Go far enough on the inner journey… go past ego toward true self – and you end up not lost in narcissism but returning to the world, bearing more gracefully the responsibilities that come with being human.”
– Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
Happy Friday! I’m joining Emily P. Freeman today to share what we learned this Fall. I love this link up and this exercise because it invites us to interrupt our automatic forward movement. It coaxes us to sit down and reflect upon what we’ve learned over the past few months. I always learn more about myself and see how God is moving in my life. Sometimes, when we try to see God in the moment, things seem foggy and unclear, and we aren’t exactly sure where God is leading us. But after we walk a few paces we can look back and have much more insight into what God is doing in our lives.
Today I’m sharing three things that made me happy this Fall.
1. I am important… to her, to him.
Intellectually, I know this. But our beliefs don’t always align with what we know. This Fall, the knowledge of this truth began to trickle down into my heart. As long as I’ve been a stay at home mom, I’ve struggled to believe that my contributions to the world of two needy babies are important.
Over the past few months, I meditated on the story of blind Bartimeaus from the gospel of Mark. I heard Jesus also ask me what I want. My answer: I want to be significant. I want my life to count. I want to be important. He responded on an ordinary, cold October morning, as I looked up from my morning journal to see my two-year old daughter running to me with a “picture” she drew for me. “You are important to her,” he said. Then he opened my eyes to see the weight of my children’s souls and the weight of my importance to them.
2. Don’t focus on working out, just move.
Last spring I quit the gym. I had tried for months to get “in shape” which I defined as an ability to keep up with the intense fitness classes without a severe hangover of muscle soreness. When I found that I only made it to the gym once a week because of said muscle hangover, I decided to throw in the towel.
Only weeks later, my back decided to rebel against that decision with spasms and chronic pain. I realized that I needed to return to the gym to focus on restoring strength to my back. So I returned to the gym this Fall with renewed vision and purpose. No longer do I try to “get in shape” or even “workout”.
During my gym sabbatical, I listened to Tsh Oxenreider in her Upstream Field Guide describe her exercise routine simply as “movement”. Her goal was simply to move her body, if only for a few minutes. So I adopted a similar goal.
By dramatically lowering my expectations I have significantly increased my motivation, joy and perseverance in going to the gym. Sometimes we high-achievers need to lower the bar for ourselves, sometimes significantly.
Since then I have established a manageable routine of movement while strengthening my back and increasing my cardio endurance. I don’t attend the classes anymore, I simply use the machines at my own pace. I pop in my ear buds with a good podcast or Spotify playlist (here is mine) and simply enjoy the gym experience. And if I get in shape, well, that will be a side benefit.
3. St. John’s Wort is a natural supplement that helps with depression.
I’ve been struggling to get back on my own two feet emotionally after weaning off traditional medication. I have tried several diet adjustments in an attempt to re-balance my moods. In my research, I found St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement that claims to lift your mood “naturally”. I finally tried it one day when I was at the end of my rope. While I wasn’t expecting much, it did provide a slight lift! Thought, it wasn’t super impressive.
Later I learned that I needed to take it daily to see a significant effect. So I started taking it daily and since then I have noticed a definite improvement! It does kind of feel like I’m back on medication since I’m taking it regularly, but I’m happy to have found a natural source of help.
This may not help everyone, but it might be worth a try if you or anyone you know is looking for a natural remedy for mild depression. If in doubt, definitely consult your doctor. I am not a doctor nor am I authorized in any way to give medical advice. I’m simply sharing what has been helpful for me.
What has Fall taught you this year? I’d love to hear what you have learned, please share with me in the comments. If you want to take it a step further and join the link up with Emily Freeman, here it is.