Pre-storms: I was wired to assume the best would be the outcome in every situation.
Post-storms: I have experienced MOST of my well-laid plans not even remotely working out. So I was glitching and assuming the worst, which made me unable to get out of bed.
If you've heard me speak, or have read my blog, you've likely heard me mention a book I read a few years ago called, "Happy For No Reason," by Marci Shimoff.
Oh! When I first saw the title of that book smiling at me from the public library shelf, I was immediately angry and resentful. I was looking in the self-help section because I had been crying and disfunctional for a couple of years, at least. I wanted a REASON to be happy! I had accepted, "Get Dressed For No Reason." And "Breathe For No Reason." But I was able to do those things because someday I would have a REASON to be happy.
A book telling me how and why to be "Happy For No Reason," just ticked me off. But I knew I HAD to read the book.
It changed my life.
I had been waiting for God to make me happy, to give me reasons to be happy. But God was teaching me something new; "I'm going to sustain you while YOU learn the tricks-of-the-trade of getting through fiery trials with the right attitude."
Over the last few years I've learned some things, things that perhaps you need to be made aware of. Accept the rewiring that needs to occur. We find ourselves frustrated, spinning our wheels trying to make things how they used to be. But, God has determined to make all things NEW. He's not allowing peace to come from the old methods. We've got to forget those things which are behind. We've got some learning to do.
I learned how to be content in whatever state of mind I found myself in. By accepting the reality of what I was dealing with, by thinking hopeful thoughts, by speaking life into the atmosphere around me, I began to gain some control over my state of mind. I determined to let the past be done, and I began to deliberately impact the future with present behaviors. I decided I was as ignorant and as undeveloped as a newborn. I'm not where I need to be yet. But, I'm not where I was either! Yes, I'll have days where sadness will come calling and I'll feel like I've not made any progress at all; but I've been rewired to get through difficult hours with patience. In fact, it IS only a few hours of emotional unrest now. In the past, it was DAYS. I'm getting better at this! :)
There are some struggles I've not yet felt released to divulge to the public. But I CAN tell you that the joy, peace, and victories I've experienced have blown my ever-lovin' mind. And He's not finished yet! If this is my experience, I can promise you, it can be yours too! You too can feel strong and capable again! But, you can't demand it come by your methods. Your job is to learn how to do life in a completely new and different way.
In the meantime...
As we move into the holidays, starting with this Thanksgiving, I am aware that some wounds are going to feel inflamed. My wounds. Your wounds. You're likely already feeling it. For some of you, the wounds have healed, and most days their existence is forgotten. But holidays cause the same reaction to your soul-scars as wet, cold weather causes old football injuries. Sometimes the scars ache.
As you go into the holidays I encourage you to, first of all, be mentally prepared for it. Accept that it might show itself. And if/when it does, have a game plan in place. Maybe have a list of scriptures to read or listen to, to give you a quick pick me up. Plan to take a nap. Don't plan to do all of the usual traditions. Or do like me, and (gasp) refuse to do ANY of the traditions. After I saw the attempts at traditions were triggering depression in us, I chucked those traditions. We started having fun creating brand new ones!
Go into every situation with a prayer. Ask God for strength. Ask God to make the situation as smooth as possible, and to give you wisdom to best handle it. Before you step into the next one, pray again.
Lastly, give yourself a break. Speak life. Be joyful and positive. But, it's ok to go in a back room and cry for a bit. Just don't get lost in the back room. Blow your snozzle ASAP, and wade back in. PLAN to give yourself a break.
Wherever you are in your storm, mid or post; YOU CAN DO THIS! Trust me, you will enjoy life again. I haven't quite got the "reasons" to be happy that I wanted. But God has sustained me. I feel better equipped at facing difficulties now. And I am experiencing the miraculous! God is proving to me that God sees me, and that He will work ALL THINGS out for my good.
Maybe you will, or maybe you won't, have a "happy holiday."
But you can have a strong, courageous holiday!
YOU CAN DO THIS! :)