Let me paint a pictures for you:
Last week I was working on a project that is not related to this blog at all, although it does involve writing, and it took up a ton of my time. Add to that that my kids were home on Fall Break, which meant that I spent a lot of nights up really, really late working on said project.
Fast forward to Sunday. I crawl out of bed at 8:10 am. I have to leave for church at 8:40. I haven’t showered since Friday afternoon. I walk into the kitchen to find my kids watching TV (yes, parents of little ones, there comes an age where they let you sleep in), and they inform me that we have nothing to eat for breakfast. I investigate, and confirm they are correct.
Everything within me wanted to go back to bed, or join them on the couch, and skip church that day. This post is not about whether or not you should go to church, so if you’re worrying about that, I need you to hang with me.
I went to church, because the truth was I didn’t really have a good reason not to go. My level of exhaustion? I did that to myself. So I sprayed about half a can of dry shampoo all over my hair, pulled on some clothes, glanced at the clock and realized I had time to do one more thing. So, of course I skipped brushing my teeth, and applying deodorant and put some make-up on instead, because #priorities.
I drove to church thinking that if everyone stayed at a distance, at least I would look fine. The trick is that my husband is a pastor, which means there’s no distance at church on a Sunday. Oh well.
But a funny thing happened. As I talked with people on my way to drop the kids off at Sunday school (which also involved me telling one person I trusted that I was having a rough morning), stood through worship, and listened to the words of the sermon that day, I started to feel better. I looked around, and thought, “I almost missed this, because it seemed easy to isolate when I was exhausted, and overwhelmed, but the truth is this is exactly where I needed to be.”
Sometimes we find ourselves in a phase of life I call “in the weeds.” Life is overwhelming, and we can’t seem to see very far ahead of us. In fact, it feels like we can’t see anything besides our problems that are staring us right in the face. And just like me you might be tempted to hole up when you’re in the weeds. It’s tempting to just curl up in a fetal position and wait for someone to come along with a trimmer, and get rid of those weeds for us. Unfortunately, that’s not how it usually works.
So, what do you do if you find yourself “in the weeds” in life? My number one tip? The thing I learned just yesterday?
Don’t isolate! We’re not meant to go through life alone, and that is never more true than when we are struggling. There are a thousand reasons why we do this, but the truth is that if you find yourself “in the weeds” in your marriage, with your kids, at work, with mental illness issues, with health issues, with addiction issues, etc. you need to wave your hands above your head and say, “I’m stuck in here! Someone help me find my way out!”
Okay, maybe don’t literally do that, but we’re sticking with the metaphor here. Find a friend or mentor you can trust, and ask for help. Or maybe it means showing up at church, or your book club, or that Zumba class to get you out of your own head for a minute. Sometimes it’s just the act of showing up that brings relief.
And by the way? By the time I left church, I didn’t smell the greatest. But my spirit felt lighter, and the rest of my day went better than I imagine it would have if I would’ve give into my urge to hide from the world. Also I did take a shower later that day, which was probably a good thing for the whole family.
What’s your tendency when you find yourself “in the weeds?” Do you isolate? Do you act out? What’s one thing you could do this week to grow a healthier response to this kind of stress? I’d love to hear your thoughts!