My circumstances, for the most part, have not changed in a significant way … yet. I knew I would get to this point eventually, I just needed to do those things I work with clients and parishioners in doing. (If you are in a helping profession, you understand that value of the “Aha!” moment in which you ask yourself, “What would I tell someone who came to me?”)
But, I understand that during this waiting time there is much that I can do, and I am doing! Just doing has made a huge difference in my outlook. Doing keeps me out of the victim “There’s nothing I can do, I am at the whim of my circumstances!” mindset. So here’s what I've been doing:
Take a breath. Pray, meditate, read the Bible. Remember to feed your spiritual self and have communion with God. A little bit is better than none at all. You’d be amazed at what 5 minutes can do, even if you cannot bear the thought of more than that.
Take inventory – real, truthful inventory. Is everything in your life really wrong? Sometimes, we are caught up in an all or nothing frame of mind – either we are blissfully happy or woefully depressed. In reality, we are usually somewhere in between. It is really helpful to write down what we believe – and then next to it write down the truth. You might be surprised at what is really going on.
Take care of yourself. Get some exercise, eat well, get a massage. Self-care is critical. Massage is a critical part of self-care for me. I noticed a marked change when I started taking walks and got a massage. This also inspired me to eat better so I didn't go into the shame spiral about eating badly. Taking care of me physically helped my mind and spirit feel better. I understood that I did have the power to make good decisions and take care of myself – even if no one else was doing it.
Take a chance. Do something new. That old saying about “Do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” is true. You might be surprised by a new adventure you begin. Maybe your job skills from one job are transferrable to another. Maybe you like Thai food. Maybe rearranging your furniture is what you need for a new perspective. You will never know until you try. Maybe life doesn’t always have to be what it was.
Take a lesson from the past. Don’t forget to take time to look back on tough times you've had, and survived (!) in the past. Remind yourself that you have come through difficult times before, and you will likely survive them again. This step always reminds me that God is faithful, has not let me be consumed before, and will continue to be with me, even if I cannot see the next step.
No, my circumstances are not radically different than they were a few weeks ago (I do have some things in the works), but I am. As my mother and her friends say “You can’t keep a good woman down!” I choose to believe that God sees me as his beloved child and therefore I am valuable and good!
I am taking back my place as a child of the most high God, creator of the universe. How about you?