Surviving the “Off” Days of Life

Do you ever have those days that are just “off”? Nothing seems to work and you don’t even really have the drive to make anything work? A day where it might be better to just call in sick or go back to bed and call it a day? At like, 8:30 in the morning?

Yah. Today was one of those days for me.

I don’t even really know why.

This is what I posted on Instagram when I was in the middle of feeling the yuck:

Ever have one of those days you just want to build a blanket fort with someone then sit in there, listen to good music, let them hold you & tell them everything that’s rolling around in your head & driving you nuts today that you just can’t even human for the day and let them remind you how awesome you are & that you can do hard things. Ya. Today. But human I must. Maybe I’ll make my own fort later. Deep breath… #Icandohardthings

Apparently, I also need to write really long run-on sentences when I’m in the yuck.

And remind myself that I can do hard things.

And give myself some space even when I feel there is no margin.

And take a deep breath and step forward. Even when I really don’t want to.

But that’s what I did.

I took the morning off from work to get some errands done that I knew I wouldn’t get to tonight. I stopped and bought myself a chai tea latte. Because on rainy blanket fort days, chai tea is needed. I also stopped in the middle of my errands and bought myself a new candle to make my no-window-dungeon-office smell like a tropical vacation.

I went to work this afternoon and enjoyed the tropical smells. I sent several emails that needed to be dealt with. I asked for help on a couple video projects. There were ridiculous wardrobe malfunctions, a few times I yelled “CUT” seconds after recording started. I even cursed at the end of one of the videos. That didn’t make the final cut. Oops. But I got them sent off to the right people. And over the next few days several hundred people in the Pacific Northwest will see how ridiculous I am.

I picked up my daughter, let her drive home, made the kiddos some dinner, gave and received some hugs. I also gave grace on their undone projects and responsibilities, because we all need grace. Then I pushed on and worked out, because pull ups and push ups remind me how weak I am, that I still need help, and that ultimately I can do hard things.

That’s the real deal, isn’t it? Sometimes life just comes at you thick and fast. You deal, you process, you take action in the moment because that’s what’s required. Then maybe you just feel completely worn out and weak, like nothing you do matters or has any impact. It’s okay to feel that way sometimes. It’s just not a place to stay. We can do the things that seem hard, we can ask for help, we can get through them. We can learn as we move forward and gain confidence in the process.

Tonight, reflecting back, I realize why I’m worn out today. Why I’m feeling weak. Some things just take a lot of energy and wear me out. Like dealing with fraud on my bank account yesterday, consolidating loans and moving money around, preparing for some upcoming speaking & teaching opportunities, comforting my kids and helping them see their options, interacting with friends and encouraging them even when I feel I have nothing left to give.

And that’s also part of the real deal too. We all have more to give. Even when we don’t think we do.

We know what we need to do, even when we feel the only option is to crawl in a blanket fort.

My good friend, Jen Hatmaker, reminded me of this today. (Okay, so I don’t really know her, but don’t we all like to imagine she’s our best friend?!!) She reminded me that I know what I’m supposed to do when I face a challenging situation.

So, that’s what I did.

I prayed. I read some scripture. I let a few tears fall, because they just leaked out of my head all on their own. (who am I to stop leaking out of my face?!) I got some work done that needed to get done. I asked for help. I asked a friend to pray for me. I laughed. I hugged my kids. I ate some food that was good for me and let my body get some exercise. I listened to some good music. I laughed some more. I wrote this, because I feel better when words spill out of my head.

So that’s my advice for you too when you find yourself having an “off” day. Give yourself some grace, some unexpected margin. Breathe. Pray. Reach out to friends. Do what you know you need to do. Keep moving forward, one baby step at a time, and the hard things will get done.

You are qualified, you are capable, you are amazing.

You’ve got this.

I believe in you.

And at the end of the day, when you see how strong you really are, go build yourself that blanket fort. Just like I’m about to do. ❤



Remember to Breathe

This has been a crazy, hectic season for me. Even though we’re only a few weeks into the Fall plans. If you’re in ministry, you’ll appreciate what I’m feeling. With the rhythms of ministry, the fall is often the launch time for new programs or initiatives. Sort of the “let’s get back to more routine structure” after the slower pace of summer.

