Over the past few weeks we’ve taken a look at what it takes to say farewell to fine. We’ve acknowledged that we’re not alone, we’ve looked at therapy as an option, and we’ve discussed the truth of anxiety and depression. I wanted to end this series by sharing several practices that I believe will be helpful to you in pressing on in your day-to-day journey of healing.
The first practice is called mindfulness. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. This is a practice I learned in counseling that was so helpful to me. My counselor would have me close my eyes and slow my breathing for three minutes, and any thoughts that would come into my mind I had to kick out.
After the three minutes were up, she had me imagine myself sitting on a cloud with God right there beside me and observe my current circumstances. In that silence, I had to imagine what God was telling me about how I was feeling. In those times, I never felt condemnation. I never felt disapproval. I felt God put His big arm around me and remind me that I’m not alone. I heard Him say to me that He was in control. It was the practice of being quiet and mindful that enabled me to hear God’s voice.
It is important that you take the time to focus on the present and quiet yourself before God. He invites us to do this in Scripture, as well. “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” God is in control of your circumstances. He knows what’s happened to you in your past and He knows your future. He sees you and knows right where you are.
The second practice that is helpful in pressing forward is the practice of gratitude. This step is hard when in a place of hurting, but so very helpful. Find things in your life everyday that you can thank God for. Notice even the little things that God gives you daily to remind you that He is with you. It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, but the grass is green where you water it!
It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, but the grass is green where you water it!
You are in the place you are supposed to be, even if it is a place of hurt and confusion. God is using this time to bring growth to your life, so look for the beauty in the ashes of where you are.
The third practice is practicing boundaries. As a woman in ministry, in motherhood, or in marriage, your life is often dominated by what you give to others. It’s common to feel like you are always pouring out, and giving more than receiving. If you aren’t careful, your tank will be running on empty and you will find yourself becoming resentful of the people in your life that you care so deeply about.
There are several ways you can establish boundaries in your life. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, schedule time for yourself each week. Put it on the calendar! Take a bath, read a book, sit outside, or go on a walk. Schedule a girls' night out, a pedicure or a trip to the mall. It’s amazing what an hour of recharge time can do for you! I know this is hard and many of you reading this are thinking, “Where can I fit this in?” We make time for the things we value most. You should be on that list! You have to be well to be able to serve others well.
The final practice is the practice of surrounding yourself with safe people. I know, in ministry especially, it is hard for you to trust those that want to be close to you. It’s easy to feel taken advantage of and that often makes you feel like it’s not worth being open to anyone. I believe there are people out there that you have to guard yourself against and should not have the authority to speak into and over your life.
However, there are safe people available to you but sometimes it takes effort in finding them. You might have to look outside of your church, join a small group, or connect with other pastor’s wives in your community. Finding this support will be a key to your growth and healing. On the flip side, if you are a safe person for someone needing support, be just that. A safe haven. Know when to speak, and know when to just be there for someone. It’s okay to sit with someone in a broken place and offer a hug and a cry.
Not everything is fixed with words.
I leave you with this final challenge, and that is simply to press on. Press on through the fear of vulnerability. Press on through the fear of what others might think of you. Press through your comfort zone and see that there is hope on the other side. I’m reminded of the lyrics in a Rich Mullins song that says, “Someone's waiting to put wings upon your flightless heart. You're on the verge of a miracle standing there. Oh, you're on the verge of a miracle just waiting to be believed in! Open your eyes and see, you're on the verge of a miracle.”
Have the courage to step out in faith, say farewell to fine, and step into the future God has for you!
Pressing On is Entry FOUR of Sanctuary's August series, "Saying Farewell to Fine", from ministry wife, counselor, and guest blogger Karmen Wilson. Did you miss a week? Click here to start at Entry ONE. Take it in for yourself and then share with someone you care about.
Karmen Wilson has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 12 years and worked as an elementary school counselor for ten of those years. She and her husband Cameron have been married for 11 years and have served in a ministry staff role, off and on, throughout their marriage, totaling about six years--Cameron in production and Karmen in teaching and small groups. The Wilson family recently moved to Los Angeles, CA where Cameron is the Production Director for Vintage Church. Together they are both passionate about following God's call on their lives and creating authentic relationships and community through church. In their free time, they keep busy playing cars and going to parks with their vibrant two-year-old son, Jaxson. They also love going to the beach and driving around, finding cool restaurants and attractions in L.A.! Karmen has a passion for helping individuals in the areas of self-discovery, healing past hurts, infertility, marriage, and parenting. She can be reached via email for consulting and coaching.