It’s funny to me how I can be oblivious to myself sometimes. Truly. Because I have always felt like I was one of those people who deeply understand themselves, and knew my true person. But to be honest, I’ve changed a lot over the past few years, and I’ve realized that I’m not the same as I was in high school or even college. Being married has certainly helped this along, but in a good way. So, on to the reason for this post:
My husband gives me a hard glance as I’m getting ready for church Sunday morning and says, “Honey, what’s wrong? You’re acting different.”
“Acting different?” I replied. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He then proceeds to tell me how I’ve been acting different. Well, this of course put me in a fussy mood because I haven’t really thought about how I’d been acting and why no! I wasn’t depressed!. It’s amazing what going to church and hearing the Word of God and testimonies can do for you. It was actually while my husband was preaching that I realized my problem.
The truth is: I had been depressed, perhaps not in a major deep dark pit that I can never climb out of without help, but certainly a cloud was hanging over everything. My husband saw it, but I didn’t. We went on an amazing week long trip to visit two sets of cousins a couple of weeks ago, and coming home to the real world of bills, animals, chores, and, well- just life- hit me pretty hard. I’m usually a mellow person, being of a mostly phlegmatic personality (look up the four temperaments if you don’t know what this is. In comparison to Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit, Eeyore, and Tigger, I’m Winnie the Pooh.), so it takes a lot to bring me down or pull me up. Apparently I got pulled down and didn’t even realize the weight I was carrying. I knew I had been lethargic, not motivated to do anything like clean, or plan lessons, and I certainly didn’t feel exuberant in anything. I wasn’t crying but did feel like I could cry all the time over anything.
So what did my husband say in church that helped me? He quoted the words to a song that we sometimes sing in service:
Think about the good things God has done
Think about the victories that you have won
Don’t think about the times you’ve been down and out
Think about how God brought you out
Think about the sweet sweet spirit of God way down in your soul!
The revelation? I had been so focused on what I didn’t have, or all the “bad” or “wrong” things in my life that I had completely lost sight of my blessings! I was so focused on comparing my situation to everyone else’s that I couldn’t see what was right in front of me. This is so easy to do on any kind of scale, home life, family life, work life, vacation life… Comparing my life to everyone else’s is not what is going to make my life any better. Living my life to the fullest even in difficult times is.
So how can we focus, or “think”, on the good things? Here’s a quick scripture and some tips!
Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
- Wake up and before you do anything thank God for something. It doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe it’s the smell of coffee that you or your husband had preset the night before, or perhaps it’s having a warm blanket to sleep under, or it might even be for just waking up, but whatever it is, thank the Lord. This starts your day being grateful for something in your life, and everything we have is blessings from God.
- Stay off of social media. This can seem impossible nowadays because so-and-so is having a baby, and this person just posted wedding pictures, and this other person posted their perfect kitchen. Seriously. Social media, when not used properly, can cause us to envy what others have and look with disappoint on our own lives. If you cannot get off of social media, at least consider the following verse. Don’t covet what other’s have; instead, be happy for them! Share that you like their posts, and it inspires you to redo your kitchen, or wardrobe, or health habits.
Romans 13:8-10 King James Version (KJV)
9: …..Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
- Make a plan, then do it. So many times I’ve sad about my circumstances but I do nothing to change it. Well obviously nothing’s going to change unless you act! Wallowing in our circumstances doesn’t make anything change any faster. If finances have you down, make a budget, make an action plan on how to fix them, and then do it, even if you have to get a side job, or have a yard sale. If your home is messy all the time because of kids, or just tiredness from the day’s work, make a cleaning schedule. If you only do laundry on 2 days of the week, then so be it. Perhaps you have to do a load of laundry 7 days a week, at least you are working on it.
- Love what you have. Over Christmas Break, I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up-The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and “Spark Joy- An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. In her books, she encourages readers who need to get rid of clutter to keep only what sparks joy to the person. Have I done this? Not to the full extent she recommends, but yes I have. The result? I can look around just about any room in my little apartment and admire all of the decorations in it. Right now, I’m sitting in the living room and I love looking at my gallery wall, my New York City painting of a quiet little street, and my great grandmother’s hutch that I repainted to look shabby chic. I enjoy looking at these things, and the result is that I don’t want to add anything to them. In other words, if you love what you have, you won’t want what other’s have. If you still want what other’s have because you think it sparks joy (not happiness, but pure joy), then go back to step 3.
- Keep a list of blessings in the open. If you have seen War Room, then you may remember the scene where the real estate agent Elizabeth asks Clara, the elderly woman, about her prayer wall. It’s an out in the open list of answered prayers that Clara has kept up with over the years. I love this idea, because it makes you recall the answered prayers, or the blessings, practically every day. The requirement? Put it somewhere you know you’ll see it. I have a chalkboard in the hallway, which I HAVE to walk through to get to our one bathroom or kitchen or back door. I literally walk in this hallway a million times a day. On the chalkboard I usually put reminders, or I leave scriptures or song lyrics on it to think about. Currently on there is “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. This is song lyrics to the Rend Collective song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”, and is also from the scripture in Nehemiah 8:10. Everytime I read this, I sing the song. But I think I will take my own advice and write my list of blessings on there.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment on how you remember your blessings!