(Warning: this post contains brute honesty. So if you’re opposed to that stuff, you might want to stop reading now.)
It’s this whole New Year thing. I can hardly tolerate the insane amount of posts about productivity, health and wellness, and lifestyle change every where I look. It’s as if the whole of cyberspace is involved in this great conspiracy: to make me feel terrible about myself.
Every Facebook post, catchy twitter tagline, talk show segment and email campaign seems to be assaulting me, personally. And truthfully, I just want to climb in my cozy bed under the covers with the fireplace on and eat something other than 0% fat Greek frozen yogurt to soothe this ever increasing feeling of inadequacy.
True Confessions of 2014: The scale reads 15 pounds heavier than at the last New Year, I never finished my Bible read thru in a year, I didn’t finish writing my book, I didn’t write as many blog posts as I should have, I didn’t have as many speaking engagements as I wanted. And, to top it off, I have an awful feeling of envy when I look at the accomplishments of many folks who I love dearly and call friends. (and perfect strangers, let’s not leave them out.)
Maybe it’s all just too much for you, too? Maybe there’s seemingly insurmountable mountains you don’t want to climb? And the whole world is ticking you off with their resolutions?
Yet, today – a full week (more if you count the pre-New Year’s hype) into this suffocating deluge of positivity and calls for change – I realize the only way to combat my desire for inaction is to take action.
It’s not coming easily.
But I know I must face the tall task of not shutting down, shutting out or shutting up. So, as part of my action plan, and to right this sinking ship called my psyche, I identified my core struggles, and tried to discern how I might begin 2015 by digging out instead of sinking deeper.
Struggle 1: Grieving
Just days before Christmas, we lost our precious 4 y/o puppy, Millie, tragically, to a coyote attack. The trauma alone was quite overwhelming considering what we witnessed. Not to mention the pure feeling of loss. She was such an integral part of our daily life; everywhere I went she followed me, every time I left or came home she was right there by the back door, each morning and night we let her out, made sure she was fed. She rode in the car, she hiked in the mountains, she slept on the foot of the bed.
It’s a funny thing this pet grief thing. You don’t fully realize how ever-present they are in your life and until they’re gone.
Now all my people have returned to school and work after 2+ weeks of vacation and the chaos of the holidays, I’m left here alone in the empty house to do my work…minus my trusted companion. And it’s just plain sad.
I’ve also discovered I’m grieving 2014 – specifically the goals that went unaccomplished.
Combatting grief of any kind isn’t easy. Anyone who’s been there knows.
To overcome this struggle I need to: give myself permission.
To be sad. To feel remorse. To long for what I don’t have anymore. To take time and do nothing and be ok with it. To be still. And Know.
It’s part of the process. And there’s not an easy way to hurry that up. You just have to walk through it.
One step at a time. And I’m trying to “take every thought captive” when I’m heading down a dead-end road.
Struggle 2: Feeling Inadequate
Some days I am plagued by the “serpent of comparison.” And he has a way of slithering in and stealing what’s good and lovely and pure, and replacing it with envy. And when I’m envious, I begin to feel inadequate. It’s a very simple equation really. Envy=Inadequacy.
I look around and see many of my stay-at-home mom friends going back into traditional corporate work settings. I look around and see many of my peers publishing books, racking up huge social media followings, speaking on national stages. I look around and see people with better prayer lives and deeper faith.
And so when I focus on what I’m NOT, I am instantly focusing on what others ARE. As if that’s the answer to everything.
Most of us have been taught on some level that we are to love ourselves. And that we are uniquely made, not to be carbon-copies of others. I teach that to audiences myself. So I beat myself up even more: why do you not practice what you preach?
To overcome this struggle I need to: stop comparing, and focus on me and God.
What has God created me to do? What gifts has he given me to accomplish those things? What blessings can I cherish? What does HE have for my future? What would give him pleasure and make him burst with pride? (something tells me a ginormous amount of facebook likes on my page isn’t on his list)
I need to focus on His plans, not the things he’s working out through others. That’s their job, I have my own. Oh yeah, taking every thought captive helps here too.
Struggle 3: Being Honest with myself and others
This is a hard post to write.
My 13 y/o daughter has taken to quipping the popular self-help phrase, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” Even thinking of her saying it right now has me smiling.
But it’s true. Making myself sit at this computer the better part of the day and get my feelings and struggles in print has been more helpful than just about anything else I could do right now.
Because to write it means I have to face it, and to share it means I have to address it. That or risk being called out when I’m still sitting in my room a week from now in my pjs with empty ice cream containers at my feet.
To overcome this struggle I need to: share my woes out loud and come up with some solutions.
It’s interesting that I feel so much better after sitting at my computer for 4 hours today than I did this morning. Thanks for helping me out, by being out there in cyberspace somewhere, reading this, it helps me to press on, and take action.
If you’re facing any of your own struggles, I hope you will let someone else in. Even if it’s not the whole world…
Question: Are you facing struggles this New Year? (remember admitting we have a problem is the first step!) How are you overcoming? You can leave a comment by clicking here.