Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cry, Pray, Breathe, Rest...Repeat

Earlier this week I was filling out an application that applied mainly to my health, both physical and mental. It discussed my history in both and it brought up the topic of stress and anxiety. It asked me, "How do you cope with stress or anxiety?" I was sitting there with my sister and I literally laughed out loud. 
I said to her "I don't know. What do I do?"
Um, foot massage, back massage, long warm candlelit baths, nights out with the girls? None of that. As relaxing and wonderful those things are, those usually aren't my go to methods of coping with stress. Like ever. My bathroom/bathtub is anything but relaxing. If anything, sitting in my tub would cause me more stress as I looked around at how badly it needed to be gutted. Massages I love. My husband gives them to me, often. But it's usually because a certain area of my body is aching. I think the last time I payed for a massage was maybe 3 years ago. To come up with the money to get a massage, again, has the tendency to cause me more stress than I need. And although I do enjoy an occasional night out with the girls, and I love my girls dearly and I love to laugh... it's not my coping method for life or anything.

Then today a friend of mine posted an article on facebook, 
I'm pretty sure I actually blushed as I read this. I know that, again I laughed out loud. Not because I'm embarrassed about being a control freak. But I'm embarrassed that it made me sound like I don't care about anything. People, Life, Work, Kids, Money...meh...  I think I maybe qualified for 1-2 things on this list and it made me think, what do I do when I'm stressed out? What do I do when I feel like I can't control things in my life? Nothing.
Writing this sounds a little weird to me, given the fact that a few years ago, my doctor "described" and "prescribed" me as obsessive/compulsive. But I know for a fact where that derived from and it was completely unlike me. I keep my house moderately clean (as clean as possible usually) but if I can't, I can't. I don't stress about it. I pay my bills, but if for whatever reason we have no money, it is what it is. Phones will get turned off. So what? I will turn them back on when we have money. I have work to be done, but I work better when I'm on a time crunch so most times I wait until the last minute. I don't have my life mapped out. I don't have lists.
And a few years ago, I learn to let go of that "control" issue that I had.

Ten years ago, before I had kids I had a lot of responsibility, thus things I had to control on some level.  I was the coordinator of our youth ministry. I am a pastors daughter, so there is some level of "stepping up to the plate" I felt (and feel) is necessary and appreciated at church. We owned a house. 
We had an insane amount of  debt...
and the only thing that still stands today in that list is that I am still a Pastors daughter.
We had to sell our house, I lost my job, my husband lost our health insurance, our bills plus the loss of money got us in over our head, but it taught me one major thing and that was that we are still standing. I have a family of five and although times have been hard. There have been meals of macaroni and cheese or cereal or less on days, we are still alive. There have been unpaid bills. There has been tons and tons of paperwork requesting help financially, medically, etc. It has been humbling to say the least.
But God has always provided and we are still blessed.
Before that, we never imagined that life how we knew it would crumble. I don't think anyone does.
But when it seemed like our little 'white picket fence' life fell apart, I learned that God has yet to let us down. Maybe that sounds weird to say, seeing that it felt like we lost everything. But we had each other. Don't get me wrong. I cried and cried and cried over the years. I cried the times we were told we wouldnt get a paycheck. I cried when we had to sell our house. I cried when we discussed how to handle our insane amount of debt. I cried when I found out my daughter needed $20,000 worth of dental surgery and not only did we not have health insurance, but our current pediatric dentist wouldnt even look at her because we owed them almost $4000. I cried and I cried and I cried. 
I couldn't control life anymore...
 all I could do was cry.
And years later, it's evident that God has not left the throne...we are still standing...and to me that means, everything is ok.

I felt the control issue creep in again a few years ago when I started getting involved in the Women's Ministry at our church. I saw a need and I sort of just stepped in. I didn't place myself in charge or anything, but I did what I could to organize occasional events. I still do... and no one stopped me.
So I just went ahead and did it. When I asked for help with decorating the first year, I called upon one of the young women in our church who does a tremendous job with styling parties and asked for her help. But there was a part of me that wanted to still have 'a say' in what she did. 
And I caught myself...and I took my hands off and stepped back...
I thought, 'You know what, I don't even want to do that. I already have enough to do. God made plenty of people with plenty of talents. The only reason I would be doing that is because of my need to control something I don't even want to control. Just for the sake of being in control.'
Since those hard times and since that moment where I caught myself losing, and trying to gain control again... 
I taught myself ...or rather let God... teach me how to let go of some things.
Just because I was involved in things, doesn't mean I had to control them. Just because things were in my life, didn't mean I even had the ability to control them...and I felt myself let go of trying so hard.
And I felt myself rest.

I kind of joke around inside my head as I watch my kids in their ratty hair, no shoes riding their bikes outside as I'm cleaning the several colors of acrylic paint off the table and I say, 'I guess I'm a hippie. It's all about peace and love, man.'  I'm kidding, but you get what I'm saying. I take care of what needs to be taken care of. My kids do get baths, but it's not every day. My house does get cleaned, but it's not always as clean as I'd like it. My family does get fed, but it's not always steak and chicken and roast...

I let go of stress. I let go of that need to get things done all the time. And alot of times I cry.
I cry. I pray. I breathe...I rest....and then something comes up and I do it all over again. 
I repeat.

Needless to say, when I was filling out my form this week and after I laughed asking my sister, "I don't know what I should say?" I said "I'm just going to write it."
I wrote. I cry. I pray. And I trust in God.


Niki {Glossy Blonde} said...

This made me cry. For all that you've been through, but also happy years for how strong you are and how much faith you have. I have a very hard time letting go, if I'm not in control I feel my world is crumbling. But reading this makes me feel stronger. It's those bonds that we form - our husbands and families - and God, of course, that are the glue that hold us together. Thank you for sharing your story.

Niki {Glossy Blonde} said...

Reading this made me cry. It made me cry for what you've been through, but also happy tears for the strength and the faith that you have. I have a lot of trouble letting go, and in situations where I don't have control I feel my world is crumbling. But reading this helps me to realize that it's ok - I don't have to be in control all the time. Our husbands, our families, and God are the glue that hold us together. Thank you for sharing your story.

Joy Foucault said...

Oh my God, for real ( not in a swear way) this is my life Julie! For real! In the last year I have lost just about everything except my faith in God. It's the only thing I have left next to my husband and kids. I am crying with you right now because there are so many similarities to our lives right now. I'll pray for you sweet sister in Christ.

Kristine@thefoleyfam said...

Tears for you friend. For your struggles but mostly your happy times! Your faith inspires me, and to your hippie comment Hippie On!!! I can totally relate to your cycle of cry. Pray. Breath. Rest. I think the more I accept the uncontrollable the better for me :) Love you and your heart. Mean it.

Kristine@thefoleyfam said...

I don't see my comment!!!! Waaah!!!!

Kristine@thefoleyfam said...

Whomp there it is! ;)

TicoTina said...

once again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I identify with this so much - this eclectic mixture of letting go and not stressing about things like the housework and kids bathing, but yet still struggling with random bouts of the instinct to try to control rising up... it always comes down to one of two things - fear or pride... ugly little boogers.

Jessica Jean-Marie said...

Yes. I can relate to the way you cope, because I'm the same. I have yet to get to the point where I give over all control (God is still working with me on that one!) but little by little, day by day, I feel myself letting go a bit more.

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

touching, precious little face on your girl. Live is so hard sometimes! So glad you have always felt God take care of you.

Brooke Arceneaux said...

I remember this post! I remember the comments!
Thank you for sharing again, Julie. This is always relevant.
I'm going to share it forward on FB. Xxo

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