Stress, Anxiety, Panic

1475973_10152423323564097_804826418_nBeing a single parent with 100% custody comes with a lot of responsibility.  Sure, there are people that help out, but ultimately no one cares or invests to the level of a parent. I find myself responsible to pay the bills, unable to tag team in the raising and disciplining of my children, and without support when I just can’t take it anymore. I have found myself in positions where I had worked a seventy plus hour week, had to choose which utility bills to pay vs which ones I could stretch out until the next pay period – no child support here, no idea who I would be able to find to watch my children while I work, short on sleep, a messy house, no clean laundry… and the list goes on – not to mention the judgement I have faced from others. These things that I face seem to have no resolution other than enduring until my children reach adulthood. I feel as though I have been robbed of my motherhood, and missed their childhood. It used to be a regular thing to carry a diaper bag slung over my shoulder, one sleeping toddler in each arm, and trek across a block or two of parking lots to my apartment at two in the morning – just getting home from work.

What I am trying to say is that I am familiar with an overwhelmingly stressful amount of responsibilities. These are not the things a typical twenty-three year old American female faces – but I was facing them. So how are we to deal with stress? What about worry? What is it that triggers panic, gives us anxiety, and straight up scares us to death?

I can’t do it anymore.

I will never be enough.

I am going to get an eviction notice.

I am going to mess up my children’s lives.

I am falling short of the pinterest housewife.

I am not making the six figure income the other fathers are making.

I can’t stay awake.

I am suffering physically because:

I don’t have time to take care of myself.

I don’t have time to be a mother, a father, a provider, and a housewife.

I can’t go to the gym because:

I can’t afford a babysitter for pleasure.

I am alone.

I have no one that cares for me.

I can’t do this anymore and I definitely can not last until they are 18.

I will be lucky if I live until 40 with this amount of pressure on me (Yikes that’s not very long!!!!!)

All these worries. All these stresses. Many are legitimate. All off the seem hopeless, and all of them have something in 60457_10150095322499097_1982694_ncommon. They all start with the same letter, the same word. “I.” Recently I had the epiphany that these stressful moments are merely what I have labeled “selfish attacks.” There are so many concerns that seem like they are ok to have, but ultimately if you take yourself out of the picture, how many of them are really left? The crazy thing is that we don’t even have to be concerned about ourselves. We have all that we need through one source. I would never put my children in harms way. So why would my heavenly Father do that to me? I remember coaxing my little Carter to jump into the pool years ago. I can hardly keep him out of the pool now, but there was a time when he would be brought to tears at the thought of jumping in to me. I had him. There was nothing to worry about. Mommy would catch him – and never let him drown. Carter was worried that he would die. I had to convince Carter to let go of his worry, and give his worry to me. His job was to move forward. My job was to catch him. He had nothing to worry about – that was my job. Carter had to stop thinking about himself and all his worries and focus on my direction.

There is Rest

1001754_10152039268089097_219248586_nPsalm 55:22 proclaims “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you.” Over and over the Bible tells us not to worry. Matthew 11:28-30 records Jesus’ precious words; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Nowhere are we told to worry. In fact, we are instructed quite the opposite. We are told again by Jesus in Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” There is one more precious gem I must include from Matthew 10:29-31, straight from the caring lips of Jesus “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[b] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

When we do as instructed, we are never to worry. He will take care of any needs we have.  My God will supply all my needs. Our earthly concerns are essentially centered around ourselves, and our own selfishness. When we stop focusing on ourselves, and start focusing on greater things – loving and serving others and glorifying the one that takes care of us – our stress vanishes, our anxiety ceases to exist, and our panic is starved to death.

Do not worry my friend, simply rest in His care – have peace knowing that His grace is sufficient. He is more than enough.

Your Love Language – Inspired and On Fire

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Have you taken the test? There is a book written, and there is an online test about your love language. I can tell you which love language I speak according to the test. It seems to be the rage. Admirers ask about it, and friends post about it. Don’t get me wrong it’s always interesting “finding out more about yourself,” but what is the real benefit of knowing your love language? I have had a few “deep” conversations about love languages. All of these conversations were with people that wanted to learn how to love me better. After the conversations ended, I walked away with a warm fuzzy feeling – these people wanted to learn how to love me better. That feeling faded, as the promises took the form of a lovely unrealistic, far fetched fairy tale – out of reach, and out of this world.

What if we made it a little more simple. Throw away the test, set down the book, and end the lofty conversations. “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Wow, so simple. How many times can you look back at a love that has gone wrong, and heal it with that short sentence.

