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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Just Keep Going

Just Keep Going

It’s so hard for me sometimes to remember to keep going. Sadly yet honestly when things get hard I tap out, sit on the couch and pout. This is a huge life change I’m trying to accomplish, to overcome my sadness to feel my emotions and yet to learn how to not get bogged down by them. I find inspiration in things that remind me that I don’t have to be perfect, that the text to a friend doesn’t have to be perfect, that I just need to keep going. Today I’m choosing to keep going, to keep moving, to venture out into new land.

Just keep going, yup I can do that.

Looking Ahead, Not Back

It’s been one hell of a year. 2013 has certainly tried it’s darn-est to knock me down. Between layoffs, personal catastrophes, alienation, losing our apartment, living with family and being the worst financial place of my life, I’d say I’m looking forward to a new year.

But, as I wrote during November’s 30 Days of Gratitude, I want to look at all that I’ve learned this year and not focus on just the hardships I’ve been through. It’s this mentality that I go back to when I’m tempted to run through all the things that have gone wrong these past few months. I’m fighting to keep a positive outlook and that has really been helping.

So as the year winds to a close I thought I’d reminisce about what I’ve learned this year, about myself, about the world and just life in general.

– I’ve learned that friendship takes work but it’s so worth it and I so, so need more of it in my life.

– I was meant to fly, soar and rise above.

– My strength is found in love and joy.

– I can do hard things.

– I am braver than I thought.

– The secret to life is to keep moving. Keep getting up. Keep trying.

– Hard work scares me. Yet it’s what I need to get to where I want.

– My dreams are worth chasing. Big, small, easy, hard – they are all worth going after. Every. Single. One.

– I am capable of more than I even know.

– I’ve been given a gift to love and connect with people in a very genuine way and I am most at peace when I let that shine through.

– Most of all – LOVE WINS!

 

Here’s to picking up the pieces, taking my own advice and rocking 2014.

Happy New Year!

 

– Jess 🙂

Em-bare-assed

There is nothing that drags me down faster than embarrassment!

It doesn’t look like it used to, with a “friend” thinking its funny to pull up my skirt in the middle of the 8th grade wing at school. Everyone laughed. It was horrible, as you can imagine. No, now that I’m in my 30’s embarrassment looks a little different but certainly feels worse.

Have you ever gotten to a place in life where you are like, how the f$#* did I get here?

And when you think to reach out you realize you’ve burned your bridges, and you are embarrassed even ashamed of your choices?

What about starting again? Can’t you look for a new job? Put the baby in day care? Yes. The answer is yes. But what I don’t think anyone understands is how much the thought of all that makes me paralyzed.

I know that I will never be “ready” to do those things, and everyday that I don’t I feel more and more worthless which feeds into the depression and the embarrassment and the guilt and the sitting and doing nothing.

Can you tell it’s been a rough day? 😉

How do you get to “no more excuses”? How does this change? At what point will I stop letting my embarrassment keep me down? At what point will I fight , consistently, day after day?

Please God I hope it’s today. I don’t want to be a “disappointment” anymore. Actually what I really want is that I don’t want to believe lies like that anymore. That is where the fight begins, and maybe that’s where the fight has been all along. In my head.

Have you ever let embarrassment lead your life? How did you get past it?

– Jess

My Dukes Are Up

I’m feeling a bit defensive today.

Like I would verbally spat with anyone who dare question the direction of my life right now.

Not a new emotion for me but putting a name to it and being able to identify it is pretty new. Definitely progress if I do say so myself. 😉

I think the defensiveness is coming from what I am assuming other people are thinking about me. A dangerous road for sure.

It’s coming from trying to be confident in choices that have been made. Some have been conscious choices, others have been because I let life do the picking for me. And that’s where my guilt comes in. That’s where I start to question everything and I feel like its all a mess too big to dig out of.

That’s also where I end up getting stuck in the muck of it all. I’m knee deep in guilt and shame and confusion and I forget that looking down into the muck doesn’t help me get unstuck. And wishing Id though to put on pretty pink boots doesn’t help me know.

I need to look up. Remember that the sun is shining and that I am breathing and that God has a plan for me and that He uses all things for good.

