Denial

Have you ever done something that you know you shouldn’t but just can’t help yourself. Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure like watching something that’s a little “mature” or reading something that is vulgar. Maybe it’s eating something when a health condition says it’s probably wise to avoid those types of foods.

How do you feel after you’ve done those things? Happy? Satisfied? Maybe disappointed in yourself?

While indulging in those “guilty pleasures” might feel good in the moment they can be detrimental in the long run-to your physical and/or mental health.

I have been fairly candid about my mental health and what causes some of my anxiety and depression. I have gone to therapy and take medication for my problems. I do exercises that help me get through the day when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. I have learned to break down boundaries and build up healthy ones. I have been doing daily devotionals and spending more time with God-I’ve been consistent for over 100 days but something is still feeling off.

“Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Habakkuk‬ ‭2:2-3‬

I decided to give up Instagram. Gasp! The horror! I gave up one measly social media site that means nothing to do many people. Instagram can be used for so much good and education and connecting but it can also be used for comparison, bragging, immorality, and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that Instagram was hurting my mental health. I’ve been free of that branch of social media for several weeks now and my mood has changed 10,000%. Okay, maybe not that much but there has been an improvement and I LOVE it-so much so that I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone to test that too. I still log in through my web browser but it’s work and I get frustrated by how long it takes. I log on only to post to some groups that I am in charge of. My mood has changed significantly within the past week and I’m considering logging off of social media for good.

Some of you couldn’t care less about social media and it doesn’t effect you at all and that is great. Others of you know exactly what I am talking about and maybe you’re considering making changes in your social media lives as well. Good for you!

I’ve been in denial that social media is at the root of my mental health problems. I’m not saying that by deleting said programs will cure me but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I love feeling connected but I now have more of a desire to be physically connected with my family. I want to be content with my current life and not feel drawn to know what others are doing.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I feel that God is leading me to continue this blog so I will do that. If you want to keep up with it please subscribe through email! Deleting Facebook is something that I feel needs to be done for myself. For those of you wondering how you will keep up with my kids and their cuteness-you know my number, my email, where we live. You will survive not getting updates every day.

Think about what you can detox out of your life to give you more happiness. What are you giving control to?

5 Ways to Practice Self Care

So much of what I see online and hear about from other moms is to take time for self care. My initial thought was to spoil myself. To treat myself to spa days and girls nights. While those things are really nice to do on occasion I think they miss the point.

In my opinion it’s important to take care of your self-mentally, physically, spiritually. While that may include spoiling yourself with a pedicure now and then I’ve discovered five areas to improve my own long term self care.

Set Healthy Boundaries

  • This is one of my New Years Resolutions. I’m learning that setting healthy boundaries is fantastic for my mental health. For me this means not over committing my life to others, saying no more, and taking care of relationships-whether that is to end an unhealthy relationship or cultivate a new one. I’m sharing less of my life on social media and living more in the moment.
  • “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Practice forgiveness and gratitude

  • I tend to hold grudges. Do you? When someone wrongs me I just hang onto that and let it fester in my mind. That is not a great way to spend my life. There have been times when I’ve had to ask for forgiveness for holding a grudge and that person had no idea that I was mad at them. There’s also been times when I’ve had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry-or even alive. Letting go of those grudges frees my heart and my spirit.
  • “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • Gratitude goes hand in hand with forgiveness. I’ve learned that if I’m grateful for things in my life I see less of the negative. When I am grateful for certain aspects of people and the relationships with them I don’t see the bad things as much.
  • “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” Philippians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Invest in community and connection

  • Whoa! This is a hard one for me and I know for many others as well. This is stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out human to human. Face to face. NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Community and connection seems so much easier when you aren’t actually meeting face to face. I’m currently taking a break from social media and it has been fantastic. I don’t really miss it. I do log on occasionally to update groups that I lead-but it’s in the name of building community.
  • “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • I started a small bible study in our church and it’s been great. I love getting together with these other moms and talking about our struggles. It’s crazy to see these moms-who look like they have it all together- and they are falling apart just like me. Motherhood is surprisingly isolating and community -face to face community is vital for survival.
  • Practice good health

  • To me this seems pretty obvious for self care but I struggle with it. Staying active, eating healthy-instead of junk, getting outside…these all help with self care. The more we move around, get our heart rate up, put good stuff in our bodies-the better we feel. In return we can help our families feel better too. We set good examples for our kids and we are ultimately able to do more without the added stress and exhaustion.
  • “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Rest

  • I mean…come on. This is obvious. Rest is vital to our survival. Our physical and mental health depend on rest. Rest may not even be sleep (though very important) it could be setting a boundary and saying no to something and instead spending time with your kids or spouse. Occasionally we like to book a night away in a hotel. We intentionally go away to spend time as a family uninterrupted. We could have a family day at home but life is still there-asking for help or advice. It’s good to step away from responsibility for just a moment to rest and recover and then you will be better at your responsibilities later.
  • “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Spend time in the Word