Have you ever been shocked when someone tells you they love you? We already know they love us well before they dare express it in words. Our love languages should not be focused on how we like to receive love, but on how we love others. These love languages that we speak to others are some of the most precious gifts we are given. They come in different forms, a heavenly love, and a unique love.

love welcomeThere was a day when many believers were gathered together.  The Holy spirit cam upon them, and they were gifted with the gift of speaking different languages. Here is a picture of what it would have looked like: Jose – who only knew Spanish – suddenly began speaking Mandarin to Liu, and Liu understood every word Jose uttered.  These were words from the Holy Spirit.

Today we are also given languages and words to speak to others, that not all can understand. I have a dear friend that speaks a language I can not, she speaks it beautifully, and is able to touch others. She speaks the language of a widow – I don’t know that language. There is another friend that is able to reach some that I can only speak to at a broken level. He speaks the language of a drug addict. He is recovered now, but he can speak to others fluently in a language that many of us can not. In reality all of the things that have happened to us, give us another love language. I can speak single mom fluently. I can speak broken, young, hurting girl, I can speak divorced, and many other languages.

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The crazy part is, so many of us are bilingual when it comes to the love languages that we speak, but we insist on keeping it a secret. We only speak the language that we deem most accepted, when there are people that could benefit from even a few words. 

I came around the corner. I saw Michael speaking Spanish to one of our customers. I had worked with Michael for a year now, and had never heard him speak Spanish before. I immediately thought of all the times he could have helped our Spanish speaking customers – he would have benefited the company with his gift – a valuable asset. Turns out Michael was embarrassed. His mother could not speak English, and he viewed himself and his mother as lower in society, when I viewed him as more valuable. Rather than taking on the same view as Michael, speak your languages, make them your love languages! Shout them from the mountains, and embrace your gift of a diverse love!

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3 Reasons Good Girls Like Bad Boys

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It happens all the time, without fail. The sweetest girl goes for that terrible worthless bad boy – AGAIN! She has so much to offer, the perfect catch, yet she chooses a boy (we can’t even bear to call him a man) a handful of notches below her level. We cringe when we see our girlfriends, sisters, and daughters make the same mistake of picking up bad boys over, and over again. It isn’t usually a one time slip up, but some type of pattern that repeats itself – one jerk after another, always resulting with a broken heart and a swollen face full of masquara infused tears.

As we watch these relationships repeat themselves like a chapter on a scratched DVD, we figure there has GOT to be a reason for all of this madness. What could possibly cause a beautiful, well rounded, bright-futured female to stoop to the levels of an unaccomplished unqualified bad boy, that would treat her nothing even remotely close to what she is worth? Well, in reality there is an endless number of reasons that could cause a good girl to fall for a bad boy, but there are three major reasons that seem to be the most common triggers:

Scream and shout: Two girls scream as they face a downward spiral of fear

1. The Good Girl emotional adrenaline junkie. Bad boys tend to be more adventurous, and less predictable. Go back to the time when your significant other told you they loved you for the first time. Remember that emotional high, the euphoric sense of being free from all gravity, and savoring those sweet words you have waited so long to hear. There will never be a first time of “I love you” again in that relationship, never again will you feel that same high… unless… unless you can get to a place so low and so dark that even the dimmest ray of hope will be enough of a contrast that you will feel as if you are inches from the sun, giving you that same crazy high you experienced before. Let’s face it the lower the lows, the higher the highs seem to feel. These emotional adrenaline junkies can’t bear an even keeled ride.

2. He’s a really great guy with a good heart. Or, better said – he looks really good, and he’s a charmer. The excuse: “He’s a really great guy underneath that bad boy exterior.” The fairy tale: “I will change him, he will change for me, he just hasn’t met anyone worth changing for yet. He just hasn’t met anyone like me.” The reality: Although your ego tells you otherwise, this guy isn’t changing for anyone, and guess what; you can’t change him. Until he decides to make a real change for himself, he is unrescuable from the life of a bad boy.

3. They associate love with hurt. This is my least favorite reason, and perhaps the most common of them all. It could be a parent, sibling, friend, or even a past hurtful relationship that breeds this association. The one that loves them the most – or is supposed to love them the most – hurts them the most. When the one that is supposed to be meeting the need of love in their life begins hurting someone, that is where the association comes in. The role of a lover becomes distorted. When a good girl gets hurt by a bad boy, she associates the hurt to the same hurt her parent/friend/ex lavished her with, and expects that because she is feeling the same hurt, she will also feel that same love – which she will, but it will never be the right love, and it will never be enough.

What are your thoughts on why good girls go for bad boys?

 

© 2016 Leah J. Dillon
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