This is the mantra in our house to start 2022. It applies to so many facets of our lives: mental health, physical health, family life, work life.
It’s not selfish to care for yourself – especially in this pandemic season. It’s not selfish to jump on the bike or get in a run or do a quick on-demand yoga session or take a mid-morning walk or take 10 minutes to silently pray or read Scripture or do your meditation practice. It’s not selfish to take your anxiety medication every day as prescribed, nor is it selfish to schedule an extra video session with your therapist.
Remember: this is just one season of your life, not its entirety.
You are not a failure because you can’t do it all. More than that, you’re a super hero just for making it to today! You didn’t give up! You didn’t give in! You survived to today!!
As @morganharpernichols recently posted:
“And here you are…
Millions of breaths taken,
You have come so far”
So take care of yourself today.
Know that I continue to pray for you, friends. Every day. Know that God is for you. And more, know that you have what it takes to practice that “long obedience in the same direction.”
A radical resistance to anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness.
You can do this.
No, better yet: WE can do this.
Let’s hang in there for that next moment, that next hour, that next day. And the days will turn to weeks and months and years. And we will still be here, together, and we’ll be able to look back and say, with gratitude, “We did not give up.”
As @mattzhaig writes in The Comfort Book: “Nothing is stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up.
Thought I’d repost this recent post from @charliemackesy – one of my favorite follows on Instagram.
Also, his book “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” – a short book filled with drawings like this – is one of my favorite books of 2021.
Know that I’m praying for you, friends, as we all manage our mental health post-Christmas. Know that you don’t have to have it all together, that God is for you, and that you have what it takes to practice that “long obedience in the same direction.” 🙏🏻
As the negative news around Omicron continues to swell, I thought I would repost this picture from nami.org.
It’s empowering to know there are “things I can control”: my meds, my daily exercise, my moderation in alcohol consumption, my prayer life and meditation practice, my attempt at regular sleep/wake, my reliance on the support of those close to me and my team of doctors, and my continuation of years’ long study about my mental health. And this list of choices – my “long obedience in the same direction” as Eugene Peterson says – is not just for those of us diagnosed with a mental illness; I think these choices are valuable to anyone experiencing tougher mental health realities – which I would say is just about every human being on the planet since this pandemic hit.
That said, it’s also freeing to know there are “things I can’t control.” Terrifying, but also freeing. I can’t control the 24/7 news cycle nor the social media algorithms that prey on outrage nor the latest variant of COVID-19. But, as Barbara Brown Tayler says: “We do not lose control of our lives. What we lose is the illusion that we were ever in control in the first place.” Terrifying, yes, especially for a control freak like me. But also so freeing. There. Are. Things. I. Can’t. Control. A beautiful surrender of “the illusion.”
However, it’s the middle ground between these two that could be the most fascinating: “knowing I am doing everything I can and being at peace with that.” I’m giving my total effort, and, therefore, I am at peace. Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden defined success as the “peace of mind that comes with the self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you were capable of becoming.” I am doing my best to become the best I am capable of becoming. “Peace of mind.” “Self-satisfaction.” Oh, to have peace in this raging mind of mine; to have satisfaction in the self that I am often so brutal towards.
Maybe just take a moment to think on these three things today. Hopefully, it brings a bit of peace to you in these intense times.