How I’m Dealing With Stress

Since I still haven’t found the rhythm to our life at our new house, I haven’t been writing or video blogging as consistently as I used to. In a momentary fit of procrastination, I sat down yesterday and recorded a short vlog about a recent epiphany I had regarding the “stresses” in my life. Maybe you can relate.

Oftentimes, when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I think it’s my perspective that’s the problem. Rather than seeing the many blessings in my life, I see to-dos, and obligations, and unmet expectations. Remembering that each thing is truly a blessing has really helped me relax, and rediscover joy in my day-to-day activities.

Hope you all are well! And I really, really hope to find my rhythm again soon. Call me boring, but I sure do love having a routine.

xoxo, mj

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Summer of 7: Jamie Sets Me Right

A “Summer of 7” sister, Jamie, of  Six Bricks High, recently posted some thoughts about “stress week.” She took a much wiser approach than I did, and, like I told her, I WISH I could have read her post before I began “stress week.” Talking about making time to read the bible, Jamie writes

It’s amazing how I have the urge to just get the laundry started and then I’ll sit and read.  Or let me just get the dishwasher unloaded first then I will sit and read.  When I’m spending time on Pinterest I never have those thoughts.

When I’m spending time on Pinterest, I never have those thoughts.

When I’m spending time on Pinterest, I never have those thoughts.

When I’m spending time on Pinterest, I never have those thoughts.

What is wrong with my head, that I check Pinterest borderline obsessively, yet I feel compelled to do every chore in my house before I sit down and read my bible? I know I’m not the only one in this boat, and I am SO grateful to Jamie for holding up a mirror to this particularly bad habit of mine.

Maybe you’re not a Pinterester; do you sometimes find yourself putting off reading because you have “too much else to do,” but still check facebook (etc) compulsively?

With every day that passes, I know that “media week” is going to be very very hard for me. But in a good way. In the way that training for a marathon is hard.

I am both eager, and terrified.

How to Be Joyful When Nothing is Perfect

Dude. Life is so good, isn’t it? I feel like I’m living in the sweet-spot lately, and it’ll be nice, when October rolls around, to look back at days like today and remember that I’m capable of being this joyful. I’d say “happy,” but to me, “happy” is to “joyful,” what “pretty” is to “beautiful,” you know what I mean? And yes, while I am “happy,” more than that, I’m deep-down-in-my-bones joyful, and that’s a whole other thing entirely.

Melissa Jenna and Ellie Godsey

We just got done swimming and were giddy from all the excitement.

Am I saying nothing is wrong or bothering me? Absolutely not. There are plenty of things that aren’t the way they would be “in a perfect world,” and a few situations that I would wave a magic-wand over if I could. (You guys: the first time I typed that sentence, I typed “magic wang.” And then I snickered like a twelve year old boy.) But, and I think this is the trick to “joy” versus “happiness” (if I may be so bold as to claim that I “get” joy): those temporary things do not matter, and I know it. Like, more than head-know-it, I heart-know-it. And, at least for me, it doesn’t matter how much I “head-know” something; if I don’t “heart-know” it, it might as well not even be true.

I’m joyful in my housework, and errands, and snail-hunting (garden’s full of ’em), and in swimming with my kiddo, and my silly little blog, and sharing dinner with my husband. And in probably the darkest, most psychologically upsetting circumstance of my life (my mother “disowned” me over a year ago, and continues to remain divorced from me and my family to this day), guess what? I’m joyful. It’s electric.

Past versions of myself would be ears-deep in depression right now, looking for a thing or a person to throw myself into, to lose myself in the midst of my anguish and multiply pain upon pain. But that person died, and continues to die over and over again, as my present and future self continues to be reborn. (My husband would call this “circling upward, rather than just going in circles.”) It’s amazing, and beautiful, and I’d say “unbelievable,” except that I have to believe it, because I am living it.

Do I “get” it? Why I have this deep wellspring of joy? I mean, why me, and not so many others? I certainly don’t “deserve” it. I wish I could give it away to everyone I know, but if I tried, I’d hand them a box, and they’d open it, and it’d be empty. Because the source of my joy isn’t a thing I can contain, or a thing I can impart on anyone, no matter how much I want to share it; the source of my joy has always been, and will always be, and is right there in front of each of our faces, just waiting, patiently, to be noticed.

But many of us are so focused on other things, red-herrings of joy, that we miss it, that plain, soft-spoken voice that patiently calls to us. We peruse those red-herrings, and each time we realize that the source of joy that we’re chasing is inauthentic, a phony, we simply begin chasing another red-herring. I did that for years. Some people do it for a lifetime. How exhausting. How depressingly and frustratingly exhausting. Why not consider giving up the chase? Take a break, and examine that patient voice that is waiting to be heard. You’ve got nothing to lose. And trust me, the red-herring chase will be there if you decide you want to go back to it.

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I really didn’t mean to get all spiritually weird on you with this one. I honestly just sat down to explain that the reason I didn’t follow any of the “Seven Sacred Pauses” for my “Summer of 7” today, was because I am so gosh darned joyful, that that book was actually messing me up in a bad way. (And that, my friends, is called burying the lede.)

This is seriously not a cop-out: the book was screwing with my biorhythms, okay? I had to put it down. So today, to remain faithful to cutting out the excess stress in my life (per my “Summer of 7” requirement), instead of obeying the “Seven Sacred Pauses,” once Ellie went down for her nap, I did my housework, then laid on my front lawn in my bathing suit and listened to an audio book. AND I FEEL NO GUILT.

I smell like warm Hawaiian Tropic and sweat, and I couldn’t be more joyful.

So there.

xoxo, mj

Oh, one more thing. Storyline Conference in TWO days! I am pretty gosh darn excited. You know who wrote a funny thing about Storyline? Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary, that’s who. Never read her? You’ll love her, trust me. See you soon, Westmont!

  • About the Author

    Melissa Jenna Godsey

    I’m a wife, mother, accidental entrepreneur, wisdom seeker, and truth lover. We're trying really hard not to keep up with the Joneses. Click through for the whole story.

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