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We all progress through struggles at our own rate – you know this, right? We can’t compare our progress (or even our perceived progress) with someone else’s because even if the situation is exactly the same, we were all created differently, uniquely.
I’ve shared that I finally feel like I’m coming out from the very worst of my struggle. I’m pretty sure the struggle was intended to produce death – to kill…either me, my husband, or our marriage.
But it didn’t!
At the end of December, I was intending to launch into Grace Goals, feeling like I was at a good place in life. My marriage seemed strong, I had transitioned home full-time after working full-time the previous school year, my kids didn’t require as much one-on-one attention, and I felt quite settled.
Enter my friend, Ruthie. 😉
No, actually Ruthie is fantastic! I know her through blogging, and through Arabah Joy, who put Grace Goals together.
Ruthie was starting a challenge at the beginning of January and I thought it would pair beautifully with Grace Goals.
Ruthie’s challenge was called “31 Days to a Clutter-Free Mind“. I read her post (you’re going to want to also) and I realized how much it would help me with Grace Goals and with just starting to get back on track.
I was right – it’s helping tremendously!
God jumped in and said, “Good! Now you’ve got all the tools that you’re going to need; let’s do this.”
Over the first couple days of January, I realized what God wanted me to do.
I wanted to say no, I wanted to protect that last little nook of what I thought was self-preservation.
And as I worked through Ruthie’s clutter-free mind challenge, I realized I had to do what God was asking.
Have you ever asked, even begged for something,
only to receive it and then sort of toss it aside?
Okay, I didn’t do that exactly, but sort of.
I had asked God to restore and redeem my marriage – and He’s doing it!
I had pushed away a lot of fears about the things that had gone wrong. I prayed against them, but they ganged up on me.
And sometimes it’s just easier to rip off the band-aid, so here goes:
I was not regularly sleeping in my bed anymore.
I had asked God to restore my marriage, and then I decided to sleep on the couch (not always, but more often than not). I see my husband pretty regularly, but with 3 kids and various activities for each, we can be pretty busy. And I was willingly giving up the time in the bed each night because I was more concerned about the “what-ifs” that probably aren’t going to happen.
As I told Ruthie, I was more content to cozy up with Fear each night than to sleep with my husband.
Man, that realization made me feel ridiculous. No, I hadn’t cheated on my husband, but I sure put something else ahead of our relationship – the same relationship that I begged God to restore.
Now, with regards to the bed, I can tell you that we probably need a new mattress and that would be true. I can tell you that I was waking up in pain, and that would be 100% true.
But the fear of what might happen was bigger than the mattress issue.
When God said, “You need to start sleeping in your own bed again,” I knew there was no fighting it. I had Grace Goals and “31 Days to a Clutter-Free Mind” challenge. Ruthie’s course prompted me through making a plan for the things I needed to focus on.
Knowing myself, I know that plan needed to be detailed – from early morning all the way to bedtime. I knew I couldn’t leave myself a way out.
While I like to plan on making changes in my life, I can have trouble carrying them out. So what would sort of “force” me to carry out my plans? Accountability.
So before I could talk myself out of it, I sent my entire plan to a lady who knows my story and is pulling for my marriage. I asked if I could email her each morning, just to let her know if I was successful or not. And I knew that if I could do this for all of January (which coincides with the timing for Ruthie’s challenge), then I would be over this hurdle.
Because of the traumatic nature of what happened, there are still things that will trigger fear, worry and anxiety in my heart, and all of those were preventing me from climbing the stairs each night and sleeping in my own bed. So my plan included ways to combat all of that as well.
Each morning I email my friend and share how my night went, and she answers with encouragement every day! I’ve learned a lot through this process – mostly that if I stick to the plan I made, then I’m going to make it. When I start to deviate…well, those have been the tougher nights.
“So, how’s it going?” you might wonder.
Today is Day 18 since I started working my plan, so I’ve had 17 nights to work my plan. I’ve slept in my bed for 15 of the last 17 nights. I’ve only missed two nights – and I worked through each of those to determine what to do differently.
So what about the mattress issues? Well, we probably still need to buy a new mattress at some point, but I’m not waking up in pain. A few aches from time to time, but they’re gone with a few stretches. It turns out that the fear and anxiety I was dealing with (or, rather not dealing with as well as I should have) might have done more to cause me pain than the actual mattress.
And it turns out, I actually enjoy sleeping in my bed. That sounds silly, but after the crazy things that have happened here the past few years, I actually like sleeping in my bed.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. But I think that’s actually the real reason – in order to be honest.
See, we all get a glimpse of each other – of the good times, the struggles, the joys, the hurts. And when you’re on this kind of a journey, sometimes you need to know the reality – the nitty-gritty – that we all heal at our own pace.
I’d love for you to take a look at Ruthie’s challenge – it’s free, it’s helpful, and she simply lays out a plan to cut things from your schedule in order to de-clutter your brain. And what she offers is just a strategy – you can tweak it to your needs, or to whatever God speaks into your heart.
Whatever you’re working on, no matter how big it might seem, God is ready and willing to work with you.
The verse that keeps coming to mind through all of this is Psalm 4:8 –
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.
What a beautiful verse, and a precious reminder that I’m not the one who has to do the work of self-preservation. God provides the safety – even when I’m sleeping.
I hope this is a blessing to someone. Even if you’re going through a different situation, I pray that God would fill you with peace and give you rest!
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