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The Process

The Process

It has been a crazy past two weeks.

June 12th was moving day as well as my incredible husband’s birthday. We packed up a moving truck and toted our home goods from Virginia to East Tennessee. For the next week we set up our home in a one floor, sweet, rental property. Our Labrador Retriever explored the backyard and made friends with the next-door doggies. Monday morning, I began my new job and a week later John started his. We have been going going, seeing friends and family a ton along the way and trying to settle in as well as decompress and process all at once.

I know that you and I have chatted a ton about seasons in our last few conversations. Maybe you are sick and tired of the metaphor, maybe you don’t feel like you are in a season or have ever been in a season. So, I promise, this motif has just about worn me out as well and in an attempt to not beat it to death, I am going to quit while I’m ahead. However, I do want to note on transition real quick… and maybe utilize this metaphor just once more, bear with me.

I think that a lot of times we don’t leave room for transition and all that it holds. We skip over the decompressing and processing part and just dive right into whatever is next.

To be honest, John and I were really looking forward to being intentional with these details of transition. However, once we entered into the new “phase” or what have you, we failed to make time or find time. We got so caught up in the whirlwind that moving, new jobs and settings bring that we never sat down and processed. Sitting here, nearly 2 weeks later, I sigh over this mistake and desire to put on the calendar when exactly we are going to sift through all we have been through over the past couple of years.

Have you processed your last chunk of time, wherever you spent it? Have you processed your last 6 months or year? Re-written your goals, identified things that tripped you up, things you did well, things you would like to work on, job, relationship or character aspirations?

Today I want to talk with you about why I believe processing is so important, the dangers of not utilizing this practice and some ways we can achieve this. I want to discuss this with you so that both of us can be inspired and challenged to indulge in this method in the future.

Processing is so important because:

It helps us remember and not take blessings for granted.

We learn so many lessons and God answers so many prayers over the course of a year and we as the fallible humans that we are, tend to forget things as soon as we get them or get through them.

The other day a woman was talking about her granddaughter and said, “she always begs me for a new toy and then when I get it for her, she plays with it for about 15 minutes when we get home and then never picks it up again. Sometimes she even gets tired of it on the drive home!” The woman she was speaking with noted that her daughters first Christmas she spent 8 dollars, and it was the merriest Christmas there ever was. Now there is plenty more to note on here other than just my main point such as consumerism and true value verses perceived value, but we will stick to our main topic for today.

Sometimes we beg and beg God to answer a prayer, give us something, provide in some way. Then He does and we dismiss it as if we were entitled to receive it in the first place! We do this ALL.THE. TIME.

With traveling. How many times do we ask God to get our loved ones from one place to another? Long trips or even just home from work? Then as soon as they walk through the door no praises are offered to God for His goodness and provision. We just go about our evening like we were entitled to spending it with our husband, kids, friends, etc.

I challenge you and myself to log these things. When you ask God for something, even something fringe, write it down and when He answers it, put a star next to it or the date it was answered. Offer up praise to Him. It could be as simple as speaking, “Praise God” when your hubby walks through that door or as lengthy as signing a hymn, blaring that Jesus Music, whatever the Spirit is feeling. Acknowledge God’s goodness and you will recognize it more.

Another thing that my hubby and I have instituted is taking something from the day and time that God answered or came through. Sometimes it’s a literal stone like God asked Joshua to instruct them to do in the book of Joshua chapter 4. Sometimes it is a written remembrance.

We also see in the Bible God instituting feasts as way of remembrance. Today in churches we go to the Lord’s table and take part in communion as a way of remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Whatever you do, whether it’s throwing a party to celebrate God’s goodness, singing, speaking His praise, calling a friend and telling them what God did, posting on social media- remember that we are forgetful people. We should institute a practice of remembering all that God has done for us, given us, and brought us through. Weather it is a feast, a song, a piece of writing, a rock or anything else, I challenge you to put forth effort to remember.

It helps us get the most out of our time.

Have you ever looked back and the past year just looks like a blur? 8,760 hours of… well we don’t know what exactly but we know it happened and it happened fast. What did we accomplish? Learn? Indulge in? Well I couldn’t tell ya exactly but lotsa time passed…

Babe, we can make a lot more of our time if we pay attention to where it is going.

It allows us to evaluate.

Processing allows us to evaluate what we did and what we didn’t.

It’s like watching film for football players or the post-game meeting on any sports team, or the half time talk. Coach tells you what you did well and what you need to work on in the future to get better results.

When is the last time we sat down and asked God what we did well and what we need to work on?

When was the last time we stretched our self-awareness muscles?

When was the last time we sat STILL with the Holy Spirit and asked Him to reveal our weak areas?

It gives us time to mentally decompress and refresh.

If you want a fresh perspective tomorrow, cleaning up the mental clutter today is a great way to get there.

