Self-Care, Failure, & Keeping My Eyes Open

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I can't believe that it's already been a week since, well, last week.  I've gone into something like hibernation when possible, just chilling out in our living room arm chair when my son naps, trying to recover some energy.

I have to be honest -- between my husband's loss of faith (and it's not like he's an angry atheist either) and my friend's stillbirth and all of the emotions and stirred up grief that have come up, not to mention it just being a very busy week . . . I haven't been doing so great.  (But your kindness has been sustaining -- thank you for the sweet notes of encouragement you left me!)

Okay, you probably guessed that, considering my last few posts.  And it shouldn't surprise me.  These past few days have been a true challenge, and I did not my self-care levels enough.  As a result . . . hello, depression.  Hello, extreme doubt and faith questioning.  Hello, eating almost a full box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch over the course of a single day (oops).

And yet, here I am surprised.  Surprised that I'm floundering more than a little in these extra murky waters.

But there's something that surprises me more.

I shared with my therapist about this week's self-care failures.  About how, at the moment, I'm not acting like the woman I'm created to me.

Her advice?  Let it go.

And so I have.  I am.

I am?!

This is the thing that surprises -- shocks me, even -- more than the fact that I am floundering.  I am blown away by the fact that I am able to let these flounderings go.  I am able to release them into the hands of God, even with all my doubt.

Because in the not-too-distant past?  When I stumbled like this, I couldn't let it go.  I couldn't just pick myself back up and keep walking.

Instead, I would stay down.  I would press my own face deeper into the muck.  I would self-flagellate, unable to forgive myself.  And, of course, all those behaviors I was trying to shame myself out of engaging in would increase.

If it wasn't all so painful and confusing, I'd say these struggles were worth it because they have so startlingly highlighted how much I have grown.  How much I am growing.

Because when you're growing?  It usually doesn't feel like it.  Those steps forward are agonizingly small, and the landscape never seems to change.

But then something like this happens, and you realize that you've traveled miles along this road and the flat, dull scenery of before has broken into rolling hills kissing cerulean sky and the sun is suddenly shining into your skin and you know, you know that everything is different.

And so I feel refreshed, my friends, even though I am still huddled in that armchair, in the knowledge that everything is different.  That my internal landscape has changed remarkably.  That I will not be left unfinished.

I know that I do not need to wallow here, either.  So while I am waiting for God to pull me forward, I am doing what I can here and now.  I am watching art video inspiration.  I am continuing to paint, even if it's just a little.  I am writing here, telling the truth.  I am moving my body.  I am giving my son as many daily kisses and snuggles as humanly possible.  I am resting.  I am feeling, even the hard things.  I am noticing what God has already done.  I am keeping my eyes open.

In other words, self-care.  Without the guilt trip.

Let's do this.

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