I need to look up to find a branch to reach out and hold onto. I need to look up to see the help that is waiting for days when I can’t bear to show my face. I need to look up and remind my weary heart that “this too shall pass”, and that I can start the movement of change right now.

– Jess

For the days I don’t know why

Today’s one of those days. Where everyone is asking me if I feel ok or what is going on or if I’m alright. Yet up until their question I don’t think I realized anything was wrong.

Apparently, despite my best intentions, I wear my heart on my sleeve and it shows on my face.

Ever have one of those days? Where you’re just following where the days goes, not feeling good or bad but every one thinks something is wrong?

This happens more than you’d guess and at the end of the day i feel like i have a complex.

My answer to everyone’s question is usually a resounding NO nothing’s wrong and I feel just fine. All while getting more and more frustrated anyone would ask such a ridiculous question. They don’t believe me and frankly I don’t believe me either. I just don’t know what’s bothering me on days like this.

In any case, for these days I think I need a plan. I need to give myself some slack and maybe some chocolate ice cream too. 😉

Loving myself & taking care of myself may be all that’s needed on the days I don’t know why I feel sad. Who knows that may be all I need to make a better tomorrow too.

-Jess

When Progress Doesn’t Feel Like Progress

I can tell things are changing.

It’s nothing huge and it’s nothing I can necessarily pinpoint. There are certainly more ok days, less bad days, and even a few great days; these days.

Not much has changed in our personal situation, in fact 2013 has dumped more than me and my family than I ever knew could happen to us. So I know it’s not just an external thing that is making it seem like I feel better. No, its internal, it’s inside, things are changing.

This week in my counseling session I told my therapist that I find myself getting angry these days. A feeling that I have never really felt before. I mean I never used to be angry. Ever. Not once would a family member or friend describe me as having that emotion. So to me, it’s new and overwhelming and a little scary.

She looked at me, smiled, and said “I think that’s progress.”

Baffled, i thought didn’t she hear me? Isn’t this bad? I mean anger is not good, right? And then it hit me, I felt something. I mean really felt an emotion other than sadness. For the first time in I don’t know how long I felt another emotion. It’s not my proudest accomplishment. But she’s right it is progress.

Sometimes progress doesn’t look like hearts and flowers and smiley faces. Sometimes progress is a small step outside the invisible box. And I realized that if I can feel something other than nothing, then I bet I can start feeling happy and joyful and compassionate and excitement.

And that my friends, got me excited! 😉

-Jess

Bringing Up the Past

After about 20 minutes of driving to get my stubborn and very tired 2-year old to sleep (#mommyproblems) I stopped at my parents house so  we both could have some peace and quiet. The great thing about most weekdays is that my parents are at work so I can come and eat their cookies and go and no one is the wiser. Well my mom usually knows because she’s a mom and well she knows

I spent some time making myself tea and idling on the interwebs until I found my old card making supplies. My mom has put them away so neatly and there was a ton of paper and stamps and general crafty type stuff that made me feel instantly creative.

As I went through the container of super organized stuff I stumbled upon some old journals of mine. You know from like 11 years ago and one from 6 years ago. Yeah. 

Of course being the sentimental freak I HAD to read them. Thankfully I knew better than to read word for word. I only flipped through but still what I found was no less disconcerting. Seeing yet again that there is a constant theme in my life of questions and inaction and that a mere 11 years ago I was grappling with the same questions and seemingly loss of confidence as I am now makes me so sad. Will I ever make any progress? 

I’ve spent years in counseling and rehashed so much from my past and I truly believe I’ve found a ton a healing though that. It makes me ask – how much more craptacular memories are there? Or is it just my perspective? 

Part of me wants to burn these books because bringing up the past is really just bad news in this case. I want to forget what I wrote. Part of me wants to hold onto them because the words and the tears and the pages are a part of me. I don’t want to bring them to my house right now – what am I going to do with them? 

Despite the slight fear of the fact that my mom could open them and read them – I’m pretty sure she hasn’t and won’t. And really if I know her like I do, even if she does read them she won’t say anything. 

