Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are You Enough?

You are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You are not productive enough. You are not talented enough. You are not disciplined enough. You are not Christian enough. You are not… enough.

Lies. All lies. Lies I told myself. Lies Satan told me.

Lies I believed. Until they broke me.

And in my brokenness, God made me whole.

I have always been the good girl. The one who went to church, obeyed her parents, didn’t party, didn’t get into trouble. And I grew up into a good, Christian woman. A good, Christian wife and a good, Christian mother.

But being a good, Christian woman wasn’t enough. I could not live up to my expectations. The Proverbs 31 woman I am not. I could not live up to God’s expectations (or what I thought were his expectations). For years I have asked God to change me. But he didn’t. I stopped reading the Bible because I felt condemned. I could not live up to it. I didn’t attempt to have a quiet time or devotions because I never kept it regularly. I wasn’t disciplined enough. I didn’t pray enough. I wasn’t enough.

One day, I made an honest statement to an elder in my church. I told him I felt condemned when I read the Bible. He paused a moment, and then said, “That’s interesting. When I read something I feel I’m not living up to, I feel challenged to try to do it.”

It opened my eyes. I still did not know how to do it, but I saw there was another way of living. A way of feeling challenged to live it instead of feeling condemned.

Then the depression hit me this spring and while reading the many books that gave me insight into myself and my relationship with God, I made a discovery. Though I knew it was impossible to keep the law of the Old Testament and that Jesus died on the cross to abolish the law, I had tried to keep Jesus teachings in the same way as the old law. And keeping Jesus’ teachings to the letter is as impossible as keeping the old law.

There is no possible way I can “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect” as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:48. The only way I am perfect is through Jesus’ blood. He alone has made my imperfect perfect.

I am enough because Jesus made me enough. My freedom is through Christ. I am free to be who God created me to be. I am worthy.
Therefore, I will never be the Proverbs 31 woman. My house won’t be perfect and my meals (other than taco salad) won’t be perfect. I won’t keep schedules or to-do lists. I won’t be productive in the way most define productive.

But I will be the best Gayle Gresham God created. I will rest in God’s way, not mine. I will seek Him in my way, not the way others do. I will trust Him and Him alone. Because He made me be enough.

For more on being enough, read Brenè Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Dappled Sky In Salida

Today I am sitting beneath the dappled sky near Salida, Colorado. Surrounded by mountains, pure, clean air and a cool breeze.

This week is set aside for writing the book about the cattle rustling story in my family history. It really helps me to be in the setting where the events took place. But I also feel such peace. At home in a place I’ve never lived, but have wonderful memories of camping in the area over the years.

This morning, as I looked up at the dappled sky, I felt centered. Everything is right with me and God. My soul is alive. My worries and anxieties are gone.

What more could I ask for?

Well, words. Words to write this story. But I keep trusting God that they will come.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Rainy Day Plan

Yesterday was cloudy. All day long.

When I saw my therapist, Dr. Anna joked that maybe I had “Weather” Affective Disorder. She can tell whether it is sunny or cloudy just by looking at my face.
And I can feel it.

My depression is so much better. On sunny days, I don’t feel it or think about it. But on a cloudy day, it is there. Dr. Anna shared an illustration of depression being like water in a glass. My mood will stay above the water line and I will feel normal on a sunny day. But on a cloudy or rainy day, my mood dips below the water line. It doesn’t plunge me to the depths, but it dips enough that it changes how I feel.

Dr. Anna suggested I make a Rainy Day Plan when I first started seeing her.

This is my plan:
  • Sleep well. In fact, sleep in if I want to.
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as I get up. Drink 8 glasses of water throughout the day.
  • Eat a good breakfast with protein.
  • Take my vitamins.
  • Use my Joy essential oils. A sweet friend mixed this for me and gave it to me when she learned of my depression. Every time I apply the oils, I think of her friendship and her kindness. It gives me joy and makes me feel better.
  • Take a walk. Take a walk even if it is raining. Be mindful of the smells, the green grass, the flowers, the crunch of the gravel under my shoe. I also try to take a walk after a storm. It will instantly lift my mood.
  • Read a good book.
  • Create space for God. A time to be silent, to read a verse or two, to pray if I feel like it.
  • Call a friend and visit.
  • Play the hammered dulcimer or guitar.

Most of the things I do every day. On rainy days, I am intentional about doing them. I am intentional about giving myself grace and caring for myself.

Do you have a plan for days you feel depressed? What helps you?