FAITH

How I changed my life

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How I changed my life after a seemingly minor incident, might be hard to believe. And it happened when I decided (after years of procrastination) to paint my dining room hutch.

Seriously.

But sometimes, it’s the simplest of changes that prompt very significant changes elsewhere. I believe it was that project that led me to embrace failure and no longer live in fear. I believe becoming an author was prompted in a very round about way because I painted my hutch.

Here’s the project that changed my life.

We took off the doors and left them off. That was a great improvement.

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Here it is in progress.

painted hutch/change

The thought of possibly ruining it kept me paralyzed. But one morning, I knew the time had come. I was up early and painting by 10:00 a.m.  For some reason, that morning’s resolve was an epiphany.

After years of studying my nemesis, depression, and coming to terms with where I wanted my life to go, it just all finally came together like a really good recipe. It seemed as though God had silently imprinted on my mind during the night,  “Go ahead and enjoy your life. Take some chances. It’s o.k. I approve.”

Here it is decorated for Christmas. Since then, I’ve filled the shelves with creamy white accessories. I love it. I’ve yet to finish the table and chairs only because I can’t find chairs I like, so I’ll probably just paint the chairs I’ve got.

The worm in our apple can impede change

It seems there has always been a “worm in my apple.” There’s always been something that wants to eat away at the sweetness of life. It’s like I thought I didn’t deserve to be healthy, to be happy, or to make a mistake. Ten years ago, with my doctor’s permission, I decided to fly solo, no more anti-depressants.  No safety net. The time had come to face my demons.  Over the life of depression’s gift (my other blog for a while), I will share many of the techniques and strategies I’ve learned these past years that have kept me medication free.

managing depression

I promise not to sugarcoat my struggles. Managing depression (or better yet, defeating it)  is very hard work.  It means getting real with ourselves and the part we play in our depression. And we all do. No matter what the cause, our own footprints can be seen all along the path of our depression.

The research is overwhelming that there is much we can do to manage all our moods through the way we think, the things we do (or don’t do), and how we take care of our bodies, etc. Medication can only do so much, as most researchers now agree. I’m not a doctor, but this is a subject I’ve researched heavily.

I have a degree in psychology and worked as a hospital chaplain after completing two quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education and have counseled many women and led many groups. I am not a pastor. But I am a Christian.

While I feel God was the power behind my ability to conquer my depression, many techniques I will share with you are applicable whether you believe the same way I do or not.  I won’t try to convince anybody to believe as I do. That’s up to God. But I won’t shy away from stating my beliefs either.

Life isn’t compartmentalized or narrowly defined.

There might be weeks that go by when I don’t even use the word “depression.” But rest assured, most of my posts will contain little gems of information meant to help you in your struggle.

Every part of our life affects every other part of our life. We simply cannot ferret out one part over another. Creative pursuits, exercising, eating, reading, praying, etc., are all part of who I am. Tomorrow was going to come anyway (God willing) whether I painted that hutch or not. I would hate my hutch just the same tomorrow as I did today. That doesn’t sound very profound until you think about it. It didn’t to me either at first.

But painting my hutch was a heads-up for me. It reminded me I was tired of regretting everything I’d wished I’d done. So what if didn’t turn out the way I wanted? Hey, it’s just paint. Right? I can repaint it. If only all our mistakes could be painted over, right?

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I want my tomorrows to be full of dreams realized, not dreams left unfulfilled, to be depression-free. I want my yesterdays to be cherished, not regretted. Therefore, it’s imperative that my todays are filled with meaningful activities. Filled with pursuits. Filled with attempts, even failed ones.

Now is now, the time for change

I hate to use the tired phrase (because I hate jargon), but life really is short. It was just yesterday I was a little tow-haired girl eating butter/sugar sandwiches, playing in my tent of blankets thrown over a clothesline pegged to the ground with wooden clothespins. Today, I am a woman whose “tent” is a lovely, old home that sits on a hill. I don’t have the luxury of a lifetime ahead of me. I need to love (yes, that’s the word I meant to use) my life NOW. It’s all I’ve got, the now. It’s all any of us have.

Isn’t it quite remarkable that a piece of furniture that needed painting settled many things for me? I believe God speaks to us in the most common ways if we just pay attention. Every time I look at that hutch, I will remember what painting it represented to me.

Tomorrow is coming for you as well.  What do you want it to be?

God bless, and have a great day.

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