Last week I was asked why I haven’t posted on my blog in a couple months. Or sent out a newsletter for that matter.
I felt an initial sting of guilt because to be honest I’ve sat down a couple times to write about boundaries, diet culture, and the importance of a hobby. I just couldn’t finish any of them… nothing I was writing really felt important. Every time I started I would just end up putting the effort into something else that felt more rewarding in the moment. And I didn’t really think it mattered.
One thing I know about myself is I find it easiest for me to write when I’m feeling down. I usually am the most inspired to write when I find myself in places I don’t want to be. I write a lot about what I need. I’ve started to notice a pattern when I’m feeling good about things I feel like I need less and when I’m feeling bad I need more.
I know this isn’t how I was meant to operate.
We were created to need all of the time; in the good, the bad, the so so, the really good, and the awfully bad times. Neediness is an integral part of being human- we were born literally attached to another human needing support to live. I honestly think it is funny when people give me reasons why they don’t need others and call it independence. That’s not what independence looks like, it’s what sitting in a prison next to fear, stubbornness and insecurity looks like.
Now, for some reason, in the past couple months God didn’t hit me with any major hiccups. So the 7 in me ignored the truth that says, “hey keep on in your needing.” And I did what I’ve trained myself to do. I focused on what felt good- which was my consistent joy.
So, to answer the person who asked me why I haven’t posted in awhile- it’s because I’ve actually been paralyzed in my joy.
Let’s be super clear though- Joy is not the same as being happy.
Happy is more of a feeling, something that comes and goes without any internal locus of control.
Joy is the experience we get when we practice gratitude.
And I have to brag here- I’m really good at gratitude. It’s like my favorite thing. To make myself aware daily of all the really cool things God has allowed me to experience. . . There is nothing like it. So I’m not saying I’ve just been happy all the time. I’m saying I’ve been able to count some things I have longed for consistently for a long period of time.
But what I have found is that as my daily gratitudes grew I kind of lost sight of a couple things. I became blinded to some of my goals that include consistency to growth. And as I look back I see that as I become more grateful for what I had I became less inclined to need what brought me to those things on my list.
So why am I writing now? I would LOVE to tell you that I just woke up and thought umm Kat… someone asked for a blog on boundaries it’s time to give the people what they want.
But that’s not what happened.
I actually had to take something off my gratitude list. This morning I couldn’t make the same list I made last week. It rattled my joy- and my paralyzation subsided.
I think we all have different yet similar experiences of what happens when our lives are going how we want them to … I asked via instagram what you do when it seems like your life is going right and I got pretty consistent answers.
“I stop praying.”
“I don’t engage in self care.”
“I let go of routines that help manage my anxiety.”
“I become distant from God.”
“I become less inclined to put effort into what is working well.”
Basically, when things are going well we stop investing in parts of our lives that are important to us.
I was feeling some sadness today so naturally I started scrolling though Bob Goff’s Instagram which is a gold mine for pick me ups (if you’re in the market for one). I ran across this quote:
Sometimes God lets us lose hope for a moment so we’ll retrace our steps and find him all over again.
I mean this is frustrating but also if I’m being honest- it is so necessary.
When we get paralyzed in joy we start to think things matter less or we make up excuses of why we don’t have time for “X.” And this definitely spills out to more than just our spiritual lives.
I know for me, I work less. In the past year a consistent gratitude I’ve had is the flourishing of my therapy practice. But in the past 6 months I’ve stopped doing like 3 of the top things that have allowed me to be in the successful spot I’m in right now. It makes no sense. I KNOW.
So here I am- realizing that I’ve been way more inspired to write to help you all out in the bad times. But I don’t want to model the message that the only time we need (from ourselves God, and others) is when we are sitting in a pit. You don’t have to feel like your arm is falling off because you’re carrying 18 grocery bags at once to ask for help. I don’t need to just work hard when my business is slow or pray when I’m sad.
I talk so often here, to friends, and to clients about how much we learn about ourselves when we have valley moments… and I stand by that for sure- but I think something I’ve learned through this experience is we also get to learn through the mountain top experiences too. Both are important- both need attention.
We need help on the mountain top too- when the burden may be light.
We reach the mountain tops because we engage consistently in ourselves and relationships with others- including God. If you’re there today- what is keeping you there? You know how if you do nothing in a valley you get stuck there? Well if you do nothing at the top of a mountain the opposite happens. You lose your balance and you fall- sometimes it’s a slow gradual fall and you don’t even know it is happening- sometimes it feels like a 10,000 foot drop without a parachute.
Don’t get paralyzed in the joy- use that joy to not just sit at the top of the mountain but move it. There are seriously no limits set for what we can feel, experience, and make happen- it’s ok to get a little greedy with your joy now and then. Let’s not just turn lemons into lemonade let’s turn your lemonade into a fresh squeezed lemon infused spritzer with a basil blossom. You in?