Lately, I have felt like I have been in a rut. After a month of travelling and busyness, it was hard to adjust back to my pre-October schedule. What had been working well the past few months just wasn’t working anymore, and I had to do that scary changing-up-my-routine thing.
I thrive on having my weeks planned out well in advance — down to every hour what I am doing and for how long. I even include things I couldn’t possibly forget (like feeding my pets), but it gives me a sense of calm and control when I see that I have a specific time allotted to that action.
My original schedule involved beginning writing as soon as I got up and leaving everything else until after lunch. This past week it became evident that that wasn’t working anymore. I got burnt out so quickly. I lacked energy to do anything after lunch. And I felt tired and moody all the time. So, I decided to try something different: after breakfast I have been spending an hour practicing music (guitar and harmonica), an hour doing yoga and having my Jesus time, a bit of time putting myself together for the day, and then I began writing (usually late morning). This was scary at first because writing has been my priority for quite sometime, and I was worried that moving it later in the day would kill my spark. The opposite thing happened though. My energy levels went up; my creative juices were flowing; and I felt more balanced mind, body, and spirit.
I suppose I am sharing all of this to say that if you feel discouraged, unmotivated, or just off-kilter in whatever shape that might take for you, consider flipping your schedule around. I realize that I have more freedom than most in choosing how to order my day, but there are little ways to sneak more positive, creative light into your life.
And if you do have a mental illness, this can be one of the hardest things to do: to create a sense of order when every day can present new challenges. Sometimes I go to sleep at night feeling so anxious just because I have no idea what my mental state will be in the morning. Knowing, however, that I have a flexible plan (and one that takes into account time for both work and play) gives me some necessary grounding.
And the whole flexible plan bit requires me to more fully acknowledge God’s sovereignty and surrender completely to his will for my life.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
If you have a story about mental illness—whether personal or concerning a loved one—please consider sharing your experience. Even if you aren’t at a place yet where you feel comfortable disclosing your name, the church body needs your voice. Let’s shine a light on the darkness, together.