Without Hope the Soul Is Unwell

At the end of August, we will have been in California for a full year. Others who made similar uprooting transitions before told me it would take at least a year to adjust, two years to finally feel settled, and it’s been true for us so far. The blessings, the benefits, the bright side of living here with family and near friends have been undeniably good though each good thing has been tinged with a darkness around the edges. Depression laying like an abyss in the background of my mind. Nightmares invading peaceful sleep for the kids (and then for us when they cry and scream). Old wounds coming up fresh in our marriage and working hard to know and love each other well again.

June was a particularly hard month— the tension of darkness and stress formed a pressure I couldn’t bear anymore. I lost hope and reason to keep going.

I’m over at the The Mudroom today talking about hope and my soul’s wellness:

I told my husband I felt like shattered pieces of glass lying on the floor with no one to help me, no one who knew how to put me back together. The cracks in myself, in our marriage, in my parenting had come to a pressure point, and the pieces that were held in tension gave way.

My survival technique of sucking it up and doing the next thing helped me get to where I was, but it left me exhausted and depressed. I had no energy to figure out how to disciple my kids in faith, to work harder toward health in our marriage, to know whether I was going through a bout of depression or recognizing a long-term struggle with it. I just knew I couldn’t go any further. I wanted to pause time, to escape for a moment to some place where I could breathe, to break away from the clinging and whining, and be still, at peace. But the fantasies of escaping turned dark, and even though I looked fine on the outside, I wasn’t well within.

Read the rest at The Mudroom.

A Brutal Look at Myself

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I was at the gym yesterday for the first time in a long time, and as I ran around the track I saw someone in the mirror and thought, ‘That poor person looks like they’re struggling.”

Guys, that person was me. #wakeupcall

I am at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been in my life, and it sucks. My clothes are too tight (except for leggings- God bless leggings), I feel grumpy and gross, and I just don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. It’s my own fault that I got to where I am, so I have no one to blame. I use coffee dates and meal dates as excuses to eat a lot so that the other person can too. I use stressful days and sad days as excuses to eat fast food because I feel like I deserve it. Since I’m a firm believer in treating yo-self, I’ve been using any excuse to do so, but I’ve come too far. I’m taking a step back to reevaluate my life habits and figure out how I can move forward from here.

One thing I know about myself is that I always do things to the extreme. If I get into a major workout/health mode, I’ll do everything I can to get to my goal. For example, after I had baby #2 I had to be in two weddings- one was a month after I had the baby and the other was two months after I had the baby. I cut out as many carbs as I could, I worked out to Jillian Michaels yelling at me, and I joined weight loss competition groups to keep me motivated. I got close to my ideal weight, but after the weddings I let myself go back to old habits because I felt like I deserved a break. On the other hand, if I get into celebratory/treat yo-self mode, I could do buffets all the time, eat Ben & Jerry’s every night, and not feel guilty about any of it.

Another thing I’m learning about myself is that I give up too easily. If I don’t see results quick enough or if my body doesn’t feel or look better quick enough, I stop trying. This is obviously tied with my all-or-nothing mindset, but I too often choose to do nothing if I can’t get it all (a better body) in the time I want it. It’s a problem, and after taking a brutal look at myself in the gym mirror, I decided make some changes to my life.

  • Have a new mentality – Even though I’m extreme by nature, I have died to my old self and have been made new in Christ. That means that I don’t have to be a slave to my extreme ways anymore and that I can persevere because He is with me and He cares for me- yes, even in my working out.
  • Add before I subtract – This nugget of wisdom is from a blogger friend. She says to add in what you want before taking away what you don’t want. I’m adding in cooking and eating at home more as a first step.
  • Choose best over immediate – In other words, choose long-term over short- term. My health goals have always been for immediate reasons, like fitting into a bridesmaid’s dress, but I want to choose a healthier lifestyle for long-term benefits. I’m entering my mid- 30’s this year, my kids are getting bigger, God has given me new dreams, and all of those things require me to take better care of myself. I want to live like I’m running a marathon and have my eyes set on the far prize instead of living like I’m running a sprint only to be satisfied with a temporary reward.

Do you feel grumpy and gross about your body too? What simple steps could you take today to start living a healthier lifestyle?