Friday, February 29, 2008

Ladies Only

(This is just for the ladies... it's one of *those* posts that doesn't really apply to men)

On television, there is a commercial for a cleaning product that has a slogan that says something along the lines of "lifes messy, clean it up". Life really is pretty messy sometimes, there's no doubt about that. Life for a believer is also considerably different than life for an unbeliever, in that we know our own "messes" can sometimes be caused by our own sinful, self-absorbed attitudes and tendencies.

For a woman, when you blend sinful tendencies, raw emotion, a husband to look after, children to look after, a house to keep tidy, church activity, work, school, and whatever else happens to be on your particular plate, life can sometimes get extremely messy. Sometimes we even put far too much on our plate without even realizing we've done that. (Every sister reading this is now nodding her head thinking "yep, I do that!")

These are really obvious questions, but I wonder...

- Do you ever have those days where you feel so edgy, you're almost afraid of what might fly out of your mouth?

- Do you ever have those days where your heart feels so heavy, that the tiniest thing will send you into a bout of crying?

- Do you ever have those days when it takes all your strength to battle off self-pity?

- Do you ever have a day when all of those things happen on the same day, or maybe for several days in a row?

Most women have those days. I never did when I was younger (and unsaved, with unsaved friends), and I honestly believed my peers who did have those days, were faking it to get attention. I didn't have much sympathy for them, because I truly did believe they were being deceitful. They'd use those reasons to get out of going to school, going to work, or doing anything else they didn't really want to do. Due to the fact that I'd seen so much deception and headgames among my unsaved peers, I just chalked it up to yet another one of those situations (afterall, I never had those days, so surely they were faking).

Well, that was then and this is now. The older I get, the more often I have those days. Winter time is much worse because along with the mood swings comes the cabin fever and being closed up inside with everyone else. At least in the summer time I can stretch my legs and go for a bike ride, or throw myself in the pool, or just go and do something. In the winter time my options are far more limited (go from this room to that one, not a big change in scenery, ya know?).

If you're anything like me, and your circumstances are anything like mine, I'd like to offer some suggestions for when you have those days. Of course your mileage may vary, but these things make a difference for me, and they might for you too. If you have additional suggestions please tell me about them:

Music - preferrably a good cd of hymns, but any God-glorifying music will do the trick. I don't know what it is about music that catches you deep down inside, but it does. Music that exalts God's attributes is like a refreshing summer breeze, on days like this.

Bubble Bath (or, if you're allergic, just a nice hot soak). I know this might sound self-indulgent but sometimes we really do need to take 30 minutes or so and purposely put ourselves in a relaxing position where we can think things through, not be interrupted, and refocus. I know a lot of women that wont like this suggestion because they think along the lines of "there's no time for that". Well, there sure IS time for it, and if you need it to get yourself back on track, you should take it.

Exercise (eww, the dreaded word!) In the spring and summer when I can go outside and busy myself with things like mowing, cleaning the pool or weeding, I use that time of hard work to really think things through. When I can't get outside to work, there's always the option of the exercise bike, treadmill or any other exercise machine you might have in your house. Not only does it get the body active, it gets the brain busy as well and gives you that time to sort of step away from your emotions for a bit.

Grab your best girlfriend for a talk - This sounds so obvious but sometimes we need the obvious pointed out don't we? Busy wives and mothers are often feeling like supermom, and so busy trying to fix/tend to/organize everything themselves that they might feel like they're burdening a friend to talk these things out. Galatians 6:2 tells us that when we bear one another's burdens we fulfill the law of Christ - that we're loving one another as He commanded us to do. You know you're all ears when your closest friend needs to talk something out, and you should remember she's eager to do the same for you. Besides, she knows you well and will tell you what you need to hear -not what you want to hear. That's why she's your best friend.
Now as I said, these are just some suggestions that work for me. I should point out that prayer is the #1 thing we should all turn to when our hearts feel overwhelmed, so these are just things that you might like to consider in addition to prayer. Please feel welcome to add your suggestions as well (I'm sure there are lots of things different women do that helps on days like this).