Ministry

Turning the Train Around

Original image by  Mislav Marohnić via Flickr Commons. Modified by me.
Original image by Mislav Marohnić via Flickr Commons. Modified by me.

I did not want to get out of bed this morning.

I had woken up around 4:30, and by now it was past 6 AM and for one thing, I was still clinging to a sliver of hope that I might be able to get a little more sleep.

My mind kept racing as I lay there, trying to get back to sleep. Some of the thoughts were serious, some frivolous. My brain kept bouncing around between meditating on scripture, thinking about my stuck-in-the-outline-stage novel, and composing Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction (it’s been at least 10 years since the last time I actually wrote fan fiction, but my brain refuses to give up the habit). Finally, after my husband got up to take care of the dog and eat his breakfast, I decided to quiet my mind by saying my morning prayers.

But when I finished, instead of feeling ready to get up and start the day, as I contemplated doing so, mentally going over today’s To Do list, a deep tiredness began to creep over me. I don’t mean sleepiness–that might have actually been useful in the moment–but a sense of weariness and overwhelm, and suddenly instead of fanfic my mind was seized with a barrage of negative thoughts.

It’s getting to be that time of month, when my hormones flare up and make it exceedingly difficult to maintain a sense of objectivity about my life. Suddenly all I could focus on were all the ways my life is less than perfect, all my flaws and failings, all the things I want to accomplish but can’t because there’s just not enough time. I was also thinking about one particular chore on my To Do list, a phone call I needed to make that was making me feel intimidated and filling me with worry.

The old me would have not just allowed that train of thought to continue, but would have packed her emotional bags and climbed on board to ride it all the way to depression-town, where I would have spent the next several days feeling miserable and making my husband miserable, to boot.

But now I know better. Now I know what to do.

The first thing I did, still lying in bed, was to offer up an honest prayer to God, telling him how I was feeling and all of the things that were weighing on me. I acknowledged that He’s bigger than my problems and also stronger than PMS hormones, and asked Him to give me the strength I needed to get out of bed and start my day.

The next thing, as I stood in the kitchen waiting for my coffee to brew, was to give thanks for all the good stuff in my life (which is actually a pretty long list), and to sing hymns of praise.

After breakfast, I went for a long walk (exercise is also an effective way to get some happy, mood-altering endorphins flowing, not to mention that Vitamin D seems to do wonders for my mood and energy levels) and used that time to intercede for other people.

By the time I got back home I had prayed for several people who I know are facing some monumental challenges right now, and I had completely forgotten about feeling sorry for myself in the process. I found myself able to rejoice in a new day and the opportunities it holds, and to tackle that phone call with a sense of peace instead of dread.

Of course, PMS isn’t usually a one-day event, so I need people to pray for! So tell me how I can pray for you this week (you can e-mail me if you don’t want to leave a public comment)?

Relevant to the “old me” vs. the “new me” and my new-found ability to stop the negative thought train in its tracks, I encourage you to check out today’s excellent devotional at Proverbs 31 Ministries — especially if you feel hurt or haunted by the past.

I have a question before I sign off. On my old blog, I had been doing a weekly update at the start of each week going over my bullet journal and my goals for the week. I stopped a couple of months ago when I became too overwhelmed with freelancing projects. Is this something you’d like to see me start again? If so, leave a comment and let me know!

Love,

Jean

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3 thoughts on “Turning the Train Around”

  1. Personally, I had to stop posting to-do lists on my blog. Even writing-related ones. I would spend so much time composing a blog post about it instead of actually doing the things that I wouldn’t accomplish ANYTHING.

    It also helped me to stop comparing myself to other people, because I can handle about a fifth of the workload as it seems many people can do. Just not me. So even when I *did* accomplish things, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything.

    But, if posting lists helps YOU, then by all means do so!

    As for prayer requests… I’m trying to get some priorities straight in my life, so pray that my heart and mind will be willing to change, and eventually WANT to change. Also, my mom is having some wonderful opportunities that are aligning with things God put on her heart years ago, but it means she has less ‘free’ time to help take care of things that come up with Grandma (her mom). And I can’t keep setting aside my time/sanity/hopefully-soon-family-creating for every little thing that Grandma doesn’t comprehend/want to change. We’ve been trying to warm Grandma up to the idea of a part-time caregiver for a while, so we need some added prayers that Grandma will be open to some new experiences.

    1. I will definitely be praying! And I’ll tell you that the things God has been doing in me and my life have been pretty amazing since I started asking him to change my heart to be more like his.

      That’s a good point about the bullet journal posts. I’m not sure that they’ve actually helped me, but if someone else out there has been helped or motivated by them I didn’t want to take them completely off the table. I certainly don’t want to post something that’s going to trip people up or cause them stress, though.

      1. The way I see it is that there’s only so much you can hold yourself responsible for. Other people have to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions, too. Seeing other people’s goals/lists doesn’t bother me, but when I was posting my own lists I was always comparing them to others. When I stopped posting, it was much easier to not compare myself.

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