“…our way of keeping discomfort at bay…”

“This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5

You know, I try to just “let go and let God.” And when I do, I can breathe. I can relax. When I take back that wheel, I have sleepless nights and an upset stomach. Take last night for example. I could not relax and sleep and finally went to bed about 11:30pm. I was up again at 2:30am, sick to my stomach and in total panic mode. I’d taken a shower earlier in the evening and my face reacted all weird in that I had gotten way over-heated and my face was on fire, and a tad bit swollen. It was like a hot flash on steroids. So when I had the panic attack, I figured it was all related. I know my hormones are not done with me, yet. But I also know that we have been eating junk and it affects my entire system. I need to return to my Whole30 attentiveness! I had expressed my concerns to my husband a day or so earlier, and he had calmly assured me that things were good and to just relax. Ha-Ha. I used to be so cavalier and not a worry-wort. I am not sure when that changed. Maybe when the mantle of responsibility felt firmly ensconced on my motherhood shoulders? Maybe recently when I realized my baby is graduating high school in May and everything has to be completed and turned in for the entire year by then…and I am woefully late on the grades/samples due already? Whenever it was, it is firmly on my shoulders and some days, it weighs so heavily.

“It’s important to recognize that fear does not only manifest itself as heart-pounding, sweat-producing anxiety. There is a quiet fear that can equally dominate our lives. That quiet fear manifests itself as procrastination. Behind every procrastination is an excuse and behind every excuse is a fear we’re not facing. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say that procrastination is our defense against fear, our way of keeping discomfort at bay.” This quote is from an article in Forbes entitled, “Living Fearlessly by Facing Our Fears by Brett Steenbarger.

And you know what? Procrastination has been my mantra lately. “Maybe if I ignore this thing, it will resolve itself or just go away.” Ha-Ha. Never happens. In fact, I have found that facing these things that frighten or intimidate me often give me much-needed peace.

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Getting our affairs in order is something we all need to do. We all need to get organized and have a handle on things. All things. I have boxes I have not opened, nor looked inside, since I boxed them up almost 4 years ago. I know that some of them are still closed because this house is just too small to accommodate my “collections,” but I also know I could probably purge. My office is piles. Literally piles. And that is not my normal operating style. I was known, in the workplace, as the supreme organizer who could take someone’s chaos and bring them order and a smooth workflow. But it’s like that old saying, “The Shoemaker’s son has no shoes.”

I had written awhile ago that I had been in a funk but that I thought I was coming out of it. I think that is true, to an extent. I have worked on a few things – today I cleaned and am sanitizing my dishwasher! How often does that get done? (Uhmm…rarely to never). I cleaned up dog-hair-zombie-dust-bunnies. The dog hair thing really sends me over the edge. Since I now have totally groomed dogs, who are basically naked, I can get on top of the shedding. Ugh. But I desperately need to dive in and purge, organize, and clean my house. And why do I procrastinate? Why do I operate like I have to wait until we’re at “ground zero” or “critical mass” before I tackle these projects? To be honest, I am not sure. But I think it something about that quote from the Forbes article. In that article, he talked about successful people:

“In his book Crisis? Let’s Beat It!, Michael Virardi discusses the results of a study he conducted with 101 successful business people. He found that the vast majority (over 90%) engaged in two behaviors: 1) they made lists to prioritize their work and 2) they spent time each day and week preparing for the next day and week. In other words, the successful businesspeople were anti-procrastinators. They developed routines for facing the future…”

And then he wrote, “Emilia Lahti, writing about Hypponen’s text, argues that facing what we most fear builds our character and gives us strength. In so doing, we expand our mental and emotional reserves and find a second wind of motivation.” (same Forbes article).

Today, I faced those stupid things that woke me at 2:30am. I do feel energized, and far more relaxed. So now, I think I will tackle the actual dust in my house, and maybe conquer some more things on my list. The list that I need to make for today, and for tomorrow. And that is a list that I need to start checking things off of…for my own sanity, and to get ahead of the things I have allowed to slide. It does not reflect well on me, nor my family. I will get a handle on all of it; honest.

