Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you feel like you should be doing so much more than you feel physically and emotionally capable of executing?
The last month or so I have been sitting in a place that feels very unfamiliar to me. I am enveloped by an eerie stillness, such as one after a catastrophic storm. My normal desires to be ever moving, producing, and creating have eluded me. I have felt a loss of not only resolved determination but of even of my desire to be determined. I feel like my fire has fizzled and gone out. My days have been filled with reading, listening to books, playing time-sucking games on my phone, and binge-watching movies and TV shows. I have felt lazy, unproductive, and guilty, oh so guilty.
I have wanted to be productive. I have wanted to have my normal energy. Mostly, I have not wanted to be idle and disappoint my God. And yet, I would make my lists and find myself only able to complete the most necessary tasks before running out of steam and giving into the stillness again. I have had conversations with myself and with my husband where I have admitted my frustration with myself, pointing out that there is really nothing big happening in my life right now that would give me an excuse or a reason for feeling so worn out. Then this week…the weeping. I am the first to admit that I am a “cryer” by nature. I cry when I am frustrated, hurt, or afraid. I also cry when I am happy, inspired, and feeling blessed. But it has been a long time since I have wept the way I have this week and I have not been able to put my finger on the “why” for the tears.
Finally, I got vulnerable and shared my feelings of apathy and guilt with a couple of my friends, sisters of my soul. The conversation that followed created a crack in the confused feelings about my situation. These beautiful women who love me reminded me that there are seasons to life and that we can only run so long before rest is needed. I spent the remainder of that day thinking about that, as I sat listlessly in my nest of passivity.
The next day as I continued to wrestle the idea of rest, against my great desire to just shake it off and be me again, I came across an invitation for a three-day webinar called Rise of the Queen. I felt a desire to be a part of it. I thought it might be just the thing to “snap me out of my despondency.” I could not have guessed the real lessons and awareness that the next three days would bring.
On day one, we were given a worksheet with a “broken vase” printed on it. We were asked to mentally go through the timeline of our lives and write down every situation that we felt had broken us. As I began to write, I noticed that the majority of my brokenness had not come in my childhood as many others shared, but from disappointments in my adult life. Then I realized that the grand majority of those experiences had come over the last two years. I had not, until that writing exercise realized just how much stress, disappointment, pain, and overwhelm I had experienced in so short a time. The tears really began to flow as I connected the idea of necessary rest to the realization of just what a battle I have been engaged in emotionally over the last 24 months or so. I was struck with an awareness of just how worn out my mind and body are and how much they really do need rest. A thought came to my heart that God is completely aware of all I have been through and that I need to show myself more grace, more self-compassion.
I then had the opportunity to process these insights with another friend who felt a need to reach out to me through a phone call. She listened to me, validated my feelings and reminded me that we both know who I am. I am a woman of action, one who loves connection, and a creator. I cannot and will not stay in this place forever, and yet, it is a space I need to patiently allow myself to sit in for a time. It is a space of necessary rest and recovery. My friend also reminded me that I will not be able to set a date for my “return to normal,” but rather I will need to understand the value of small steps, of building back up, of not overwhelming myself by setting unfair expectations on my healing and rising up again.
Our day two lesson in my webinar went over the difference between a princess mentality and a queen mentality. Essentially a princess is a victim, one who is reactive and waits for others to rescue and define her. A queen is proactive and the creator of her own experience. She knows who she is, owns her space, and creates healthy boundaries in a desire to help those around her. I spent some time evaluating my current situation through the lenses of these two mentalities. I carefully weighed myself in the balance to determine if I was sulking or truly resting. Then I took these feelings to the Lord in prayer. I was so relieved to feel a confirmation that over the course of my life, though I have definitely had my princess moments, I have learned the importance of stepping into my queen shoes, setting my crown securely, and then rising up again. I was comforted to feel that I have not reverted to a princess moment but rather a moment to be still and be healed.
Today as we wrapped up the webinar, I sat with my feelings again, taking a different colored pen to write on my broken vase all of the characteristics and learning I have taken away from each breaking experience. A feeling of peace settled on my heart as I watched the ink become solid evidence that I already have within me the knowledge of how to step into the light, rise up and take my place when the time is right, but that God has consecrated this time in my life for rest and rejuvenation. I don’t know how long I will be here, but I know that it won’t be forever and I know that I will KNOW when I have been made whole and am ready to rise up for my next battle with life.
I am a huge proponent of needing to go through the grief process with each loss we experience, not just death but any loss that is felt deeply. I have never quite felt the process in this way and I am becoming more and more aware of how each experience with grief will look different. No two people are the same and no two experiences will feel the same. I am so grateful for the things I have learned this last week about grief, healing, the need for time, rest, and self-compassion. I hope that you too will be patient with yourself and with the process of learning through the battle that is life. Remember that there will be times that come where rest is needed before you can rise up again.
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Rest in Me by Derri Daugherty & Ellie Bannister
A Little Help for Little Friends:
Two of my favorite royal sets (browse my Etsy shop for other fun princess sets including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Princess and the Pea, and Twelve Dancing Princesses):