This past week was rough for some reason. I found myself reacting to things purely out of emotion, being overly critical, and worrying way too much. I’m pretty sure that when my sweet husband mentioned he was missing a vitamin from his nightly routine, I took it personally, threw the TV remotes in frustration, went and got the pill, and then started to cry. His follow up question was definitely warranted. “Are we really crying over vitamins?” Even though I realized the ridiculousness of the whole situation, I had to answer yes, but admit I had no idea why.
Part of what I’ve learned through working with Celebrate Recovery is the importance of facing my feelings head on and dissecting them down to the root. Sounds simple enough. But so often, it is just easier to ignore it. So I started looking back to see what might have started this journey and discovered a few things.
The first issue I found was my attitude about work. It had been a week of not feeling a lot of purpose, feeling like I wasn’t needed. So I had to evaluate if I was finding worth or identity in my work, instead of my Savior. I had to think about why it was so important that I feel needed…was it pride? Yep, I found one area that needed some work!
Next, God laid it on my heart that I hadn’t been prioritizing my time with Him. I had been promising Him over and over again that I would carve out some time to really get into His Word. But somehow life and laziness just kept getting in the way. So not only was I placing my hope in something that wouldn’t fulfill, but I had weakened my spiritual defenses.
Then I realized another factor, one that was a little bit more tangible. It has been proven that proven that lack of sunshine can have an effect on your brain. Phycologists have a name for it- “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. Now, I’m not diagnosing myself with a disorder or anything, because I know this can be a much more formidable hurdle for many people. But I can testify that that there is some truth to the weather and sun can have an effect on your brain.
I think I always knew this, but it showed up a lot in our first year of marriage. My husband hates overhead lights- he would rather turn on 4 lamps than use overhead lighting. And I’m the kind of person that likes a lot of light…always leaving as many as possible on. One of the first fall/winter seasons that we were married, I was experiencing one of these slumps. I finally looked at Brandon in frustration and said “Why is it always so dark?”. So we found a happy compromise. We added a lamp or two more to each room and changed all the bulbs to ones that produced more sunlight-like light.
Last week happened to be the week before time “fell back”. I was spending my hour long morning commute in the dark, waiting for the sun to come up around 8. At work, I sit in a cube that isn’t near a window. Then, to top it all off, the forecast had been primarily overcast. Even though I’d been doubling up on my vitamin D in preparation for winter, I still needed some sun.
Now, I’m not saying that I did this self-examination and everything instantly resolved itself. Even today I’m fighting it, but at least I know what I’m fighting. So, I’m fighting smarter not harder. I downloaded a couple of apps that take away any excuse for skipping time with my Jesus. So even if I miss that deeper study in the morning, I’m still able to connect with Him on the go.*
I try to shift my thinking to see the bigger picture, looking to something bigger than me, my work, or my family to find validation. We sang a song in revival service this week that really helped me with that refocus. One of verses says:
“Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sing and bear my shame.
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven.
The King of Kings calls me His own.
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever,
Jesus Christ, my living hope.”*
This is where my self-worth and validation are found…the King of Kings calls me His own!
As for sunshine. God knows and cares about the small details of my life, including my brain not wanting to make serotonin because it’s been too cloudy. So when one of those days that had been nothing but cloud cover ended in this magnificent sunset, it was as if God seemed to say “I love you, and even when you can see only clouds in the moment, the sun is still there.”
Update: He did bring the sun back, and I enjoyed an absolutely beautiful Saturday, full of sun and picturesque fall colors. This week, however is gloomy again. Good thing I snapped that picture as reassurance that it will come back yet again!
She Reads Truth– A great app with perfectly sized devotions on all different subjects. An e-version of the entire Bible and some great clipart is also included. The free version offers a daily devotion. The monthly subscription is only $1.99 a month, and opens up a lot of different studies that you can do. Definitely worth the cost. And, I believe there is a He Reads Truth version as well!
Verse-a-Day– A simple app that provides a verse a day followed by a simple thought or prayer. You can set a custom reminder to make sure you don’t miss it. I set mine for 5:30 in the morning so that my phone is reminding me first thing as I get up.
“Living Hope” by Phil Wickham