Maybe it’s an overwhelming pile and you feel like you would need hours to work through the top 3 inches let alone the iceberg looming beneath. But girlfriend, we can’t move forward in a truly healthy perspective if we are trying to step around a ton of ignored piles of stuff. And guess what, next time you go to clean up, there will be a smaller mess to deal with.

The dangers of not processing are:

Missing crucial points of a season.

Hind-sight is 20/20 but only if we look back and take note of the things we didn’t get in the moment but that make sense now.

Do not hear me say that we should live in the past and bawl over our regrets for any amount of time. No babe, do not waste time on that.

But taking note of the places where God intervened, where He didn’t give us that ‘yes’ we were begging for because He had something better for us down the road, is life-giving.

Getting mentally cluttered or fried.

Have you ever sat down to pray, read the Word or just sit still and the second your body stops moving you feel your mind still running a million miles an hour?

It’s like getting off a treadmill and your mind hasn’t quite registered that the ground isn’t moving anymore underneath you.

That happens to me like crazy when I have not taken the time to declutter my mind and process events, situations, or even just the everyday hustle. Literally after we moved and I began my new job, I sat down for the first time to meditate, like the Word asks us to do (The book of Psalms chapter 1, verses 1 and 2). The second I closed my eyes and exhaled it was like all the chaos and jumble caught up to me. I had to work really hard to clear away all the smoke and get to a place where my thoughts were clear and peaceful.

Sister, the longer we go without doing this, the more insane it’s going to be in there.

Bonus tip: This will help you sleep a lot better at night too! Have you ever laid down at night and it’s the first time you have been still all day and the noise of your thoughts crashing and speeding around in your brain makes you jolt back up to protect yourself from being run over??? 2 hands raised over here. I actually use to suffer from insomnia. It was during a time in my life in which I was also suffering from depression and anxiety. I could write a whole blog on those hardships but I will absolutely say that taking control of your thought life and being disciplined about how you allow your thoughts to operate has a giant impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Be sober and vigilant (The first letter from Peter, chapter 5, verses 8 through 10).

Feeling bogged down with a lot of information that we have never filed away or decided what to do with.

If you have ever worked at a desk you know it can get real cluttered with papers, notes, stickies, etcetera. My go to for the clutter is to file. I get out my good ole pack of manila folders and get labeling. I love bringing the chaos into order, much like the Intelligent Designer I am created in likeness of.

We can do this with life events, trauma, conversations, memories and the like as well. Have something on your heart? Pray about it, write about it, and ask wisdom from a mentor. Have something you need counsel on? Someone you have things to work out with? Do the same.

Processing these things allows us to deal with them and move on. Many of us have things like this that we have left in a corner of our mind to collect dust and have never dealt with. They weigh on us sometimes for years. Many times, when we finally go over, dust them off and deal with them we leave feeling so much lighter and wonder why we didn’t just, for instance forgive that person 10 years ago! Or go to the doctor or ask that question or seek forgiveness or go to that place.

Sometimes just voicing what we are thinking about is the cure in and of itself! We’ll be like, “Whoa… THAT’S what I was thinking?” Or “that is a lie I have been believing??” Sometimes just hearing ourselves say it out loud is enough to break us free from it.

Whatever it is that weighs on you daily, it doesn’t have to! There are too many resources out there, love, take action! Lose that 20-pound weight you have been carting around on your shoulders.

Lacking in the self-awareness category.

When we don’t evaluate what we did well and did not do well we run the risk of an intervention. You know, where your friend asks you to come over for a “girls night” and you walk into the living room and ALL your girls are there and the friend that walked you in looks at you with glassy eyes and breaks the awkward silence with, “now you know we love you…”?

I have never been a victim of an intervention but I’ve heard the stories. When we do not take it upon ourselves to self-evaluate, we are asking for the people around us to either,

  1. Leave us, out of frustration.
  2. Just deal and let our blind spots silently drive them to insanity. Or
  3. Intervene.

Now it’s always good to get feedback from those who love you enough to tell you when you are wrong or to give you a kick in the booty when you need it. We all need that sometimes. But we shouldn’t need that all the time. We should take time to self-evaluate in order to be self-aware enough to be able to do the usual maintenance and maybe even tackle some of the big heart problems.

And babe, sometimes the things we realize we are struggling with are things we can’t handle on our own. That is OKAY. It doesn’t mean they can’t be handled at all; it just means we may have to utilize some of the many resources out there. Not to mention The Church. The Church is meant to operate in a way in which you can seek counsel, have community and allow others to help you bear your burdens.

 

Okay, I don’t know about you but I for one am ready to go do some serious processing, evaluating, decompressing and… just breathing to be honest.

I know it can be difficult to find time for this, however, I do believe that if we are too busy to be mentally healthy, we are too busy.

I’m praying for you, lovely reader, right now as I write these last few lines. I pray that you will make time to decompress and process. I pray that you will feel God and your church community lift weights off your heart and bear the hardships with you. I pray that you will take the time to press into God and feel Him pull you into refuge and safety. I pray that you are blessed by peace of mind and clarity of thought.

You are beautiful.

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