This week I find myself in the haze of launching new curriculum for our “Sunday School”, finalizing the fall schedule of volunteers, delivering the schedule and lessons via a system new to my volunteers, creating a new time between the services to engage families, and planning for a ministry training day on Saturday. Those pieces also involve coming up with a new name & branding for “Sunday School”, creating a large group environment, sharing information with and supporting the volunteers in the new system, creating new documents for the training, as well as the regular preparations for Sunday. All of that was only contained in a few hours of Tuesday.

Add in my own kids texting that they really need the spiral bound graphing paper that is NOWHERE to be found. And don’t forget the specific type of compass the geometry teacher wants. Oh, and we have curriculum night at the school. And please print off that paper I need. Don’t forget to add still trying to deal with insurance and repairs from my car getting hit last month. And my eyeglasses disappeared over the weekend. So even as I write this, late at night after the contacts had to leave my eyes, the font is enlarged to 500%. So let’s add ordering new glasses to the to-do list for the week. Starting. To. Hyper. Ventilate.

I had to pause several times today. When I found myself moving swiftly between multiple projects and requests for my input, I had to remind myself to breathe. Physically I kept finding myself tense and holding my breath. Breathe. In a year from now will people remember this craziness? No. Will I? Maybe. I’m sure I’ll get six weeks down the road, scratch my head, and say, “What was all that craziness about?”

Each time I paused to take a deep breath, I also said a quick prayer. “Jesus”. That’s what I prayed. He knew what I meant. Be here. Be with me. Be here with me now. Make the path clear. Make your plans my plans. Set me on the task you want me on, in this moment. Let me rest in your arms. Let me rest in your grace. Deep breath.

There is so much grace involved in all of this; it’s really quite incredible. And I gently found myself reminded to remember the “Why”. Why am I doing this. Don’t forget why I’m in this space, in this place, in this hectic haze now. Why? Quite simply because God ordained it. He called me. He will equip me. And I press on because I trust Him. I trust that He is enough. And I want to share that with kids. I want to share that with families. I want to share that with my own family.

So if you find yourself in this same crazy season of ministry or life, remember to breathe. He is enough.


Quit Running and Wait

“Quit running from Him and the plans He has for you. Trust Him.

Find His heart and there you’ll find me waiting for you.”

I heard this message several months ago. I was dealing with another situation and at that time these words were for someone else. They loved God, they still do. But they were running hard. And fast. And far. It made me sad that I had words I could have spoke into the situation. But at the time those words would have fallen on deaf ears.

Over the months I’ve continued to pray for them. Every time they cross my mind I ask God to bless them. There is distance between us now. They were running so far I didn’t want to get lost in their mess. I knew I had to seek God myself and stay on my path, so I prayed for them from afar. I never delivered this message to them.

In the meantime my path has taken some crazy turns. I had to cling to Jesus. I followed God on the path He revealed to me. I see how I’ve been so busy the last several years that I haven’t been able to just sit. Sit at the feet of Jesus. He has brought so many great opportunities my direction, but have I missed out on some of those? Or others I wasn’t even aware of because I was so busy. Busy chasing kids, a home, a career, an education. I’ve trusted God, but have I really been seeking to sit at His feet. Have I been seeking His heart?

Wait. Sounds familiar. Waaaaiiitttt….back to the message. Ruh-roh. Was that for me too? !!! I’ve felt like I’ve really been seeking Him, but I was running fast. And thinking back to the time I received the message, well, there have been areas in my life that I had kept from Him. And I’ve been running circles around the plans and the purposes. Waiting for the perfect time. Planning it all out. Waiting until tomorrow when the time might be better. Doh.

As leaders there are times we have to press forward hard and fast to accomplish our goals.  But we can’t press so hard that we’re leaning into our own strength rather than receiving the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Even in the busy season we must create margin in the chaos to just sit at the feet of Jesus.  To be still and listen for His voice.

I’ve slowed down. I caught my breath. I trust Him. I trust Him so much. So now it’s time to really find His heart. “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.” (1 John 3:21-22) I believe in His Son, I know He’s holding my hand and walking beside me. I trust the Spirit He gave me who fills me and stands behind me.  And knowing that, I can confidently walk in the direction He has called me.