  • To me this is another no-brained but also another hard one to accomplish. I’ve found that the YouVersion Bible App helps to keep me focused. No, it’s not an actual paper bible but I can grab my phone anywhere and read some scripture or a devotional any time that I have a quick moment-during nap time or in the car when I have a moment waiting to go in somewhere. I wake up to tend to my kids in the middle of the night. Sometimes I can’t go back to sleep. I will grab my phone and read in my bible app. It’s pretty convenient. These actions have changed my mood and have allowed me to grow in my spiritual walk. When I’m struggling I know that I can find encouragement and truth in my bible.
  • “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Truthfully I don’t know if these five things will help YOU practice self care but I do know that they have helped me. I have learned so much about myself and my relationships by doing these things. My life seems to be less irritating and my difficult seasons are shorter. I have learned to have an attitude of gratitude and my mental health has improved greatly through that.

    Send me your suggestions for self care!

    The Messy Side

    I love to keep a neat, clean, organized home. My anxiety feeds on messy. I cannot calm down when everything is in disarray. I end up rage cleaning-you know-the type of cleaning that someone does when they are angry and can’t control anything else so they scrub and scrub until a hole forms in the counter because it makes them feel in control. Yeah…that’s me. I shamefully admit that more than once I’ve broken a dish or bent silverware during my rage cleaning. Good times. What a mess.

    Hot Lava and a Messy House filled with love.

    Recently my dishwasher broke. I loathe washing dishes. I would rather clean the toilet with my own toothbrush than wash dishes. So, my dishes sit in the sink for as long as I can tolerate them-hoping that someone will pop by and ask to wash them for me-after all…I’m a fabulous stay at home mom and there are tons of people who want to just “bless” me by doing my chores. A girl can dream can’t she? What a mess.

    And then there’s this other pile. A paper pile. I’m sure you’re familiar with it-I think it’s called “bills”. It sits there. All day. Every day. Looking at me-waiting to be paid. I know those bills are due but I look at them and look at our bank account and try to figure out when to mail these bills so that they don’t overlap or come close to grocery day. What a mess.

    I am a mess. My life is a mess. My kids are a mess. My house is a mess. But guess what…God doesn’t care. In fact-he sent His son to earth to take care of my mess. He’s with me in my anxiety driven rage cleaning. He’s with me when I’m avoiding doing the dishes and filling the sink with water one more time. He’s with me when I’m juggling bills and pay checks and trips to the grocery store trying to make every penny count.

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

    God never said we have to be perfect, organized, bathed every day, house spotless. He wants us to make an effort and give our best and if our best is less than perfect that’s okay because it’s our best. What is important is that we meet with Him every day.

    I love that I can come to Him with my mess. My sins-my anger, discontentment, jealousy, gossip, unforgiveness or whatever else is messy in my life and he takes it upon him and buries it at the bottom of the sea.

    As far as the East is from the west, so far he has removed our sins from us. Psalm 103:12

    Where are you today? Trying to be perfect? Content in your journey? Giving your best effort? Wherever you are know that you can be there and meet God in that place too. You don’t need to be perfect, pray perfect, look perfect…we are all a little messy.

    Contentment

    Before Christmas and New Years I wrote about my word for 2020. Boundaries kept coming up and I set out to learn more about setting boundaries, keeping boundaries and respecting boundaries. Nearly two weeks into the new year I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the boundary concept. It’s definitely still a work in progress but I now feel God pointing me in another direction for my word of the year. Contentment.

    My entire life I have struggled with comparison. I’m sure I’ve written about that before -I don’t like to dwell on my past blog posts though. I’ve struggled with items I own and wanting better. I’ve struggled with how many friends I have and wanting more. I’ve struggled with keeping my home in a perfect state like people on tv or Instagram influencers. I’ve struggled with raising my kids in a way that someone else does that I admire.

    The truth is that the word contentment was a slap across my face. I need to be content with what I have, who I am, my home, my car, my kids, my life…

    While I continue to work on boundaries, contentment falls into line with that-for me anyway. This year I will be content with what I have and not wanting more. Spending time with my family will remain my number one priority-and that doesn’t mean that every day needs to be perfect…because it definitely won’t be.

    I pray that in my search for contentment my children will also be content in what they have and how we live. I pray that they will enjoy the simpler pleasures of life and value our family time. I know that I find joy in swinging with my kids and baking with them. I enjoy building train tracks and going on adventures to our “treasure tree”. I pray that they learn to appreciate the little things now and that I don’t build up their expectations too much.

    I choose joy.

    I choose happiness.

    I choose love.

    I choose laughter.

    I choose grace.

    I choose contentment.

    I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)