Today could have been a bad day… if I had allowed it.
First, I only got a few hours sleep. Yet again, I was wide awake until approximately 5:36 a.m. tAlthough I kept myself busy by reading and doing some research for my Sunday school lesson, that did not keep me from being foggy and groggy when it was time to wake up. I did not hear my husband come in from work (he works nights), but I woke up when he and our daughter came into our bedroom. She was awake, so that meant it was time for me to get up as well. My husband had actually worked over a little and then had gone to help his mother do something, so I could not and will not discount the fact that he gets tired too. Although he offered me the opportunity to get a little more rest, I knew he needed the rest more than I did.
Luckily our daughter wasn’t going full-throttle this morning like she normally does. On a typical morning, she wakes up fully refreshed and more than ready to bulldoze the house. Apparently she took pity on her poor old parents. She had a little breakfast and was content to sit between us on the bed (she does not like us to touch because she is super territorial when it comes to her Daddy) watching Big Hero 6, allowing me the chance to doze for a little while longer before my son woke up. Out of the two of my children, he is the one who wants more attention, but my daughter needs more attention, if that makes sense. My son is a super tenderhearted kid who just wants to love on his family all day. My daughter is more independent and likes to do and try things on her own. She is one who, if you don’t hear her for awhile, you know to go check on her because she is getting into something. Basically, I knew as soon as my son got up that there would be no more dozing.
So then my day really began. Fixing pancakes, waffles, sausages, filling up cups of juice, cleaning up spills, chastising them when they got into it, working with my daughter on her reading, helping my son with the outrageously thick homework packet he has to complete over his spring break…sigh. I noticed that my house was unkempt, and I do not like that at all. Clutter bothers me. Unfortunately since I have not been myself, clutter has crept up on me more than I’d like. This morning I decided I finally had enough.
Since there wasn’t much I could do about the mound of dirty laundry that were in all three bedrooms (I do not have a washer and dryer at home yet), I focused on dusting and tidying up the kitchen, the area around the front door, the living room, our movie room and the dining area. I also did the kids’ rooms, but made them pick up their toys themselves (which took more prodding than it should have with my daughter. She is WAY stubborn sometimes). I went nuts in the bathroom with the Clorox wipes. (I don’t know what it is about me–I can allow for certain things to get out of order in the bedrooms, but I cannot stand a messy bathroom or kitchen. I really get upset when the floors are dirty. Forget a mop–I go to the hands and knees most of the time).
I started getting upset between tasks because of how hard I was struggling. Several months ago it wouldn’t have taken me but maybe an hour or two to get my whole house together.
This time it took close to five.
Because I kept getting light-headed, dizzy, sweaty and faint and had to take numerous long breaks. My legs kept feeling strange and I would have to sit down. My kids interrupted me quite a bit–and yes that irritated the heck out of me–but their interruptions were not the major problem. The major problem was that I was exhausted. Probably from working on a few hours sleep, but I am also not convinced that whatever this illness may be is not the super-major culprit behind all of this.
I take a lot of pride in my home. I am very happy with it. It is not a huge house, but it is good enough for my family and our circumstances right now. It is important for me that it is kept clean. My son is asthmatic and if dust gathers in his room he’ll be up all night coughing his head off. I like to make sure to disinfect surfaces I know my kids touch a lot, because of course kids don’t appreciate the power and persistence of germs so they’re prone to touch something and put their hands in their mouth. GRODIE.
The constant fatigue and other awful feelings were just reminders of how my abilities have decreased, and I started getting upset. I started thinking about playing volleyball, softball, basketball and running track. I was not a standout athlete in volleyball, basketball or track, but I was good enough and I definitely supported my team. But there is something magical about softball. I loved it and still do. Earlier today I found myself thinking about how I can no longer do the things I used to, and before I knew it my mood had taken a serious plummet.
However, yours truly is adept at recognizing the devil’s attacks and I took steps to fend it off. First, just like Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, I went to the Scriptures and found some that lifted my mood.
Number one in my book:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
I thought to myself: I do not know what God has in store for me, so why am I sitting here so determined to believe that I will be unable to do the things I used to do? And even if I cannot run laps or spike a volleyball or slide into home plate, shouldn’t I be thankful to God that I had the opportunity to do them in the first place?
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).
I have been down before. God built me back up even stronger!
“As for God, his way is perfect, The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure” (Psa. 18:30-32).
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1).
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psa. 55:22).
There are more Psalms than I can reprint in this post that encourage me, including the 23rd Psalm in its entirety, which is by far the most widely-known Psalm:
It really doesn’t get any more comforting than that.
In addition to my Scriptures there are other things that enhance my mood. Sunshine and fresh air are helpful. As I read my Scriptures I made sure to open the blinds and let some of the beautiful light in. When I was finished reading my Scriptures and my mind was back where it needed to be, I put icing on the cake as I went about cleaning up the rest of my house and preparing dinner…
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I LOVE music. I have prayed and asked God if I am no longer supposed to like old school music that He remove the affinity for it from me, and so far it has not happened. Of course I love praise and worship songs, but I can really cut a rug to the fun R&B, disco and funk songs of my youth. George Benson helped me get through the rest of the afternoon. If you can hear Give Me the Night and not feel an overwhelming urge to dance, there may be something wrong 🙂
Now I am going to attempt this sleep thing again. I will be seeing a sleep specialist soon, but prior to that appointment I am going to try to establish a sleep routine and see if that helps. I will also be keeping track of my sleep habits so I can present them to her. Before I log off, I definitely want to place a disclaimer: As someone who works in the healthcare field, please don’t misunderstand my post or think I was making light of depression. I am not. I definitely believe there are people who get clinically depressed and need medication and therapy (that therapy ought to include Jesus, in my humble opinion, of course). This formula of Scripture, prayer (I didn’t explicitly mentioned that I prayed, but my Scripture reading is always preceded and followed by prayer) sunshine/fresh air, and dancing/exercise works for me. I have never been able to stay in a bad mood after doing those things.
Studies have confirmed that religious people tend to rank higher in terms of overall well-being than nonbelievers (http://www.gallup.com/poll/152723/religious-americans-enjoy-higher-wellbeing.aspx). Of course the study cannot outline reasons why. Dare I? Well, the answer for Christians is pretty simple. We know that we can take our concerns to the very God who created everything. We know that if God is for us, no one can be against us. Yes, we sometimes worry, get anxious or worry–we are human. But it does not have to be a way of life for us! We know that God is in control!
We understand that death is a part of life and we know that since we are saved, when we die we are going to go to Heaven. That is a MAJOR relief, since none of us know the day or minute that we are going to check out of here. We don’t have to think about it. We know when we do that we’re going to a place that is beautiful and peaceful beyond belief.
We understand that our bodies are temples and even though we may err, we try to treat them as such by not polluting them with drugs or alcohol, or any practices that might weaken or destroy them.
Last but not least, if we are practicing the agape type love for everyone that we should, our hearts are light and our minds are right. There is nothing like removing the darkness of hatred from your life. I have never felt better than when I stopped carrying around grudges and negativity and let the love of Jesus just take over.
And I believe it is common knowledge that fresh air, sunlight, and movement/exercise alleviate mood:
I love the article in the link above. It definitely rings true for me.
It works for me every time. Try it! Make sure to pray before and after. I bet you’ll feel great 🙂