is so unattainable, that for me it didn’t help. 

I can honestly say that yesterday I CHOSE to be happy. It wasn’t the easiest thing and it wasn’t 100% but I did pretty good. This wasn’t the first time I’d done this but I think that it’s the first time in a while that I realized it happened. 

Yesterday happened because over the past few months even though I didn’t know how, or didn’t feel like I could, I kept trying. I kept reaching out. I kept moving forward, inch by inch. You’ll find your happy too, and it may not look like every one else’s happy, but you will get there.

From what I can tell, things are getting better. Now that I’m farther along in my journey I look back and realize that maybe I wasn’t as sad as I seemed? I don’t know. I do know that this IS a journey, that for me, depression is not a one and done deal. Unfortunately, it’s taken me about 15 years, many of which were spent denying my feelings, and multiple seasons of counseling for that to really sink in. 

So today I rejoice that I’m at a point in my journey that I can make that choice to be happy, to put away the darkness. I’m at a point where I know that I can lean on God to help me look past the darkness and see His light. I am happy to be at a point where I can be happy. 🙂

– Jess


Guard your heart above all else,

    for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23