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Lost in the Woods

Hello everyone!

So over the weekend, I sat at my laptop and typed out the beginnings of several different blog posts. None of them made sense or felt right. I tried to talk about writing from several different angles and every time, the post fell flat, I think because writing and I are having some technical difficulties. We're not seeing eye to eye right now. My characters are being ridiculously annoying and not talking to me and my instincts when it comes to plot and story in general is all haywire right now. Writing about writing isn't going over well with me.

Instead, I'm going to talk about something else. I realized the other day that I've been lost in the woods (thanks Frozen II for ruining that saying for me. I will now forever picture Kristoff singing a power ballad in the woods surrounded by reindeer and trees...).
Whyyy?? Why did you do this to me Frozen 2? 😭

My depression has been worse than it's been in a very long time, may anxiety feels out of control and I've been having a lot of issues with brain fog and tiredness (I'm now thinking it's mostly do to bad allergies). Writing has felt like pulling teeth and I haven't read a book that I've truly enjoyed and gotten lost in since like February. I feel like I made so much progress with my anxiety and depression and mental health at the tail end of last year and now all that progress has crumbled and I'm back to where I started. I overthink every little thing right now, I worry and obsess about the future, I get frustrated and sad easily, my insecurities are running rampant.

I don't mean to paint such a bleak picture, but I feel pulled to be honest... even when honesty is hard. My first instinct when someone asks how I am is to say I'm good and put on a smile. On social media my first instinct is to talk about anything other than my struggles. I'll hint at them, I'll say oh yeah you know my anxiety's been kind of bad this month or whatever, and then move on to talk about something else. But that doesn't feel very authentic and I am all about authenticity. I can't lie or pretend that everything's Okay right now. It's hard to even go on my Instagram and talk about books and writing when there's so many other things going in the world and in my head that are far more important.

I'm saying all this because Hannah Brencher, whose words have spoken to me right when I needed them on several occasions since I found her on Instagram and signed up for her Monday Club letters, really hit me hard on Monday with her newsletter. She was sharing a story about when she was pregnant with her little Novalee. Her pregnancy was really difficult and she suffered through some painful and not fun symptoms the entire time she carried Novalee. Before I get into that, the reason I decided to come on here and write honestly about how I'm feeling right now is because in her newsletter she said this: "Why am I sharing all of this? I promise it is not because I want anyone to feel bad for me. It's because I know I am not the only one with something hard and a bit ugly in my story that I am tempted to hide until the trees clear and life goes back to 'normal.' That is so many of us right now." She went on to say how God uses the ugliness of life to get the most glory. Even in the ugly, God is working. She said its easy to talk about prayer when they're being answered. When you're past the storm and all you see is the light of miracles and answered prayers God is giving you. It's much harder to talk about prayer when you're in the thick of it.

I was nudged on Monday to talk about where I'm at even if its not pretty, even if I'd rather not because it's the authentic thing to do, because everyone is struggling right now and I think it's important for everyone to know that they aren't alone. They aren't the only ones falling apart or feeling inadequate or like all the progress they had made in the past few months or even years have fallen apart in a span of three months. I have to say, the words started to flow automatically and my blog post block disappeared as I wrote this post. That usually happens when I finally break through my block and write what I was meant to write, what I needed to write... even if it's scary. And seriously, being this vulnerable and writing about this stuff is scary... but I guess I needed to get the words out on the page.

Back to me being lost in the woods. Every morning since the beginning of last December I've gotten up in the morning and written in my prayer journal. I write down sometimes very long prayers to God about everything. Sometimes they're specific, sometimes they're ramblings and sometimes they're me either complaining or being super petty and just throwing all of my messy thoughts onto the page for God. Anyways, I was praying and between Hannah Brencher's words and what God had been pressing into me over the weekend, I realized I had gotten lost. And because I'm a writer and a proud person I just have to share the - metaphor? I don't know what this is called, some writer I am ;) - that I came up with. It was like I was lost in the woods and all along God was a deer following me around, nudging me, trying to get my attention, trying to lead me back to the right path. But I was determined I could make my own path. I was going to solve my problems myself. I was going to cling to all the natural remedies and research and self-diagnosis to explain the many tiring physical symptoms I've been having lately. I had a machete and I was trying desperately to cut my own path through the forest. And all along He was there, waiting for me to be ready to listen. He waited for me to realize that no amount of natural remedies or research or self-help and complaining was going to make me 100% better. Hannah Brencher's story mirrors mine so much it's crazy. She was saying how she found this one remedy on Amazon. All the reviews raved about how it worked and made them feel better almost right away. So she bought it and started using it and started turning to those Amazon reviews to give her hope that she would feel better. But as she was scrolling through the reviews one day she felt God pretty much tell her "Hey, you know your hope isn't in an Amazon review, right? You know it's on me to heal you, not some remedy, right?" What she said next really hit me hard. "My hope was in me finding the solution before God could remind me he is the only solution to my wanting."

