Monday morning rolled around quickly. This particular Monday morning was dark, misty, cool and damp. How many of these dark ones had we had in a row? Would spring ever get here? I needed some sunshine and spring for encouragement to my soul. The darkness of the morning matched my mood. Have you felt that way, especially on a Monday morning?
I got up to my office with my Diet Coke (I’m not a coffee drinker, but I like my caffeine) and went to work on my to do list for the week. My thoughts were sluggish and my prayer time non-existent.
The longer I worked, the lower my emotions went. I began to do some research for a book I am hoping to write. A book proposal outline suggested looking back over journals as part of memoir research to see what nuggets could be discovered as a theme to my writing. Ah, I thought, perhaps I’ll find encouragement in my past writing!
Low and behold, journals from four years ago had the same theme and desire that I have today to shepherd and encourage women to connect with God and other women and live with a healthy mind, body and soul. That did it! I was officially on a downward pity party. If that was my theme from four years ago, how have I not made progress! How come I am not serving and encouraging more women than I am? You should have heard my mind. It was saying not nice things to me.
As I had my pity party, I realized reading my journal that day was not going to be helpful nor encouraging. I knew I needed to encouragement and fast. I didn’t want to stay in this slimy pit so I began some practices that had helped in the past:
- Pray – I started praying for a change of mind. I realized I was in a pity party and I couldn’t stay in that spot or I would get anxious and depressed.
- Connect with a friend – I got on Facebook and messaged my good friend to pray for me. She said she would and asked me what my next steps were going to be. Action helps get my brain moving in an upspiral.
- Read – I had the book, You are Free, Be Who You Already Are, by Rebekah Lyons, sitting beside me. The title seemed to reach out and encourage me. I told my friend I would spend time reading the book, which specifically talks about throwing off self-condemnation and masks of perfection, and step boldly into God’s purpose for you, which was exactly the message I needed.
- Self- care – I took time for a good lunch and a short rest.
- Reflect – As I read the book, one chapter in particular talked about being Free to Wait. I reflected how waiting in the last four years had done for me. I needed to get training, get healthy, recover from my depression and anxiety and know my own self better before coming alongside women who are hurting. God reminded me that the waiting had been intentional. He wanted my full attention and love first. I wasn’t ready four years ago. I had my own work to do before I could love and support other women.
By the end of the day, mercifully, I could leave my pity party and realize that my Create Your Vision for Healthy Living retreat I am leading this weekend for women is exactly that – “shepherding and encouraging women to connect with themselves and God for a healthy vision of their minds, bodies and souls.”
I am encouraged. I am participating in the vision God gave me four years ago. Thank goodness!
What about you? How can waiting be an encouragement to you? What do you do to find encouragement when you find yourself headed down a slippery slope? Getting into a slimy pit of depression and pity is easy to do and not easy to climb out of, especially if you find yourself going there often.
Prayer, connecting with a friend, reading, self-care and reflection have all helped encourage my brain and thinking to keep to a positive course and promote my wellbeing. I hope the practices I put into place this time can be choices for you. They are ones I have developed over my four years of waiting.
Now if only the sun would shine!
Nancy Booth is a certified spiritual director. She walks alongside women who are seeking God’s fingerprints in their lives and want more awareness of what their own true identity is. She helps women shed hurry, worry and disconnect as they seek to hear God’s voice in everyday living. She has a private facebook group that also prays for one another that you can join. She would also love to pray for you. Send your request for prayers and to join the closed Sacred Moments Seeking God facebook group to firstname.lastname@example.org