I think I’m going to leave the past where it was found – at the bottom of that storage container. Because I’ve been through it already and I’m trusting that if there is something there that I need to deal with God will help me through that. And that, to me, is real progress.

– Jess 🙂

Who do you think you are?

 
TLC's who-do-you-think-you-are

 

I rarely watch TV. Unless of course you count making sure we watch the newest episode of Sofia the First because I LOVE that show but other than that I don’t want too much TV.(Can you tell there is a toddler in the house?)  So when I’m left to my own devices with sleeping children and hubby is working late I’m not sure what to do with myself. Yeah I could do some sort of project but really by 10pm on a Friday night I’d rather watch Say Yes to the Dress.

Just recently I started watching this show on TLC called Who Do You Think You Are? I taped a number of episodes mainly because I knew who the stars were and the first one I saw was the episode about one of my favorite actresses Zooey Deschanel. I was hooked. Since then I have the show set to tape and I’m trying to find a while hour to myself to watch it without being too tired to fall asleep 10 minutes in of course.

The whole concept of the show is that they research a certain family member of a star and they dig deep into records and they find a story they answer questions and give insight.

I think what has grabbed me about the show is that everyone I’ve watched so far has found a compelling story. Zooey’s family was heroes of their time. She found out that the same strength and will and perseverance that she has was also present in her blood line years ago. Same goes for the other episodes I’ve watched.

Watching all of this makes me want to research my own history and it also scares me to inaction too. I look back at my family and wonder if I come from a  long line of people who just let life happen to them? What if my family never did anything “great”? What if what’s in my blood isn’t the characteristics I want how do I change that?

But I really don’t know – that’s just the depression talking – it’s surmising and wondering and speculating without an ounce of truth behind it. I have to remember that.

Who knows what I’ll find as I step out on this journey. God will lead me to what he wants me to see and there is a stirring in my heart to want more to know more about where I came from. Maybe I’m looking for motivation or proof that I really have what it takes to do what I need to do. Maybe I’m looking for affirmation that I am brave and resilient and hard working – see it’s in my blood!

The thing is that I already am all those things I just need to start believing them.

-Jess

 

Reaching Out

This week I wrote two entire posts about how things are changing and I’m choosing happiness and do you know what happens?

Five minutes into my 2-year old refusing to sleep I break down into a heaping mess of sadness.

Yes I was sick and running on like 4 hours of sleep and that always makes me very overwhelmed to begin with. But I just had nothing left to discipline or anything. It was bad. Like my husband almost came home kinda bad. Like don’t tell anyone about this because I’m super embarrassed kind of bad. I don’t even like writing that. But it’s where I was at and I bet someone out there has been there too.

That was how things were almost every day when I first had Noah. Everything was SO overwhelming and I didn’t know what to do and I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t figure it out or find the strength to do it anyways. But back then I wasn’t able to tell anyone. For whatever reason I kept all of that inside and the doubts and sadness and shame filled my head and my heart.

Maybe that’s why my meltdown yesterday was so scary. Maybe it reminded me of those first few months when everyone was looking at me to help the crying baby and I had NO IDEA what to do. And so I hid. I hid my insecurities my emotions my weaknesses everything. It wasn’t just all that I was feeling that broke me it was what I was keeping hidden that did.

Yesterday even though I didn’t know it I was choosing to reach out and to not keep it hidden when I texted my husband. And that made all the difference. Seemingly out of no where I was at my breaking point and I didn’t know what to do and the one thing that helped was reaching out. And it took me about 30 minutes and some hugs from Noah to remind me that those things my brain was telling me weren’t true.

In that moment I had to then choose to listen to the good. I AM a good mom. My kid will sometimes just not sleep – despite my best efforts and arsenal of nap time tricks. This stage will NOT last forever.

Today I am telling myself that it’s ok that I slipped up yesterday. It’s ok that I broke down. It’s going to happen. What is important is that I got back up. It’s important that I reached out. And it’s important that I changed my thinking and went on with my day and was a ton better for it.

And maybe you are in that hole and you don’t even know what it means to change your thinking or it’s unthinkable to reach out to someone today that’s ok too. I understand. Hang on. You’ll get there too. 🙂

– Jess