Like most everyone else, I like my change in a somewhat controlled fashion within certain parameters of my comfort levels.
I'm a big believer in stepping outside of my comfort zone. I believe that when I'm called to do something that really stretches me, that's when God works best in me and through me.
But lately, it feels like change is such a constant that it's making life pretty miserable.
Changes at work that aren't positive changes.
Changes in my child's behavior that aren't good for the family.
Changes in my perception or understanding that leads me to feeling unfulfilled.
I try to focus on the positive. Jeff and I are doing great. He's my rock, my friend. He helps, he's my partner, he's my stress relief. Zach is in an "easy" phase. He's a pretty laid back kid and he's smart and imaginative and loving.
But there is so much stress coming at me from so many other places that every day feels like a chore. Every day feels like another list of things to get through.
It's like I've lost my joy.
And that has become my status quo- my current state of affairs.
And I don't like it.
I had dinner with a friend Monday night because I needed someone to talk to and it was a great talk. And since then, I've been getting some answers to my prayers that I am trying to sort out. I've been praying about all of this stress for a long time. I think I've given it up to God but the stress remains and maybe I just don't know how to actually give up the control? I don't know.
After my dinner with a friend on Monday, I have received my regular daily devotional emails. I subscribe to several through various sources and sometimes they are very relevant to my life today and sometimes I just skim them over. Tuesday and Wednesday were filled with important messages that were very directly guided to me. I had a meeting at church on Tuesday evening and when our pastor shared our opening worship focus and led our closing prayer, the words were spoken for me.
Here's a summary of what I'm getting right now.
- My spirit isn't being filled.
- I'm not growing. Or I'm not comfortable with the way I'm growing.
- I am stretched thin and in danger of tearing.
- I need the support of my friends and family.
- When caring for my loved ones, don't neglect me.
And here are some of the tasks or ideas being presented to me as ways to help.
- My dinner friend brought me a stack of books. Some are devotionals, some are just books. Some already called to me just by their title - How to Pray After You've Kicked the Dog.
- Make a list of everything currently on my plate and then pray over it. See what can be cut from the list in order to relieve some commitments.
- Ask for help. I've approached a friend to see about getting housework help. I have friends I know I can talk to about my stress.
- Continue to keep my spiritual connection strong. Even if I don't feel like I'm being spiritually filled in the ways I normally expect it, my prayer life continues to remain strong.
A big part of me feels like I am whining. There isn't anything specifically wrong in my life. My kids are healthy. My finances are stable. My marriage is good. I have a job and benefits. I have friends and family. So many things are exactly right and yet... I'm not happy. I'm stressed, stretched, pulled, thin, frustrated, and often unhappy. I don't feel like myself- I miss my joy, my peace, my purpose. I'm not working out, I'm not eating right, I'm not writing as much as I'd like. And I feel like there isn't time to get back to those things, there isn't time or energy to keep up.
Part of me keeps holding on to the hope that this is a temporary phase in my life. "This, too, shall pass." But it hasn't passed. Since April of 2011, when my job took the first big hit of massive change by adding on responsibilities, the change has been fast and furious, the stress has continued to increase and multiply, and life has continued to be more and more of a challenge.
I'm trying. I think I'm trying my best. I'm surviving each day. I just don't know what I need to do next to fix me, to make this better, to feel like myself again.