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! ūüôā

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

– Jess ūüôā

 

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The Journal

Tonight I was looking for some things to pack next (we are moving and that’s another story altogether) I decided on a bunch of sweaters that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to keep, but I figured I could deal with that in the new house.¬†

Underneath that pile was something I’d long forgotten about. A book I had been so ashamed of that I felt the inexplicable need to hide it. And as I write those words I realize how ashamed of my own feelings I’ve been.

It was my journal.

There is no more than 20-25 pages written in it. Most in messy, can’t write fast enough to get it all out fashion. What I read tonight is nothing I haven’t re-read before. Those words were penned at a very different time in my life. I was single, in my own place for the first time, navigating career and dating and dreams and doing the dishes and the meaning of life all on one page.

I’m not sure why I’ve hid that book for so many years. There really isn’t anything too incriminating to find.¬†

But let me tell you this. What I found was a collections of thoughts and innermost feelings from 4-5 years ago. I in-fact read an entry I wrote 4 years ago to the day. What I found was fascinating and scary and wildly motivating. I found the words on those pages to be what I have been hearing in my head throughout the past few years. Words that I’ve felt that I didn’t know how to put to paper, but at that time I did.¬†The same anxiety.¬†The same stress.¬†The same questions.¬†The same fears.¬†

Yet tonight when I reread it I was able to get through the whole thing page by page. Because in the past I’d start to read an entry it would get too hard to deal with I’d get pretty upset with myself and slam the book shut and hide it again. Hoping to forget the very feelings that were inside of it. Four years later I realize that I’ve let each one of those things define me…until now.¬†

Tonight I read those entries looking back and feeling sorry for the girl that wrote them. Getting pissed off at hearing her say the same thing day after day never making a decision or a change. And getting even more upset that this is what my life is like today. That I haven’t gotten any farther in personal growth in the past four years.¬†

So I am making a change. 

I’m keeping that journal out. Heck I may even put it on the shelf for all to see. Because that my friends will be the motivation I need to move forward.

No more staying stuck.
No more being lazy.
No more letting this depression define me. 

And in four years from now I want to look back and reread a journal filled with triumph, knowing that there will be disappointment and yucky days, but that I see a pattern of forward movement in my hopes, thoughts, dreams and life. 

Big and different things are coming my way, I know it!

– Jess ūüôā¬†

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

 

The Shoes

sneakers

These are my new sneakers.
They have been the motivating force in my life since I lost my job a couple months ago.

Yes, sneakers have been motivating me to clean my house, get out and run errands and to get projects done at church. 

They make me feel like I can run, like I’m productive and like I’m actually in shape.

In my professional life a nice pair of pumps would do similar things for me. I’d get dressed up and I’d have a great, confident day. And once I even tweeted that I was certain that adding a blazer to my outfit made me at least 23% more productive.¬†

I guess I’ve been feeling a little lost without that job that defined me for far too long.

I stared at my sneakers for a long time today. I knew that if I laced up my favorite bright yellow sneakers I would be motivated to do something. But the depression, the sadness in me didn’t want to do anything. In fact I had let it keep me from doing anything all morning. Noah and I watched tv and ate some snacks. And generally felt bad about myself. No fun.¬†

But I will say this. There is still a small flame, a candle sized light if you will of motivation that is organic enough that I know it is me. Deep down in my soul that little light is my fight and it  wants to burn so brightly. And that my friends was why I eventually put the sneakers on today. 

At this point, I’ll take whatever I can get. Sneakers are working. Chocolate bars are not. Prayers work¬†immensely. Sitting on my couch wishing I’d pray more is not.¬†

Keeping a positive attitude when you don’t feel like it is¬†exhausting, but so is being so sad, that zaps the energy out of me too.

So maybe I need a new pair of sneakers to get me moving. That’s ok. Because someday I won’t need the sneakers to get me moving. I’ll be needing them to keep up with myself because I’m moving so fast.

– Jess ūüôā¬†

P.S. Special shout out to my husband who I’m more than thankful for. He sees my needs before I know ¬†admit that I even have any. He also has a better eye for things like sneakers than I do and I love that about him!¬†