I'm not saying I'm going to stop trying to help my mental health. I'm still going to be doing research and trying out different supplements and practicing self-care and doing all those things... but at the end of the day, I have to always remember that God, in and of Himself, is the answer to my prayer. He should always be my Plan A, never my Plan B. It's not about not helping yourself. It's about being in the posture of remembering that God is always there. It's about always turning your gaze to God, trusting Him to lead you back onto the path and trusting that His timing is perfect. Life isn't great right now. I'm not in the best place right now... I'm not in the place that I thought I would be this year. I went into this year thinking this is going to be a great year! I had this deep feeling in December and January that 2020 was going to be a really, really good year. I laugh at it now because seriously, how wrong was I?? But I also have to remind myself that I can't see the big picture. I could get to 2021 and look back and smile and nod and say, I was right, God was right, 2020 was a good year despite the pain and messiness that went on.

In my prayer journal on Monday I wrote that I'm still not quite on the path, but at least now I know that I was lost, wandering around blindly and searching for something that only God could give me. The first step to getting back on track is to realize that you fell off the track. I wrote that God was there the whole time. It didn't feel like it and sometimes it still doesn't. Depression can do that to you, make you feel so lonely and hopeless and crushed, it feels like God isn't even there, that He isn't even listening. But He is! And He's sitting in the sadness with me and He's helping me get through it. He may not answer my prayers the way I would like Him to, He may not miraculously cure me of my depression and anxiety right at this moment or get rid of my fatigue and brain fog right when I want Him to, but He's still working continuously and He's still there, still talking to me, growing me through this and drawing me in closer to Him.

If you're lost in the woods or stuck in a storm, I know it might not feel like it right now and you might not believe me right now, but God is there. He is listening, He is nudging you back toward the path, He is giving you a lifeline. He may not answer your prayers on your timing or in the way you want... but that's for the best because our timing and what we want? It's not perfect. His is. And we have to trust in that.

And because I like action steps, I like things to do these are a few things that you can read or listen to or follow that might help you hear God again and start your walk back toward the right path.

Read the Bible. That should always be number 1. Along with prayer journaling every morning, I always try to read at least one chapter of some part of the Bible before I get out of bed. Reading the Bible opens the conversation between you and God and makes it a two way street. It's not just me talking to Him anymore, it's Him talking to me back through His living Word. It doesn't matter what book you start in. You could skip around from the Old Testament to the New Testament. One morning I'll read a chapter of James, the next a chapter of Ruth and then the next maybe a chapter or two of John. Let the Spirit guide you to what part of the Bible you need to hear from that day.

Pray. Even when it feels like God isn't listening and like He isn't going to do anything to help you. He's still there and He wants to hear from you. He wants to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. Just sit down and talk to him or write out a letter to him. Put all of the messiness that is in your head and heart onto the page and give it to Him. It's so freeing.

I love Hannah Brencher! She's an amazing, godly person and God has spoken through her many written things whether it be an Instagram post, one of her blog posts or her Monday newsletter. Please follow her and I highly suggest you sign up for her newsletter. They're absolutely wonderful and I look forward to them every Monday. Also, her book Come Matter Here is amazing too. In my opinion, pretty much everything she writes is amazing haha

I've been listening to The Pause Podcast. I'm going through their first season on James and am loving it. God's spoken through Lindsey and Marri and through James itself to me in the past week so many times.

Put on some worship music. God doesn't just speak through His Word. I believe whole heartedly that He can speak through anything. He speaks through people, through the written word, through music. There have been so many times in my life where a particular song will come on and it's like God put that song into the world just for me, like He had complete control over my shuffled playlist and turned that song on for me because He needed to tell me something through the lyrics.

I know this post has been kind of long, but man it feels good to write all this out and to share this with whoever decides to read it. I'm putting my words out into the world, words about God and my experience with Him and trusting that He will lead the right people to read them at just the right time for when that person needs to hear them the most.

I hope you all have a great rest of your week and that you continue to trust that God is sovereign and that there is nothing He can't handle.

How as your week been? How has God spoken to you lately? 

Comments

  1. This was a beautiful post! I really appreciate your honesty and authenticity in saying how you are really doing! <3 I hope that your depression continues to go away!

    ReplyDelete
  2. *hugs* This has been a nasty time for a lot of people's mental health. I'm sorry you've been struggling, but you're absolutely right: God uses the messy times to draw us to himself. I'll be praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really has... a lot of people are struggling. :( Thank you! <3

      Delete
  3. "That usually happens when I finally break through my block and write what I was meant to write, what I needed to write... even if it's scary."

    I relate with this so much. Thank you for sharing all this – I'm sending lots of hugs!

    ReplyDelete

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