I missed my post yesterday, so I’ll be doing two today.  I don’t want to get behind and I think each step is important enough to not miss.

Today I’m taking an emotional inventory.  Over at the UCR Wellness Center, there are several items listed in their inventory:

  • Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
  • Do I have ways to reduce emotional stress in my life?
  • Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
  • Am I able to set priorities?

I would add a few of my own:

  • Am I able to be emotionally vulnerable to someone (anyone)?
  • Have I forgiven those who’ve hurt me in the past?
  • Have I asked forgiveness from those I’ve hurt in the past?
  • Does the slightest stress send me into a tailspin?

I’ve always been an emotional type.  I’m highly sensitive and I have more than my share of hormones to boot.  In an emergency, I shift gears, but outside of emergencies, little things can send me into a complete funk.  I’d say that means I’m lacking in emotional health.

I don’t have a balance of work/family/friends/life.  My life consists of work, Facebook, and weekends with my kids.  That’s about it.  No balance.  I need to start making friends.

I do have ways to reduce stress in my life.  One thing that having ulcerative colitis has actually been good for is that I work pretty consistently at reducing my stress.  I read, write, watch movies, go for a run, workout… it’s not perfect (where’s the bubble bath?), but it helps.

I can set priorities, but I’m not very good at keeping them.  I’ll need to work on that.

I’m not emotionally vulnerable to anyone and I really don’t trust people.  I can name four people in my life over the last five years who hurt me badly enough that I still cry myself to sleep over it a few nights a month.  Obviously, I haven’t forgiven them either.  I’m trying; I make a point of forgiving them daily.  But it’s not sticking.  I’m not sure about asking people to forgive me.  I’m sure there are people I need to ask, but I’m not sure who.

So… I have some work to do.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Two of the people I need to forgive have completely blocked me out of their life.  I’m pretty sure there’d be a restraining order if I went to talk to them (or even tried to call or email them).  The forgiveness is going to have to come from me without any outside help.  One of those people says he’s forgiven me, but makes it clear that not hurting me is not anywhere in his priorities.   There’s only one person I can actually do anything about.  I guess I’ll need to start there.

Here are my three short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals for emotional wellness:

Short-Term (3 Months)

* Talk to person #4 about forgiveness and open the lines for healing

* Do Beth Moore study “Get Out of That Pit”

* Count to ten before I react emotionally in times of stress

Medium-Term (1 Year)

* Make stress relief a daily part of my life

* Spend more time on the good things in my life than the bad

* Open up to someone and be vulnerable

Long-Term (5 Years Plus)

* No more crying to sleep

* Either heal my damaged bridges or leave them in the past

* Balance work, family, friends, and life

 

Are you coming on this journey with me?  Go do your honest assessment, then make your three goals in the three areas.  You can do it.  We can heal emotionally.

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I ride the train pretty regularly in my commute to and from work.  On Wednesday, I was on my commute home and the train… stopped.  Just one stop before home and we were told it might be a while before it moved again.

I dithered about it for a while, but I finally got my bike off the train rack, pulled up energy I didn’t really have, and started biking for home: 11 miles.  I’m a good runner, but only a decent biker, so 11 miles largely along CA-118 was a daunting thought…. and a long ride.

It didn’t take long before I was offering up prayers for my safety, songs of thanksgiving when big 18-wheelers were kind enough to not make me roadkill (and draft me for 4.2 terrifying seconds to boot), and promises of eternal gratitude if I just made it home safely.

Then I started getting convicted.  That’s cheating, God.  I’m just saying.

You see, I’m having a forgiveness issue lately.  I used to never have a forgiveness issue.  I got mad, sure, but once it was over, it was over.  Not so much lately.  I have some legitimate bones to pick and I don’t feel like burying them and moving on.

But God wants me to move on for my own good.

Did I mention that’s cheating, God?

So, about halfway along the 118, I start getting angry about the stuff I haven’t forgiven.  Maybe I wouldn’t even be biking if those things hadn’t happened.  (Yeah, I probably still would.)  Maybe my life would be better.  Maybe…

Maybe you should get around to forgiving sometime soon and moving on.

Uh.  I don’t want to forgive.  I mean, yeah, I don’t like the fact that there are times I can get myself in an absolute dither just because I remember I’m supposed to be mad about this stuff, but… I was wronged!  If that person cared about me at all, they would apologize.  They wouldn’t have hurt me like that in the first place.

If you cared about them at all, you’d forgive them and understand that they may be dealing with things you can’t see.

Okay, maybe they are dealing with something.  I get that.  But do I have to be the scapegoat?  When I was going through stuff…

… you made a lot of mistakes and messed up quite a few people’s lives.  That was a lot to forgive.

I made a few mistakes.  Okay, yes, and there was a lot of forgiving.  But you’re God.  You’re supposed to forgive me because You love me!

You’re my child.  You’re supposed to forgive those who wrong you because you love Me.

Okay, seriously, God… that’s cheating.  But… I get it.

So, before I got home (in great time, I might add!), I made a commitment to forgive.  But it’s not over.  Oh, no.

Independence Day was July 4, 1776.  But that wasn’t when our country truly became free from England.  We just signed a piece of paper and fired a few shots.  True independence took years of pitched battles, sacrifice, and commitment.

Forgiveness and independence from my own bitterness is probably going to take the same.  But you have to start somewhere, right?

It’s a good day to have my own Independence Day.

It’s time for a part I haven’t really been looking forward to in this process.  I tend to hoard my entertainment, whether movies, internet time, music or books.  But that defeats the whole purpose of minimalism, right?  Am I more attached to these things than to people?  I might have to answer “yes”, which is really not where I want to be.

So, for today, I’m going through my TV shows on Hulu, my Twitter follows, movies and music I own, and books; I can keep only what is actually serving a useful purpose per Phillipians 4:8: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things (paraphrased).

I won’t be doing this all at once, because it’s going to take some time to determine what all of those things mean to me, but I will be doing it over this entire process (and probably for the rest of my life).  There are some things that are obvious, though.  Movies that glorify violence need to go.  Shows that glorify promiscuity, same.  Angry music (especially since music has such an impact on my mood) should never have been there.

Per Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, I also need to determine what is wasted time, “vanity and a chasing after wind”.  There is plenty of that.  I suppose the movie I watched last night, Warm Bodies, was that, although I did get some social time with a friend out of it.  The hardest part isn’t realising that there are lines; the hardest part is where to draw them.

I’m actually struggling with typing this, but I’m going to assign myself a media fast through Thursday night.  I can clear my Twitter feed, not read it.  I can’t touch my Hulu queue or watch live television.  Social sites are limited to an hour a day, including entering my blog updates.  I can’t touch my phone before 6:30am (except for my devotional reading that is on my Bible app) or after 9:30pm.

These things are too important to me if I’m struggling to give them up, so give them up I must.  Really, I feel slightly shaky about it.  Guess that’s a sign.

I’m going to continue praying for a spirit of forgiveness because I’ve discovered I have a lot to forgive (others and myself).  Minimalism shouldn’t just be about what you carry physically; the stuff inside is far more important.

Here goes nothing…