It was the smell that got me.
No, before that, it was the toilet.
The toilet that I, jokingly, told my Facebook friends needed more of a relationship:
But, there were signs. There always are. First it was the toilet, water rising at an alarming rate and thankfully (or, so I thought) receding to lower levels. It wasn’t till I returned from dropping the kids off at school that I realized what had happened. The smell was overwhelming and following it led me to the laundry room. It was everywhere. I won’t give details but I have a better understand of the phrase, “I was up to my eyeballs in . . . ”
It was chaos and some things were ruined, beyond recovery. I called my mom and then my husband. I’d had plans for the day but those were canceled. Nothing that I wanted to do happened. That’s what a crisis does. It puts life on hold. But, all of this, all the chaos, made me think about my own heart and how it can’t be ignored.
There are signs. . .
There always are.
What are you ignoring? That argument that was never resolved? The phone conversation you don’t want to have? Perhaps it’s a word from the doctor, or the advice from a friend. It’s the restlessness that you can’t shake, the anger that never fizzles, the lies you keep telling yourself, or the food that stays hidden until everyone falls asleep.
For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
~ Luke 8:17
It takes bravery to heed the red flags. The choice is to whether to address them now or when they explode in the open, when you have to ask for help, and when there is nothing left to do but be honest about what’s going on.
But, how can you respond to the issues before things explode into a crisis?
- Know Yourself – How are you feeling? Are you even aware of what’s going on internally? So often, it’s easier to stay in distraction instead of getting quiet and listening for what’s rumbling underneath. Identify ALL the feelings – Sadness, fear, nervousness, etc. What’s causing them? What are you afraid of feeling/dealing with?
- Be honest about your feelings – There are no bad emotions. In order to make sense and address the issues that you’re struggling with, you have to be honest about what’s going on without dismissing specific feelings.
- Tell someone you can trust – Try to find someone who will sit with what you’re feeling and seeks to understand. Someone that will help you sort them out. Which leads me to . . .
- Get help – It’s okay to seek help before a crisis puts you in that position. Ask friends for suggestions on who to talk to. Get in touch with a good counselor or Life Coach. Take advantage of your local library where you can find tons of resources and ways to connect in your community.
- Make yourself a priority – When making a To-Do list, do you make the cut? How can you help yourself? What if you made a Take-Care list? Do you need some time with friends, an hour of quiet? Maybe exercise needs to be the non-negotiable. Is it time to pick up the phone and have that hard conversation? Many times, avoiding what’s nagging you causes more internal damage than you realize. You are important. How can you help your world be well if you can constantly ignoring your own needs? And, make restoration the goal instead of merely finding relief from things. There is a difference.
It doesn’t have to explode. But, when it does, be honest about what you neglected. As John Eldredge says, “Don’t waste your pain.” Look back and learn from the signs that you dismissed. But, starting now, pay attention. Take care of the things that need attending. You are important. Take care of yourself and take care of your heart. Stop brushing off what could be dealt with today.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
P.S. One more piece of advice. Find ways to laugh. There is nothing like laughter to help put things in perspective. Here’s a starter: