Sometimes the really important work in life doesn’t feel very important when you’re in the midst of it.
Instead, it feels hard, looks quite unimpressive and would be easier to just dismiss. Because of this, I often find myself wanting to move on to things that look or seem more important. I want to work on the seen things. Our minds are trained to believe that if nobody sees the quiet, hard work, then does it really matter? In a world that glorifies what it sees, or what is posted on FB or Instagram, often it’s the small personal areas of our mind, heart & soul that we neglect.
To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a “blah” season of life lately. Nothing particularly awful, but just a lot of normal crap. You know what I mean. Life is like that sometimes. But what I’ve noticed is that when I feel like this, it’s easier for my mind to wander. I am more prone to comparison, a tad more easily offended and just overall, a less fun person to be around.
But being that you don’t actually live in my mind with me, (go ahead and say a quick “Hallelujah” right now) I can easily present a fairly put together package on the outside while inside, my thoughts are leading me astray.
Chances are, you’ve experienced this yourself at one time or another. From the conversations I’ve had over the years with countless women, it seems to be something that we females struggle with quite a bit.
What I’ve discovered over the years is that although there isn’t a whole lot I can do to stop these crazy thoughts and feelings from sneaking in, there are things I can do to stop them in their tracks. Just because they come, doesn’t mean I have to invite them to stay.
Here are a few things I do that have really helped improve my odds of staying “sane” through the blah feelings that inevitably come. They are unseen things. But they are important and worthwhile things.
1. Choose to believe the best.
Choose to believe the best about whoever it is that is racing around in that head of yours. Sometimes this is easier said than done. But so often, the inner dialogue of our mind can take on a persona all its own, and if we’re not careful, we can actually find ourselves making up stuff that didn’t even happen. We can rehearse things so many times in our mind that we actually invent conversations that never even took place. We take on offenses that were never intended for us. Not that I’ve ever done something like this of course, but I’ve heard it can happen. It’s like playing the old game telephone. We start out with something benign and up with something cancerous.
But listen, it’s our choice. We get to decide if we will choose to believe what our feelings are screaming at us in the moment, or if we will choose to believe the best about the situation or the person in question. I’d rather choose to believe the best about someone and risk being wrong. If I am wrong, it hasn’t done me any harm and ultimately says more about the other person than it does me.
In my worst moments, when insecurity meets with isolation, I have thought straight up crazy thoughts. I once thought one of my very best friends didn’t even like me. We laugh now, because of course after I broke out of my fog I could see how ridiculous it was. But in that moment, in the midst of all my feelings, it felt very real.
Feelings come & feelings go. In moments where you’re high on all the feels, make the conscious decision to stop your downward spiral and choose to believe the best.
2. Make a move, shift your focus.
When you’re feeling blah, and your mind has too much time on its hands, sometimes the best thing to do is to make a physical change. Whether that’s going from the couch to the laundry room or taking a walk outside, move your body and shift your focus.
For me, a lot of times it helps to do a task. I’ll throw a load of laundry in or clean the bathroom, something that kind of takes my mind off of things for a while. If it’s nice outside, there’s nothing like a long walk or a short run to clear my mind. Sometimes, if I’m really in my head, I will turn on music to help drown out all the crazy. A 5-minute dance party with music blaring and all my signature dance moves done in the privacy of my own living room has been known to cure a lot of the crazies. But whatever you choose, it’s a shift of focus off of yourself and onto something else for a while. It can help clear your mind and give clarity to the situation. Sometimes a shift of focus is all we need to help shift our perspective.
3. Empty out, Fill up.
You’ve heard the saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” Well, it’s true. But the opposite of this is also true. “Good stuff in, good stuff out.” You can find this truth in Scripture. Luke 6:45 says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (NIV)
When my mind has jumped ship and my emotions have me feeling like I’m in a downward spiral ready to burst into flames upon entry, the thing I most need is the very essence of who Jesus is: grace & truth. I need both His grace to comfort me and His truth to guide me. And I get both of these as I read His word.
I can’t tell you how often His word has healed my troubled mind. A prayer of surrender (empty out) and reading the Bible (fill up) has saved me from my crazy thoughts a thousand times and more. Time spent in prayer, studying His word or listening to worship music are all great tools to get our hearts and minds back on the right track. There have been times when I have noticed a shift in the atmosphere of my home due to the worship music playing in the background. Never underestimate the power of inviting God’s presence into your space.
As life would have it, I’ve had to put these into practice myself while writing this post. And to be honest, it wasn’t easy. I struggled. (But hey, I did get a four mile run out of it!) There are going to be times when we have to actively fight against the thoughts and lies that come our way. And although it often goes unnoticed by others, it never goes unnoticed by our God. He knows us and he understands us better than we do ourselves. And I believe He values the unseen, difficult things we do. Perhaps even more so, at times, than the things we do that are visible to others.
If you’re going through something hard, if it seems like the work you’re putting into it is going unnoticed, believe today that God sees. He cares about your situation and He values the time and work put into the difficult, unseen areas and seasons of our lives. Remind yourself again today of His love and His faithfulness towards you. Psalm 26:3 “For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” (NIV) Let’s live our lives relying on the faithfulness of our God.
*I’d love to hear your thoughts on what has helped you when you find yourself in that “crazy” space that we all find ourselves in from time to time. Comment below!