Might have guessed it
In the interests of transparency, here’s an update of ‘6 lessons I learned in 6 months of major stress’. Yes, you’ve guessed it: though the worst of the storm was indeed over, buffeting winds continued.
Pathetic as it may sound, I even found myself revisiting my own blog post just to be reminded of how to keep going.
So, here are the original 6 lessons, plus 3 extra learned along the way…
To be clear, this was not one lesson learned per month; my life at least is not that cut and dried. In fact, let this untidy caveat be about Lesson One: Real Life is, more often than not, an utter mess.
Lesson Two: Night
When curled up in a fetal position overwhelmed and whimpering, or crying hard, ugly tears of despair, don’t expect to see the light. Because dark is dark. Night is night. ‘This too shall pass’ is a truism that doesn’t necessarily take into consideration how long the tunnel is.
Lesson Three: Music
A song can save me. For example, ‘You’re Gonna Be Ok’ by Brian & Jenn Johnson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjF9IqvXDjY
Lesson Four: Nature
Receive the comfort of nature, whether it’s the companionship of pets; the singing of crickets or pied fantails; the colour of sky, the green of pine, or the smell of cut grass.
Lesson Five: Health
This is precisely the time NOT to stop any healthy habits to do with eating and exercising. Good nutrition is a godsend, and pushing my body to its limits, sweating it out, can be a great release.
(Screaming into a pillow is also a great rage-releaser, very handy if you don’t want to alarm the neighbours, but not very kind to your voice box.)
Lesson Six: Prayer
Ask for help. Especially for prayer. It need only be from one or two friends, but it helps. Don’t know how – in my four decades of being a Jesus follower, the mystery of love and prayer has only grown deeper – but praying friends have buoyed me up like a life-saving jacket in a raging river.
Lesson Seven: Share
Even if we’re not specifically asking for help or prayer, talk to someone. Maybe I won’t be able to offload the whole kit and caboodle, but being absolutely honest about one aspect of the struggle will give me the space to breath and keep going.
Lesson Eight: Fears
Name the fears. Fears have a special debilitating power over us while we don’t recognize them. But, once we can see them, we can start figuring out where they come from, and spot them before they actually pounce.
Lesson Nine: Let it all out
Don’t be ‘too religious’ for God when alone together. Drop the mask. Let it all out. Yes, this includes our worst language, the shouting, the swearing, every doubt, every accusation. He can take it all. Of course He can. He really, really can.
After all, He meets us where we are, not where we’re not.
Photo: A moment of serenity