We got a new puppy last week.
His name is Dexter, he likes to chew on the leaves of our fig tree and our carpet is a new level of dirty because of him. But he’s an excellent snuggler.
In part because of him, and in part because of Thomas’ new shift at work that has severely thrown off sleep schedules, I’m coming out of a place of mental exhaustion. Last week, I was especially tired, anxious and homesick. Weary of demands and lacking creative motivation. Craving more.
I’m emerging, slowly, surely. One thing that’s helped has been the act of remembrance – reflecting on what was and noticing what is. Emily Freeman recently wrote in this post, “The practice of paying attention serves as an anchor for the soul in a fast-moving world.”
If you’re in a phase of just trying to keep afloat, maybe these practices will help you like they help me. Partnered with some crying, good reading, and a group yoga class to reinforce you’re not alone, they’re pretty much infallible (disclaimer: I’m not a therapist).
1. Remember your “first things.”
A recent sermon at church outlined how Jesus frequently directed people to the one thing that they needed (see Mary and Martha). Instead of being burdened with the distractions of wealth, tasks, popularity or worry, he encouraged people to simply seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As a follower of Christ, this one thing should be my first thing. Under the realization that Jesus is all I need to thrive, my anxieties can be rightly minimized. Not saying this is easy, but it’s the hierarchy I’m seeking after.
2. Remember to be grateful.
I may not get eight hours of continuous sleep each night. I may be cooking dinner for one most evenings. I may feel confused about what’s next, or nervous to ask myself how our marriage is adjusting to a new season, but at least I feel safe where I live. At least I can eat until I’m full and have socks to cover my cold feet. Life is undeniably kind to me once I get out of the way to notice it.
3. Remember (and trust) your path.
I choose to believe, through any doubt, that God paved the way for where we are right now, in this city, with these jobs and friends and dogs. To back down in fear of what’s foreign would be to deny how He’s worked in us the last two years, and beyond. We’re on a path we like. It’s scary sometimes, but we trust it.
4. Remember your vision.
When we moved to this new-ish place, I had very specific daydreams about cooking in a bigger kitchen, taking walks in the park and hosting friends often. I imagined volunteering and writing and abiding in things I really cared about. When I start thinking negatively and my mood swings low, it’s helped much to remember what I originally desired of this season. Although some of these may take stronger shape than others, it keeps me focused on using time intentionally…not letting days slip by unannounced.
5. Remember weakness is not an enemy.
In fact, weakness is the very thing that keeps us able to relate to other people. I guess two twenty-somethings could bond over their impeccable decorating taste (with what budget?) or how preparing and slicing a perfectly crisp roasted chicken is soooooo simple. But the riskier conversation – the one about loneliness or big choices – will surely lead to a deeper relationship. And that’s the one I want. Expressing even small pieces of what I’m feeling helps. It’s like passing a little palmful of vulnerability to someone and praying they won’t drop it. I’ve found that most of the time, they don’t.
So there you have it. What would you add?