I thought of a dozen different ways I could have talked about chapter eight of Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets them Free., but as I was reading, one thing about me kept popping into my head. I tried to deny talking about it, but I feel very led to share this. When God puts something in my head and heart to share with you, there is no fighting it. I’ve learned that. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to get real with you here.
About a week after Kaylee was born, right in the middle of a beautiful March day, I had a total sobbing, crying breakdown. I’d never had that happen in my life and didn’t have any idea what happened or why. A friend said, “Ah – baby blues.” I’d never heard that term before, so I looked it up in my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. Sure enough — I had a postpartum hormonal fluctuation that resulted in this crying jag. It was, honestly, the first time in my life I couldn’t control my emotions.
Before that and for about 5 years after that, I had never really had any kind of emotional tendencies as they pertained to hormones and monthly cycles. Then, I turned 30. Suddenly, I had a flood of emotions two or three days a month that just didn’t make sense to me. I liken it kind of to those baby blues – something I couldn’t control or would be surprised by and would fight controlling them.
I have a friend who was sad on Valentine’s Day because so many friends were posting all about doting husbands and because her husband largely ignored that day. But then she said, “Maybe it would be better to just remember that Facebook is really just “fakebook”. Not many people post about real life, only the 15% of their life they want others to think that they have 100% of the time…”
I’m here to tell you, really, that my marriage is everything I make it out to be on this blog and in my social networking. I absolutely love and adore and respect my husband. He absolutely loves and adores and cherishes me. We have long conversations about everything and nothing. We enjoy each others’ company. Our sex life is amazing. We want to be together and to spend time together. We don’t fight or bicker or let little things affect our feelings for each other.
BUT…Now to my “getting real” part: About every 28 days, for 2 or 3 days, I fight and fight and fight feelings of utter worthlessness as a wife and mother. I feel ugly, and fat. I feel like I cannot possibly make my husband happy and that he couldn’t possibly love me. I don’t trust his words of love or affirmation for me, and I don’t feel like I deserve his support or his adoration. I feel like the worst parent on the planet and bemoan my children’s futures after being raised by the likes of me. I feel like people think I’m a fraud, I wonder why anyone would ever want to read any word I’ve ever written, and I feel very alone and very unworthy of love.
Notice what I kept writing. “I feel.” Not “I am”. My feelings have absolutely no bearing on reality. They are just feelings — dark thoughts that spring forward when my hormones rage. I don’t ask for them. I don’t want them. I don’t seek them. I don’t even think about it the rest of the month. It just comes upon me out of nowhere – hits me upside the head, and for about 72 hours I struggle, desperately, to not let them surface and to not let anyone know how utterly destructive and how terribly desolate I feel.
I’m certain that I’m moody. I’m certain that I’m short tempered. But what surfaces is absolutely nothing compared to the darkness swirling inside of me at the time.
Then the feelings are gone. As quickly as they come. There are no lingering dark thoughts. Everything normal returns as it is and as it was meant to be. I almost don’t even think of what just happened except to identify it and move on.
Feelings don’t always speak to the truth. And just because you feel a certain way does not necessarily mean that you should act on it. In fact, if everything you have to base a decision on is your feelings, I’d suggest stepping aside and not making a decision at all until your feelings can be thoroughly examined.
I have the companion guide for this book, and out of the dozens of study questions for chapter 8, I have chosen just a few of the questions. However, these are meaty, deep thinking questions. This guide is designed for you to work a chapter a week, and work through several self-searching questions every day. You may find it beneficial in our study of this book to have your own guide and be able to go through every question. But, for our purposes here, following are just a few questions:
1. Because we are made in God’s image, what does that mean about our emotions?
2. Describe a time when your emotions got the better of you — when you felt that your emotions were out of control.
3. Read Psalm 6. How did David bring God into his emotional struggle? How can expressing our feelings to God help us deal with runaway emotions.
4. Describe what happens to you during “that time of the month.” What physical and emotional changes do you experience?
5. It is commonly assumed today that depression is caused by physiological and neurological problems. But the Scriptures indicate that spiritual issues can actually produce physical and emotional symptoms of depression. Select two or three of those issues found on page 204-205 of the book and explain how they could contribute to the symptoms of depression.
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