At some point in the last decade, I woke up to a world gone mad. Dismissing the Creator years ago, moral standards progressed down the hill and all the way off the cliff. We’ve committed the ultimate hubris by rewriting marriage (from a God-designed covenant between a man and a woman to what it is now) and more recently, we’ve declared gender impertinent. The very basic component of our identity (not just for homeo sapiens but all mammal species) has sunk into the putrid muck of ridiculous existential relativism. Somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s not mental illness to look at our body parts and cut them off, replacing them for others. Forget “in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27). The mantra now is “male, female, and whatever, however, whenever, you want you create.” Common sense has departed the planet, people.
All that said, I will jump off my box before I start throwing packing peanuts. We won’t explore the implications of that gender craziness today. Instead, I want to go a completely different direction. Sometimes women just need to hear: you aren’t alone. I get it. I understand what you are experiencing.
So, as a wife, mother, friend, teacher, employee, ministry leader, and writer, I want to share some random tools that have helped me cope with life’s assaults.
This category permeates them all, for if our spirits aren’t at peace with our Lord, everything in our lives will be off kilter. First off, immersion in Scripture can’t be underplayed. We can’t walk in peace or joy if we are sunk in a pit of lies. And, we won’t recognize the pit for what it is if we have nothing to compare it to. Don’t forget the importance of community. We must choose to peel off the wall and expose ourselves to other believers in a real and vulnerable way. Close relationships don’t develop without humility or authentic exposure to the truth.
Get into a small group that seeks to understand God’s plan and desires to implement it in their lives. In other words, don’t just join a Bible study where all you do is study the Bible. Do what it says. Surround yourself with people who are a few steps ahead of you. If you want to grow in joy, faith, or evangelism, ask someone who demonstrates the desired qualities to mentor you.
She Reads Truth is an excellent daily Scripture reading with solid and applicable devotions. In between the women’s Bible studies at church, I use this site to stay consistent with Bible reading.
When I become busy or stressed, I tend to isolate myself from others. Often what I need most–help–is the last thing I’m inclined to request. When I have several expectations placed on me, I want to prove myself all the more capable of keeping the plates aloft…by myself. Lunacy, I know. I’m getting a little better at asking my spouse and kids to do dishes or fold a load of laundry, and I’m learning the value of reading a book or going for a walk, even when the to-do list screams at me. Emotional health, much like spiritual health, can’t develop apart from accountability. If I’m not careful, my emotions can take me to a desperate place. If I internalize those emotions–try to squelch them–I’m even worse off than before.
“Pretending you don’t feel something doesn’t get rid of the emotion. Instead, driving what we perceive to be sad, bad, or scary feelings deeper into the recesses of our souls may cause other problems to pop out–such as insincerity, isolation, depression, and the inability to experience true intimacy with others and with God” (Lisa Harper, Job: A Story of Unlikely Joy, 63).
Even so, emotions should never drive our vehicles. They can sit in the backseat (sometimes they have to be put in the trunk for a time), but truth overrides feelings. Everything we feel should be filtered through God’s truth over who we are, why He created us, and what He says about our lives.
Schedule Playtime. Take time for fun–alone, with your spouse, and with friends. If you are an introvert, a day of fun might paint itself in contrast to an introvert’s dream, but regularly make those happen. Even if it’s only once a month, set aside some time to nourish yourself. Meet with friends who encourage and challenge you and make you laugh. Go on dates with your hubs that don’t include heavy conversations about finances, the kids, or the unending house repairs.
Feed your creative side by developing your hobby. Whether it’s sewing, gardening, painting, reading, baking, tennis, or hiking, do it. The average American watches five hours of TV a day! Now, I know that’s not you, but surely we have some time to develop ourselves better than that.
What we experience physically impacts how we feel and what we emote. If we are tired from lack of sleep, our irritability will trip our relationships. If we are sluggish and out of shape, depression and anxiety heighten and our connection with our children diminishes as well. Our spirits and emotions become more balanced when we do the following:
Avoid sugar and eat whole meals (lean proteins and vegetables). Drink at least 64 oz of water a day and delete all sodas and sweet teas. The harder our bodies have to work to digest food, the less energy we have and the more inflammation and illness we experience. Dr. Axe is a great resource for finding more nutritional tips.
Find a way to move every day. (Dancing, kickboxing, yoga, cycling, or anything cardio is most beneficial for better sleep and emotions). For my body, I have to do low impact work outs, but plenty of options reside on Youtube under PopSugar Fitness. Yoga with Adriene is another favorite of mine; she also supplies free yoga videos on Youtube.
Take magnesium, B-complex, vitamin C, a solid women’s multi-vitamin and a quality probiotic. Ashwagandha (an herbal supplement) helps with a variety of issues: hormonal imbalances, adrenal exhaustion, and thyroid deficiencies to name a few.
Chiropractic care, although not all created equally, helps keep you in optimal health as well. Finding one that would help adjust me when I was dealing with pelvic pain and headaches reduced my migraines and my prolapse issues. Along those lines, I also advocate for Bowen treatments! Neuromuscular reintegration techniques have greatly reduced back and tailbone pain and other pelvic issues.
Since puberty, I’ve struggled with facial blemishes. Twenty-five years later, I’m still dealing with break-out sessions on my chin. I’ve used every product, from intense salicylic acid washes to pore scrubs to astringent. The absolute best product for my skin–diminished my acne like nothing else and kept my skin from drying out–my mom found for me at a Farmer’s Market. It’s main ingredients? Activated charcoal and tea tree oil. Wonder soap to me!