“There’s no work so tirin’ as danglin’ about an’ starin’ an’ not rightly knowin’ what you’re goin’ to do next; and keepin’ your face i’ smilin’ order like a grocer o’ market-day for fear people shouldna think you civil enough.” ~George Eliot, Adam Bede
Subtract the nose ring, freckles and visions of mushrooms (?)–an appropriate sketch of “yours truly” for the past three weeks.
Scattered. Unfocused. Irritable. Pale. Cold. Over-reactor. SO, SO TIRED!!
All symptoms of anemia, evident to the nutritionist with one glance at my bloodless pelt.
I wish never to repeat the despondency of last week and was caught off guard by the intensity of what I can only compare with postpartum depression. I’d forgotten! That chapter was over ten years ago.
I had a friend sympathize saying she feels, “Like I am standing on the edge of a cliff and at any moment a gust of wind could send me over the edge.”
What’s worse is when you don’t care how high the cliff sits or when the wind will come.
To any fellow cliff dwellers reading today… you’re not alone! I understand. And if you really don’t feel like reading my 5 lessons (on the cliff you want to tell all lesson givers riding a cloud to “shove it”) then don’t–but DO take the time you need to get well. Which leads me to lesson one…
1) Seek Help
I know there is someone reading who doesn’t feel well but you are dragging your feet on getting the help you need. Fatigue, moodiness and irritability is often blamed on “life” and so when we feel this way our hyperactive mental analysis concludes that we’re worthlessly failing life. How many times have I thought, “Kim, if you would just get yourself together…if you’d just get your priorities right…if you were more disciplined…if you’d stop thinking about yourself and serve others…if you were at all capable you’d be able to handle everything…yada yada yada. But when your blood levels are off, they’re off. When you are vitamin deficient, you’re deficient. When hormones are whacked, they’re whacked!
Sure–there are plenty of cases where the above “if only’s” could solve much of our selfish emotions, but there are also plenty of cases where a supplement (could be as simple as iron) might make all the difference in the world!
2) Your Health Matters to Someone Other Than You
“When momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” Kind of sad, but true!
Do you long to be an effective mom and wife? Is that really important to you?
Then make sure there is a “you” to do the job well!
On my worse days before getting my butt into the nutritionist, there were hours when I could not lift my body from bed. I would have slept the days away. It was really interesting to me, however, that the ONE thing that would get my head off the pillow were grumbling stomachs coming from my three children. I wasn’t good for much, but there was something animalistic that made sure my kids were fed.
How sad though if that was all I provided on a regular basis. Children need so much more physical nourishment! They need the calories of time, attention, love and support. My oldest needed mom in abundance this weekend because of a trial he’s going through. Thank the Lord I was cracking the door toward “normal” when he needed hours of my undistracted focus and advice into the late hours of Saturday and Sunday. If I hadn’t taken the time to get the help I needed six days ago I would’ve chose bedtime over son time.
3) Do 5 “Musts” and Say No to the Rest
Life doesn’t stop when you have anemia, the blues, a cold or any other source of physical or emotional frustration, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep up the same pace. Trying to be everything to everyone is probably what got you into that condition in the first place.
As hard as it felt (had a few days where I was lucky enough to get dressed), I made myself determine the top 5 absolute musts that needed to get done that day, otherwise I said, “no.”
No isn’t a word I like too much.
I’ve had to say it more in the last year than in the last ten combined. But I was comforted by a friend in church who randomly came up to me and said she felt led to bring back a word for me from a Beth Moore conference she just attended. God gave her two messages for me. The first one, “don’t give up” (lesson 5) and the second, “learn the art of no.” Beth Moore explained that for her she has time for her family and her ministry–there isn’t much left over and unfortunately she has had friendships suffer.
What God has called us to do, we must do! In the end we only answer to Him.
I’m slowly and painfully trying to embrace this, although it’s difficult. Prior to going into business I was a stay at home mom with discretionary time for coffees, phone calls and play dates. Some people haven’t made the mental transition (including myself) that I am still at home, but I am working from home.
One extra thing on choosing your top five “musts”: One of those choices should be serving someone else. When I didn’t feel like doing anything I still wrote some thank you notes, made a long overdue phone call and helped a friend prepare for a garage sale. Serving others takes our eyes off of self. Just refuse to believe the lie that you must serve the whole world!
4) Avoid Extremes
A different friend offered more advice and had me read Oswald Chambers on April 23rd. This is what has lingered since:
“The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that all the other margins of life, mental, moral, and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child. A worker without this solemn dominant note of concentration on God is apt to get his work on his neck; there is no margin of body, mind or spirit free, consequently he becomes spent out and crushed. There is no freedom, no delight in life; nerves mind and heart are so crushingly burdened that God’s blessing cannot rest.”
Extreme highs and extreme lows in the life of a worker (that’s all of us) are dangerous. Do you work yourself to death and then fall off the cliff, much like I’m guilty of over the past six months? When building a business and trying to simply stay out of the red in the said business checkbook, this can be difficult. But isn’t that taking our eyes…concentration…off God and on the bank statement?
This week (now that have enough energy to even think), my goal is to prayerfully ask God for a working balance. I really need to find that correct and God-directed margin of body, mind and spirit. I want God’s good and perfect blessing to rest squarely in the center of my being. It’s not going to come way up high or down low.
I’m actually going to take my own advice and share lesson #5 in my next blog post! It’s late, my son needed more of my attention in the trial he’s facing and I have put in a full day’s work!
I refuse to end it by trying to conquer the world!
I’d love to hear from any of my anemic friends (or any life limitations for that matter). What lessons have you learned (if your not too tired to share ;)) ?
Phote credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)