Today was pretty routine. It made me realize how much I respond to routine. Routine keeps me calm. I don’t know how much it helps others but it is my safe place.
There is something about living with what you expect that is soothing. Surprises are really not for me. I like plans. When traveling it is hard for me to just go with the flow. The interesting thing is when pushed I end up enjoying it.
I wonder if most of us who struggle with anxiety and depression feel like this. Are we trapped into routine? Are we caught by needing to keep things the same. I hope that we can overcome this tendency enough to keep moving forward.
Today is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.
Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.
The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep. Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.
Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!
Like most people I spent my early years worrying about what other people thought. I was always changing myself to fit in wherever I went. I also didn’t like conflict (I still don’t) and was always playing the peacemaker.
I don’t know when it started to dawn on me that everyone didn’t have to like me or agree with me. I didn’t have to work so hard to be everything to everyone. It is exhausting.
I am an only child and when I was young I was more comfortable with adults than people my own age. I think that is one of the things that made me try so hard to fit in. I had very little self confidence around my peers. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to feel comfortable. I am sure that this did not help my anxiety.
In my teen years my mother was extremely ill and for years there was no diagnosis. Even though I was unaware at the time it fueled my worries about illness.
Now, at my age, I have gained some perspective on how I reflected my environment and didn’t cope well with anxiety and depression. Over the years, a little at a time, I have grown coping skills that make my life so much better. It is a good thing that I did as aging brings so pretty serious issues to cope with.
Some serious episodes with IBSD triggered my panic. Fortunately those were mostly few and far between. I am so grateful that treatment for these issues has progressed so far. When I was young anyone who had panic was said to have had a nervous breakdown. Thank God there is better understanding today. I am hoping that this progress continues until research into how our whole selves work finds answers that remove the stigma from those of us who suffer.
As each person writes about these issues and shares the things that help them our knowledge grows. The community is a blessing.
We are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.
Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!
Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.
Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.
Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.
Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.
If we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.
Today is Shrove Tuesday. The term shrove is the past tense of shrive which in old English has to do with confessing and being forgiven or shriven. This Tuesday is also called Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of lent). Most people would think of this as being the last hurrah of Mardi Gras a big festival day in New Orleans. For those who are not in liturgical churches lent is a season of penance and fasting. Society pays little attention to most of this.
I love the seasons of a liturgical church. I love how the colors on the altar change and the mood of the music is different. I think that it is somewhat like those who depend on the seasons of the year for their livelihood feel when seasons change.
Lent calls for some change to be made in our lives. Many people give up something, sweets, alcohol, smoking or some habit they would like to change. I am more inclined to take on something….working to be more kind, reading something spiritual, visit someone I have neglected….whatever I seem to have forgotten or put off.
Lent is a time to take stock. A time to look inside ourselves and change what needs changing to make ourselves see the beauty of Easter. The more you observe Lent the more meaningful Good Friday and Easter become.
Since visiting a gastro doctor 3 weeks ago I have actually had no flares of IBS. Before that I was having a rough time. They did nothing except order medicine to help which I still don’t have. Now it is back. I should have the medicine tomorrow. Getting through the system is hard and I feel for people who don’t know how to find their way through it.
Tomorrow I will start the medicine and hopefully it will help. Because of the flare up I have been fighting anxiety. The one good thing is that I am fighting to cope. I am determined to get past this and keep moving on. I am determined not to let go and let the anxiety take over. I am determined to keep on.
We have more strength than we think we have. No matter how hard it is we have to continue to put one foot in front of the other. Fear will not win! Life is too important to spend it wallowing in our issues. The sky is beautiful, I love the smell of lavender and cheesecake is worth living for. Maybe if we continue to concentrate on the good things it will distract us from the hard.
There are times when I wish I lived in a bubble and the world outside didn’t matter. Inside the bubble would be love, joy, peace, calm. All the things I long for now. I should add that I am blessed to have love but I could use the others right now.
The trials that I have had in my life were mostly mine to deal with. Something that I could do something about. The trials I have now I have no control over. I can’t fix any of it. I would share the problems but since they belong to others I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Yesterday I did have to go with my son to put his beloved dog to sleep. My pain was not only for the dog but for my son and his family. The sadness of losing a pet is heartrending. I can’t fix that pain but I was there to share his grief. That seems to be my role at the moment. I can share the pain but that is all. And I can pray.
Sometimes when I pray I just sing the song:
Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you what I know
You have given me your spirit. I love you so.
It is so much easier when it is your own problems. At least then you know that the choices are up to you for good or bad. We have all made bad choices in our lives and suffered the consequences. The world will continue on that way. Bad choices will always be made. Let us just hope that good comes in the long run.