Unbury

Yesterday we started our conversation about feeling overwhelmed. Today we are going to address the first definition of the word: 1. To bury or drown beneath a huge mass.

When I admit to feeling overwhelmed by my life, I am essentially saying that I am living in a grave. The weight of the dirt changes in various seasons of life, but chances are, you know what I’m talking about.

I don’t think we are supposed to feel this way. I know we’re not supposed to live this way.

Did you know that unbury is a word? I’ve never used it before. It means to remove (something) from under the ground. Friday morning I felt as though I finally came above ground. My to do list was just as long as it had been on Thursday. The items that had brought me to tears on Wednesday night still needed to be tackled. So what changed?

I learned some simple steps to getting unburied.

Step #1. Talk to yourself!

My pastor quoted D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Sunday. This is a good one.

jones

We spend so much time listening to our worries and fears. I how tempting it can be to dwell on your problems the moment your eyes open in the morning. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is suggesting that we instead start the day by dwelling on our joys.

 

Step #2. Claim truth!

On Friday morning I woke up, poured my cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table. Even though I wanted to rush to shower or jump straight into my never-ending task list, I instead pulled out my Bible and journal. My daughter rocked contentedly in her chair (for a brief moment!) and I started by reciting the verse that kept coming to mind.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2, NKJV)

I could feel those items on my list wanting to bury me, so I started saying the verse aloud. Over and over I repeated those words from Psalm 61 until I began to picture myself being led to a higher rock. I needed a visual picture. This time last year we were visiting Ireland. Gorgeous, green, the island was a perfect break from the desert heat. We spent many days hiking in craggy rocks. Those rocks are what I pictured on Friday morning.

 

rocks

 

Step #3. Admit your feelings in prayer.

I knew what was making me feel overwhelmed, so I listed everything out in my journal. Then, one by one, I listed everything in prayer.

Lord, I cannot write all of these posts without you. Lead me to the rock that is higher …

Lord, I cannot figure out how to balance all of my roles right now. Please lead me to the rock that is higher …

Father, I don’t know how to make this decision. Lead me to the rock that is higher …

With each prayer spoken it felt as though layers of dirt were being pulled off of me. The burden was lighter every time I admitted I did not have the answer, the stamina, or the wisdom to face this day.

 

Step #4. Focus on this day.

The moment I let my brain dive into everything I have to do in October, the overwhelmed spiral would begin again. One of my favorite verses, 1 Timothy 1:12, says … “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 

God is faithful to give me the strength for right now. Don’t let the worries of tomorrow affect your mindset today. Remind yourself that God is able to guard what you entrust to Him today.

 

Step #5. Get vulnerable.

Wednesday night our small group convened at our house. We all went around the room sharing our stories from the summer. We hadn’t convened since early June and a lot of life change has taken place. When it was my turn I started crying. Gah. Not my favorite thing to do. I used the key word: overwhelmed. I tried to convey that I am so thankful, blessed, and grateful for this season of life, but that I just don’t know how to structure my days so that I can be both mom, wife, blogger, friend, and now author.

Had I not shared on Wednesday night, I would not have received the texts, e-mails, and phone calls that so encouraged me on Friday. The Lord knew exactly when to send in reinforcements. When we are willing to get real, others respond in turn.

So that’s the short initial list that has been guiding my new outlook. Instead of letting myself get buried by emotions and fears, I’m choosing to be active in my unburial. Who knows if that’s a word?

 

Following and learning,

Ginger

Beat Up Playlist

Here’s what you will find if you break into my journal entry for this past Monday morning:

“The overwhelmed feeling is starting to creep in! Full weekends, garage sale, wedding activities, preparation for speaking engagements, preparation for travel, blog posts, volunteer opportunities, youth ministry, friendships, registry, baby stuff. My plate feels full. Lot’s of good things, but that voice in my head wants to tell me this is too much and I should quit while I’m ahead.”

I took a break from journaling and started reading… but that didn’t last long. Soon I was back to journaling.

“Lord – I find myself dwelling on the things I am anxious about. Teach me to have a joyful heart in all of this.”

Step #1 was to admit my anxiety and recognize it wasn’t a place to dwell. I was letting my self-talk run negative and the cycle wasn’t breaking simply by dwelling on it. But step #2 was also within my grasp. Here’s what I tried next.

I wrote ANXIOUS HEART in my journal. Below it I listed every little thing that could keep me up at night or keep me on edge. I wrote out everything the little voice inside of me continued to throw in my face. But then I made another list.

I wrote JOYFUL HEART on the opposite side of the page and made my list of thanks. There were twenty-five items before I even stopped to think what else I could add. Before I knew it, I felt my entire mood shifting, my body relaxing, and my outlook changing.

glass

Yesterday I quoted Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Here’s a refresher:

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.”

Our thought-lives play such a huge role in our every day lives! No one else may ever know what runs through our minds each day, but we know… and it probably is less that kind and less than beneficial. In fact, I often beat myself up with my own words. And when I beat myself I end up feeling defeated and lonely. When I worry I feel out of control and frustrated.

“Worry is fixating on or meditating on what if rather than what is. Our English word worry comes from the Old English wyrgan and the Old High German wurgen. Both mean “to strangle.” When we worry, we choke out the life-giving truth that should be filling our thought closets.” – Jennifer Rothschild, “Me, Myself, & Lies”

The words we listen to become the soundtrack of our lives. I can play my beat up playlist if I want, or I can switch to meditating on giving thanks for God’s wonders and God’s Word.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

If your thoughts today are less than pleasing, can I encourage you to hit the pause button? Play a different track. List your many blessings, call a friend, write a letter, get outside, open up the Word, and start meditating on the WHAT IS rather than the WHAT IF.

More tomorrow…

Following and learning,
Ginger

Self Talk

Fall

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you.

Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This. This is where we are headed this week. Start asking yourself who does the talking in your world.

Following,
Ginger