They were words I said to myself, mostly. I might have shared them with a close friend, or occasionally hinted at them here, but mainly I’ve kept them politely hidden, like a festering wound covered by a smiley-face Band-Aid.
It wasn’t until I recognized my own turmoil reflected on my children’s faces that I admitted I need help. Despite my get-on-with-it gumption, their sensitive spirits are picking up my anxiety and depression, and absorbing it in ways unique to each of them. That’s what finally made me pick up the phone last April and schedule my first counseling appointment.
The Hamster Goes to Therapy
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to “prepare” for a counseling session, only to end up feeling like you studied for the wrong test.
I went into therapy moderately proud of my self-awareness and 95% certain that I knew the source of my angst. I was just as certain my situation was beyond hope. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.
I have much to learn. Some lessons are simple to grasp but hard to implement. Others are painful and complicated from beginning to end. I’m guessing all of them are universally helpful. That’s why I want to share what I’m learning with you, here, as I’m learning it. Not as an expert, but as one more human being who’s tired of running like a hamster on a wheel, long on effort but short on progress.
If you relate to that feeling, maybe you also share my longing for a rested, authentic, transformed life. A life that has more space for love and joy, service and compassion. A life that looks more like the abundant life Jesus came to release in us.
In pursuit of that, and of him, I’ve identified three areas to explore both privately and here, on this blog.
1. Be Still
I’ve neglected self-care, labeling it selfish and wasteful. I’ve crowded my calendar with commitments, my mind with media. I’ve forgotten how to be truly present with myself, my people, and my God.
Now I want to learn how to be still in body, mind, and spirit. To release the burdens I’m not meant to carry. To cease laboring for acceptance and instead embrace my identity as God’s beloved.
2. Be You
I’ve plugged myself into roles based on others’ expectations, or simply to fill an empty space. My decisions rarely take into account my unique gifts and personality. I’ve buried passion, calling, and vocation beneath the pressing weight of financial responsibility.
Now I want to more fully understand my God-designed makeup. To make wise decisions about how to steward my time and energy. To dare to lay my timid dreams before the Author of life and see what He does with them.
3. Be Made New
I’ve given in to shame and stagnation, held onto misplaced guilt. I’ve accepted the unacceptable within myself and almost stopped believing that change is possible.
Now I want to look hope in the eye and let discouragement voice its questions. If change is possible, what is the change agent? How do my efforts interact with the Holy Spirit’s work? What is my role in the process of transformation? Am I merely a passive vessel, or an active participant?
This week I ticked off the halfway point of my 39th year. I’m almost to the big 4-0, and maybe that’s behind the urgency I feel to figure this stuff out. I have this sense that life is racing by, gaining speed every year. I’ve racked up so many regrets over the past decade. I don’t want to waste any more time hovering over a candle flame when Jesus is inviting me into sunshine.
If you just said, “Amen, sister,” consider joining my email list. Aside from my public posts here, each month I’ll be sharing personal stories and resources about stillness, authenticity, and transformation exclusively with my email community. You can sign up below this post, or in the sidebar.
Now, your turn. Do you feel like something is holding you back from positive change? What are the fears or doubts that make you feel stuck?