Being Vulnerable - Back to the Basics
It feels like I just about missed my first fall in Missouri. We went from having an 80+ degree day in October to snow twice before Thanksgiving. In a matter of weeks I went from comfortable to completely freezing. On the plus side, I have gotten to wear warm boots, hats and scarfs again.
To me, fall signals a time to step back from things and return to the basics of life. More often than not, I get busy and overwhelmed and the basics get overlooked, forgotten, shoved to the bottom of the list. It doesn’t matter what physical season it is (winter, spring, summer, or fall (singing Gilmore Girls song now)), but the season of my heart is often the cause for this. As the season is changing from the brightly filled days of summer to darkness before dinner, I see things all around shutting down and asking for rest.
The last few years have been rough, and in the chaos of it all I forgot how to take care of myself. Yes, me. The person who spent thousands of dollars on an education learning to take care of others, who promotes food over medicine, herbs for the amazing healing powers, and a simple life, has forgotten some of the most basic self-care needs. In the last 6 months my health declined fairly quickly while ignoring some of these basics. Before, I knew it, I met (and exceeded) all the criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I am not suggesting that people develop fibromyalgia from not caring for them selves (it is way more complicated than this) - but rather, giving an example of how bad things got, before I knew what was happening.
Some of the things I forgot (and to be honest, chose to not do….)
Sleep – staying up too late, drinking coffee before bed, not resting enough when I needed it
Doing things I love – I use to quilt, enjoy making meals, reading and learning about new things
Intentional Nutrition – I still followed a 99% gluten-free and dairy free life. We all know that this can be done poorly, just like any other dietary preference
Drinking water – Coffee counts, right?
Intentional movement – I have never been very consistent with intentional movement. My yoga mat sat unused for so long that my dog thought it was a chew toy. My weights never got unpacked from almost a year ago when we moved
But most importantly…
I gave up the space to listen to God –
I still had quiet time, still attended Church, and started hosting a small group (it was really small), but the last 3 years I forgot what it was like to hear God. I still saw him moving in my life – his thumbprint was all over our move to Missouri. But I couldn’t hear him. You know when you get so busy, noticing everything that went wrong over the last few years, is not going the way you want it to now, or spend countless minutes thinking about all that could go wrong in the future? It became the white noise that crowded out the one voice that I needed to hear the most.
I hope to change a lot over the next couple of months. As I am refocusing on some of the more important things. Trying to add those ‘basics’ back into my life. I wanted to share with you for two reasons
1. We all have our struggles. There is not a single person who has it all together. Social media has tricked us into believing that everyone out there has it better than us, can do a billion things all at once, and that they all feel amazing. I know I am not alone in how I feel. There are thousands of people who are hurting in similar ways and not so similar ways to me. I wanted to share this because I want to encourage you to step back as well, figure out what those basics are and take care of yourself. Acknowledge that it is okay to be in a place where you are struggling. Just don’t stay there like I have been.
2. I need accountability. In the couple of years I have stepped back from some relationships, unintentionally, because I couldn’t see past my pain or troubles. The pain was sometimes too much and I didn’t want to share what I was going though. I didn’t want to always be that one who was tired, sad, angry (insert whatever emotion or physical description you would like here) and who needed help. But, what I missed out on was the gentle nudging that a friend can give to get you out of whatever pity party or state you are in and help snap you back to reality. I am so sorry to the ones that I just never called back.
I have started to take some small steps in changing how I do things. It is a long process to dig yourself out of something like this you created. This is what I am starting with -
Whispers – Church sermon series from Journey Church International on how to hear the voice of God in your life – a 6 week series with 40 days of devotions on making space for God in your life.
Water – Not just coffee bean infused.
Intentional Movement – I am working with a trainer to get back into some intentional movement, since I know how important it is for pain and depression. Kimbre Varney at Fueling the Temple has created a plan for me, taking into account where I am at right now. Her encouragement, kindness and non-judgmental perspective is speaking new life into long forgotten and ignored area.
This isn’t much, but it is what I can start with right now.
I want to encourage you to take a look at your life also, and find some areas that you might need to get back to the basics. If your foundation isn’t healthy, no added thing (weather it be some new diet, lifestyle, supplement, habit) will be able to help. And please remember, kindness matters. We do not know every battle that someone else is facing.