I must confess that I haven’t been operating as my best self. This past couple of weeks, the challenges that I have faced have left me faced down in the mud. I have cried in secret, found myself increasingly obsessing about changing my physical space, I have operated in a daze, lost my cool with my kids more than once, had a full-blown argument with my husband (our 2nd ever), all the while posting to my social media tips about how to reign supreme in your life daily. Talk about irony. Normally, I would allow myself to dive into a full-on pity party-dwelling on how terrible I have behaved, how much I haven’t accomplished, feeling like I am a fraud and not cut out to perform the work that I KNOW that I have been commissioned by my God to do. I have experienced a complete spectrum of joy and pain in such a short time, but why? Why am I experiencing life in this way, in this space and time? How did I get here? God, what did I miss? Questions that need answers. As I was feeling the devastation of my present disposition, it occurred to me that I am fully in control of how long I remain in this unpleasant slump. I was reminded that as easily as I relinquished my thoughts, actions, and feelings to the dark, I can most assuredly pull myself out and back into the light!
I offer you 3 tips to do the same:
1. Stop and say thank you. One of the most powerful actions that we can take to moving ourselves from darkness back to the light, is to stop and be grateful. I shared this week how I was feeling so overwhelmed with life’s challenges and in the midst of my crying my mind shifted to the fact that God has made me strong. I literally started repeating, “thank you for making me strong.” The more I recited this simple thanks, the faster my mind and body began to shift from overwhelmed to ‘I’ve made it through this before.’ It was a powerful, yet simple action. It’s easy to think of all the negative shit that we have going on: lack of funds, tension within the family, that endless to-do list, but deciding to stop and choose gratitude, shifts our minds from the negative back to what we’ve already overcome. Life’s happenings don’t stop, but we can stop and shift our internal messaging by simply saying thank you.
2. Pray and revisit. Once I moved from the place of being overwhelmed to a place of gratitude, I instantly felt physically better and I felt a mental relief. Mind you, I was experiencing all of this alone. Sometimes, it is not for us to bring in someone else (unless danger is imminent), but it is for us to practice and reengage in the work that brought us into light in the first place. For me it is prayer. My prayers are not beautifully scripted and sometimes sound a lot like rambling, but nevertheless, I pray. There are times that my prayer is a simple thank you and other times it’s God, it’s me! I have learned that God doesn’t need me to be able to recite scripture or even remind Him of what he’s done when I pray, He just needs the invitation to come in comfort and remind me that He made me strong. Not only do I pray, but I revisit the very things that helped to guide me to light in the first place. I revisit old journal entries, I look at photos, listen to songs and reread parts of books that were life altering. What got me to a place of joy can get me there again. One thing that I am mindful not to do is to go looking at other people’s joy because this most assuredly breeds comparison.
3. Take one small step. In order not to make the work of getting back to joy and to light overwhelming, we have to take small steps. I do this by engaging in something as small as doing a 30-second plank or making a cup of coffee and sipping it in silence. I read for a few minutes, go play with make-up or check-in with a friend or loved one. All of these simple actions put my mind at ease so that I can then focus on the deliberate steps that I need to tackle the issues that put me in a dark place. The time I take to sip that cup of coffee, allows me to focus on one thing that’s going to turn a dark situation to one of light.
There’s no shame in falling into darkness, the shame is choosing to stay there. Light awaits us every day and so does darkness. You have the power to choose where you want to dwell. May you choose the light over the darkness!