Being a depressed, anxious thirty-two year old working through my identity did not make the above list.
But you know what? That's where I am today. I asked God for a year of renewal. He has not disappointed. The last few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of lessons. This list is going to make it seem like I'm complaining. But that's only because I am complaining. Life lessons are hard.
- When you're sick, you need to rest--mothers do not get a free pass on this. In fact, they need to learn how to balance rest with making sure the household keeps running. Sub-lesson: Keeping the household running does not mean keeping the household perfect. That's impossible even if you aren't sick for two weeks, feel better, and then get sick again.
- You're not going to have great passion for everything you do. Please hear this correctly. I am beyond thankful and appreciate my job. It provides the perfect flexibility for not only my family, but for my journey through depression as well. My job helps me contribute financially to our family. However, packing and shipping are never going to be my life's passion. Neither are laundry, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Too bad, those things all need to get done.
- You can't be everything to everyone all at the same time. I can't be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, doula, worker, worship leader, small group attendee, wanna-be blogger, housekeeper, laundress, cook, car-cleaner, reader, learner, decorator, sewer, knitter, gardener, and anything else that tickles my fancy--perfectly, all at the same time. You'd think as a grown woman I'd know this by now. But I don't and I keep on trying all while thinking I will get a different result each time. And yes, I know the definition of that behavior. I'm not denying that label.
- Things that I think I may want, I may not really want. Anyone else fantasize about their blog being 'discovered' and offered a book deal? Getting crazy recognition for your hospitality and having people flock to your farm oasis? Being heard on stage and offered a spot on a worship tour? Spoiler Alert: I'm a lazy, introverted homebody who doesn't like talking to strangers and doesn't adjust well to changes in life.
- My depression is not going to disappear. I can eat the right diet, find the perfect balance between working out and giving my body rest, take all the correct supplements, and run my life with perfect routine and efficiency. I can have days, weeks, or maybe even months of vitality. But some days, regardless of my effort, I'm just going to wake up sad, emotional, unmotivated, in pain, and feeling lost.
Being renewed means I need to leave the old behind to make room for the new.
I have to make room for new priorities, attitudes, and opportunities. I have to take these lessons to heart, and then re-learn them as needed. I have to leave the house messy a bit more often without guilt. I have to give myself permission to be silly with my kids and husband. I need to replace loathing with gratitude.