"Seasons" Part I: When You Feel Stressed

(Originally posted on November 9, 2019 as a #saturdaydevotion post on Faith & Family First Facebook Page.)

The trees are finally changing in Texas, heralding the Fall season.  It reminds me of the “seasons” passage in Ecclesiastes 3 where it says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Lately I’ve been finding myself in a trying season.  That of a working mom with littles.  I feel like my days are filled with caregiving, work, housework, more caregiving, and then the cycle repeats itself day after day after day.

“Adulting” and parenting is hard, and I crave for a vacation from it sometimes.  I long for the days where I can do what I want and spend my time the way I want and not on what my kids want or need.  I feel selfish thinking that, but I’m only human, and it is what it is.

But this is my season.  And even though it may feel exhausting at times, at the end of the day (and throughout the day), I try to focus on my blessings and to focus not on my own happiness and my own desires but on what God wants from me and for me.  I firmly believe He works for the good in all things and that “He makes everything beautiful in its time”.

When I focus on my blessings and focus on how I can give God glory (and to bless others and my family for His glory), I start feeling thankful and blessed, and the overwhelming feelings fade away… even if it’s just enough to get through to the next day.  So that’s how I’ve been trying to cope, especially on the difficult days.

AND YET, this morning I read Ecclesiastes again, and the last bit of it struck me– a new concept I hadn’t really thought of before.  It says, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

To find satisfaction in all their toil.  To be happy.  Not just thankful but HAPPY.  And this is a gift of God!

As a social worker, I’ve always known about the importance of self-care, but I’ve never really viewed it as a “gift from God” until now.  This verse helps to give me that little bit of freedom and “permission” for self-care and to know that God wants me to feel happy and fulfilled.

It’s ok to crave and seek out “me time”.  It’s ok to take a day off from work and rest.  It’s ok to grab dinner with a friend. It’s ok to say “no” and to take on less commitments.

It’s all about balance.  Just like the seasons change throughout the year, letting old leaves fall so that new refreshed ones may emerge, our lives need seasons of rest and renewal, even on a daily basis.

So if you’re finding yourself in a trying season, whatever season that may be, I encourage you to not only focus on your blessings and to focus on glorifying God in the midst of your season, I also encourage you to find little ways (even if it’s just a few minutes a day) to feel satisfied, rested, and renewed, because God wants that for us too.  It’s not selfish.  It is God’s GIFT to us.  Seek it.  Accept it.  And maybe the “toil” of your season will become a little bit lighter.

(Added two weeks later, when my stress and exhaustion turned into depression…)

I would also like to add however, that the above message does not intend to “gloss over” trials.  Not at all.

Trials are hard– some harder than others.  And there are times when we’re in the midst of our trials that we don’t feel like counting our blessings or bringing ourselves to thoughts of thanksgiving and praise.

I get it.  I’ve been there.  Many times.  And to be completely honest, I’ve been there recently.

If you find yourself in a similar season, a darker season where maybe you feel like you’ve fallen into a pit of despair and depression, please keep reading on to “Seasons” Part II: When You Feel Depressed

Please know you are not alone.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  But even so, I recognize that your tunnel may be long, dark, and lonely.  God recognizes it too— and He’s right there with you, even if you can’t see Him.

Amy

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