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I think our end-goal is to acknowledge and conquer the things of this world that are placed before us, rather than allow them to conquer us. Fear makes us almost immobile at times. Procrastination is not the cure for what is causing us to put things off. Right now, I am slowly coming to terms with that. And with the fact that our lives are finite. We are only given a certain amount of time on this earth, and I firmly believe we only get this one shot at it. So to waste time is to squander something we can never get back. Yes, there are days when we need to unplug, staying in our jammies, and just vegging out for a day. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries. But that should not be our daily “grind.” We need to be useful and productive. The Lord expects us to give this world our best. His best? He gave His life on the Cross. The least…very least….I can do is be attentive to the obligations in this life that I have taken on. Those obligations are my choices in life, and the resulting responsibility I have towards myself and others. It is the very least. And to that, I can add caring for my neighbors (near and far) and a renewed fervor and love of God that I have let slide. Lent is fast approaching. We had best get prepared for that, as well. I am writing my list. Are you?

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“Was that today????”

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Have you ever faced a task that you truly do not want to face? Ugh. My “office” is a disaster. There is barely floor space. I have no idea what happened to me. I am usually organized. Things have fallen by the wayside and I cannot get myself going these days. I have started back on D3, because I know with no sunshine, that is part of it. And we went off our Whole30 regime of clean eating, and I am finding sugar is my enemy. It affects so much of who I am and how I feel. And it is not good.

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I am so blessed to have discovered Whole30 and the amazing group of people online who work tirelessly answering zillions of questions. I once asked my son, “You have google on your phone. Why don’t you look it up for yourself?” He responded, “Because you’re here and you will know this.” Well, so many of us are LAZY. We ask others when we can obtain the information ourselves, with a push of some buttons. “Is this compliant?” is constantly asked, with a photo of a bottle of something or other they are holding up. I mean, come on! In the time it took you to take a photo and show us all how diligent you are about trying to do Whole30, you could have googled it yourself. Who checks Facebook at the grocery store? Not me. I don’t want to use the data! LOL! I print things out; I read the book; I read labels. We can do this ourselves, without constantly checking social media sources. I feel bad for those admins on Whole30 and my other weakness, the Instant Pot. Oh man oh man. I love that appliance!

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It has made my life so much simpler and meals are done so fast! I’m a little obsessed, but that’s another post! Back to hating to do things…my office. Ugh.  I went out and got myself a planner for this year and spent the morning inputting all the birthdays and anniversaries for our family and close friends. I input important dates, like when school samples are due and my youngest son’s graduation date from high school. It seems so weird that I will soon have no one of school age in my home. So weird. All of these “rites of passage” that happen to us each year. This past November, our newest grand daughter was born and it was fun to add her birthdate to this year’s calendar. There are losses, but there are so many blessings along the way.

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I’m not sure why my office looks like it does, or why I have allowed it to become this sort of haven for lost paperwork and stacks of books. It’s like a cave. And heavens to Betsy, if someone moves something or knocks a stack over, I am in deep trouble. My daughter-in-law purged their house and I acquired a new short bookcase and a rolling cart full of colored drawers where I can organize files. I just have to do it. The mattress we had for guests this summer is still folded in the corner, with the clean sheets and blankets on it. But our 15-year-old dog sort of claimed it as a bed during the day because our floor heater is right next to it, and the blankets make it cozy. It is a whopping 9-degrees outside today with freezing fog, so I don’t begrudge him his warm spot.

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The planner in the second photo above is the one I chose. I am not an artsy person, so simple works for me. Stickers and such were bought, too, but I keep planning simple. I like lines to write on and I will add decor and photos as I can. I used to keep a scrap book sort of book calendar when my kids were small. I prefer something that highlights my week, but keeps me on track. So my data is entered and I have had some meaningful conversations, my laundry is waiting to be moved to the dryer so I can wear a clean swimsuit to water aerobics tonight, and…my office still looks like a cave. Tomorrow….at least I sort of started today. Sort of.

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“Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.”  That is pretty much me right now….lol!