So remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I managed to avoid my annual Pit of Despair during the summer? I totally promised to tell you about that. So I am:
If you’ve read for a while or know me at all, then you know I dread summer, and it ain’t the New Orleans heat. Summers are when my big kids have to go away for a several weeks and…
I. Hate. It.
Like, deep depression, crying most days, eating everything in sight, hate it.
I miss those babies, what can I say?!?
This year, however, I managed to cope a bit more effectively with my summer emotions. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Homemade Vinaigrette. I’m totally serious. I got kind of interested in a bunch of homemade things and I made some awesome vinaigrettes this summer. Most included honey and lime. (How can you beat that?) I also made some yummy cocktails like key lime pie martini and a salty dog with fresh grapefruit juice. So. Good. Not to mention I kept up with my biscuit project and became a Joy the Baker disciple. With only one kid at home and he had an age 3-sized tummy, it was easier to make grown-up food for dinner without having to coerce anyone into trying what was on the plate. So, things like arugula pesto went down easy. And I had fun with the distraction.
2) Friends. Not the TV show. The real kind. We have some darling friends down the street who invited us like crazy to swim in their gorgeous pool. I learned a few water aerobics moves, but mostly had a fun place to move my body and have fun with my littlest boy and enjoy time with some great grownups. And of course our house church friends stick close during summers. They run straight toward the crazy. They hover near, show up on weeknights, and call to see if I can have lunch. I have some long distance heart friends (Christy and my sister) who also video chat and such. It’s hard to BS when they can see my face. And then there are the girls night friends. Friends help. A lot.
3) I started reading the Bible. Ha ha! Like I’ve never done that before!! Yeah, I’ve totally done that since forever, but not like this. Untangling myself from Bible reading/study as a vocational requirement has been a little awkward at times. It all started with the “quiet time” one year at youth camp. They taught us how to have “time with God” every day and then I had another thing I could be a perfectionist about. Another thing to add to my “things that make me an awesome Christian” list. Over the past few years, I’ve questioned it all and picked it all apart and set aside most of the stuff on that list. BUT… this past April we as a home church started a chronological read through the Bible in a year. We’re using Youversion. This time, my journey through scripture has been compelling and nourishing AND completely disconnected from my reputation. I’ve rarely missed a day, even though I haven’t obsessed about making it happen. It’s been so much fun to connect with God for no other reason than just… to connect with God. He was my Lifeline, my Safety Net, my Secret Weapon for Pit Avoidance this summer. It was so natural, so lovely, to have God and His Words to me remain when so many other things have changed.
4) I prayed. Again… not a new thing for me. But this time… you got it… different. My kids had quite a bit of anxiety about their summer and since my own anxiety nearly swallows me whole, what could I do but grab their hands and pray out loud and trust God to make it ok? There’s this thing about praying something in front of your kids. You kind of have to mean it or else what would that teach them? So I did it. I threw myself and my darling children on the mercy, the vast and amazing mercy, of God. I gave up control. I didn’t know whether He would resolve the anxiety producing situations or whether He would give us extra guts and grace to handle them, but I squeezed my eyes shut and jumped into trust. I had to do it for my kids. I had to do it because I’M a kid. Whatever… it worked.
This is hardly a 12 step or anything. It’s actually only one-third of a 12 step. (See what I did there? I can do math since I’m a homeschool mom now.) Heh. What I’m saying is I don’t mean this to be a formula or anything preachy like that. It’s simply the real nitty gritty of what got me through one of my most anxiety producing events with WAAAAYYYYY less anxiety than I’ve felt in past years. This is me, being real with you, about what a sincere but imperfect Christian girl does to try to cope with her dark and scary emotions. No pie-in-the-sky here. Nothing lofty or super spiritual fakety fake. Just me stumblin’ and bumblin’ and grateful for any progress I can make.
So what do you think? What keeps you out of your pits?