One brave thing at a time

They say the third week of January is usually the week in the New Year where people feel most depressed. I can’t remember where I read it, but they say that it’s because the holidays are officially over and we all settle into our little routines again and we realize that even with all the positivity surrounding the turn of the year, the rah-rah’s and the “This year will be our year!” thing…everything is still pretty much the same. I don’t know if it’s just psychological or what, but I am deep in that third-week-of-January blues, thank you very much.

I’m trying to figure out what’s up with this year. I mean, a new year comes every 365/366 days, I know, so I should be used to these ups and downs at the start of the year, but somehow it feels that there’s more things at stake this year. It feels like this personal crisis is bigger than the usual. Is it because I am starting to feel older? Is it because of all this blogging and accountability? Is it because I don’t exactly have anything to look forward to this year? I was trying to figure out if they’re temporary and they will pass once I get into the groove of the new year again, but another part — a bigger part — is telling me not to ignore these things and try to deal with them for a change. I had a huge suspicion that it’s the latter, and I really need to get my act together because if I don’t…well, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

I hit crisis mode again last Monday, and it had the most perfect timing because I was on a sick leave and I had more time to think. I tried to distract myself, but I ended up reading articles that just jolted me and made me panic even more. What sucked then was stress was a trigger to my asthma, so when I start stressing out over life in general, I get an asthma attack and then I stress over that. It’s a vicious cycle.

I won’t go into detail why I went to crisis mode because they’re kind of personal. But I didn’t really want to waste that crisis mode because I realized that there’s always something to learn when I get to those moments. Of course they involve a lot of crying and writing and despair…and sometimes I don’t feel like I can bounce back. But I always do, and it’s really by God’s grace that I find myself back on my feet again.

See, here’s the thing. It’s no secret that I over think. I realized that the reason I panic most of the time when I think of things is that I tend to think of things in fast forward. I jump from Point A to Point Z, and I panic because I feel like it’s such a huge jump, and there will be so many drastic changes and I don’t know if I can deal with all of it and if it’s even the right choice. ((See how I wrote this sentence? That’s me on panic mode.)) And then I try to imagine what would happen if I didn’t make the choice and I see myself regretting everything that hasn’t happened yet. When I get into that panic mode, the easiest option that comes to my mind is to run away. Do something else. Distract myself. Pray that the thing that’s bothering me will go away without me doing anything about it. I was afraid of taking action because I don’t know if I can handle getting the thing I set out for, but I was also afraid of not taking action because I didn’t want to regret the things I didn’t do.

No wonder I go on panic mode, right? But I’m forgetting something:

It’s not over.

In fact, nothing has happened yet. And I keep on forgetting that. I keep on forgetting that I’m still at Point A, and I won’t get to Point B, C, D, and so on if I do not move. And all the over thinking and fast-forwarding is really what my puny little mind can come up with, but haven’t I learned already that God wants what is good for me? Why do I keep on forgetting that He is trustworthy and faithful? That He delights in making my dreams come true?

Why am I so forgetful with these facts? Why do I keep on forgetting that His love has never failed me, ever?

Baby steps.

Earlier today (after I have sufficiently calmed down from crisis mode), I was talking to some friends about some of the things I’m doing for my goals this year. These are tiny things, things that aren’t too hard to do and isn’t really too scary — things that I know I can manage without totally freaking out or melting down. However, they are still a bit nerve-wracking despite their smallness. These were two conversations that happened at different times of the day and about different things, and I find it funny that they both said this line: It’s the year of the brave, right? Then I laughed, because they’re right. They were absolutely right.

Maybe having courage doesn’t always mean that you do grand things at once. Maybe it doesn’t always mean that you will do things that will make people stop and gape at how wonderfully fearless you are. Maybe being courageous means doing things one at a time. Dealing with things carefully, discerning which things to tackle, and you know, just taking it one step at a time. Like joining a writing class so you can finally finish writing that book. Or volunteering to do a task that you’ve never really done before. Or taking that step to reach out to people who can give you good counsel. Or…it could simply be sitting still and waiting, hoping (not expecting) for things to work out for the best even if a huge part of you wants to run away and end things even when it hasn’t really started yet.

And of course, trusting that things will be more than okay.

Because things will be okay. :)

It’s not over.

This article came up on Boundless today just as I was thinking about how to write this entry. Talk about God’s perfect timing, yes? It’s a pretty long article, but the writer quoted this part that really hit home:

Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent…But they won through step by step, by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories, by faithfulness in very little things…No one sees these little hidden steps…There is no sudden triumph. ((Quoted by Hansel, Tim. Holy Sweat. Word Books Publisher (1987), p. 130.))

I can’t say that I won’t have crisis modes later on, but I’m writing this post down as a reminder, because God knows how much I easily forget. Funny thing: once I got over the panic mode and I thought of all the things that could happen, the infinite possibilities that could unfold for me this year, I felt excited. Nervous, yes, but excited.

I think I can handle that. :)

Keep calm. Be brave. One step at a time.

Let’s do this. :)

I know I have friends who want to make 2013 a year of courage…so this is also for you. You brave and beautiful people: we can do this — one brave step at a time. :)

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