I think there is value in talking about the things you went through in order to inspire others who are in that same place now. Not to talk about it because you’re stuck or you like to dwell on negativity, but to be real, to tell someone else to allow themselves to feel the hurt so God can move you through the pain.
So in that spirit, I’ll admit that this time of year always seems to be a hard one for me. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s the feeling of wrapping up a year, taking stock in what you’ve accomplished, and making plans for the next twelve months. Perhaps it’s getting older, or thinking about people you used to have in your life and wish were here to celebrate the holidays with you. Perhaps it’s the holiday stress, such a shame that we make it that way and yet the reality is that we scramble to find gifts or clean or bake, or even (as I’m doing this month) working ahead so I can take a little time off to fully be with my family.
This is also the time of year I begin to feel worthless. Those old feelings I’ve worked through long ago rear their ugly heads again. I think this is the enemy’s way of working on me. He knows what my weak spots are, and feeling worthless can be one of them. When I was a young girl, I didn’t know what to do with these feelings so I tried to ignore them. (Spoiler alert: that never works!)
I’m not such a young girl anymore, and thank God for that. I recognize those feelings. I’m aware of the pull at the soul into a dark place. And I know what to do.
I pray and pray and pray. Oh Lord, do I need your strength. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where I’ve felt truly strong on my own. I know I need God. He’s my lifeline and my strength. But when I’m feeling poorly, I look at prayer like an extra jolt of spirit. I plug my soul into God’s love and get the strength I need to seek out the right choices that will pull me through. But I don’t fight it myself. I don’t try and be strong and then pray. That’s what I did as a kid. I didn’t get it. Now I do. I recognize my weaknesses, and know that in the end it doesn’t matter, because with God I am strong no matter how low I’m feeling today.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
After prayer, I can turn to the people and things that lift my spirits and have the presence of mind to choose the right situations and people that will help me feel my worth. All I have to say to my husband is “Oh, I’m having such a bad day, and I’m feeling so…” and he won’t let me finish. He’ll hold me because he knows what I’m about to say and he doesn’t want me to even say it. Doesn’t want me to think it. I’m loved unconditionally.
Then I do things that pull me out of negativity. I spend less time with people who try my patience. I like to have a variety of people in my life but not everyone lifts my spirits in the same way. During times when I’m stressed, I spend time baking, reading, painting… oh the painting really lights up my soul! What a gift. I meditate on the phrases I use on my paintings, thinking about God’s word in an entirely different way.
I like to bake and cook for people. It makes me feel good.
I take time to feel the gratitude of everyday tasks. Even doing the laundry or cleaning reminds me of how lucky I am to have a home and a family that needs caring, that needs me.
I spend time just snuggling with my pup. Not trying to multitask. Did you ever notice how the minute you slow down or put your head on a pillow your dog is right there to join you? They know the value of downtime.
To those of you who relate to this, who even though you’ve weathered some tough times still find moments when that enemy makes you believe lies about yourself… you are not worthless. Talk about your feelings with someone who cares, someone who gets where you are coming from.