Yes, this is supposed to be an uplifting blog focused with encouraging words and hope for pressing through this life while striving to bring God glory in all that we say and do. And I seriously hope that at the conclusion of this blog, you will be just that! Encouraged and uplifted!
So here she is! January. Dressed in her overtones of blue and grey, accessorized by geometric designs on round discs that are perched upon skinny retractable sticks, and with chunky people running around in yoga pants, pashmina’s and duck boots! What a sight!
We hide out in our homes because nothing we put on seems to fit anymore since Christmas! How did that happen?! We’ve had Christmas and now we have the drudgery of taking down the dead tree, throwing out the wilted Poinsettia’s, and cleaning up all of the decorations that we put out. It’s cold and rainy. Oh, and January is half over and we haven’t even begun to start our projects of “this year I’m gonna get organized!” What a let down! Procrastination has quietly and quickly sneaked in and taken a foothold! Secretly, we are already demotivated as we proclaim our “word for the year” and that brings on feelings of hypocrisy. Oh how we want to be so spiritual! Start the New Year right! But instead, we hang our heads in weakness, fatigue, and shame.
January 15th …Blue Monday, the pinnacle of depression or so says Social Media and other non-experts on the matter. But, no one needs to be an expert to identify January as the month that seems to drag us down. The weather is drab and dreary. The sun seems to have halted its energy-bringing rays into our lives and we haven’t the motivation to do much of anything!
Here’s the pseudoscientific formula created for identifying Blue Monday!
The formula takes into account factors like cold weather, shorter days, debt levels in January, the emotional letdown after the holidays, failing at resolutions, and lagging motivation levels.
Sound like something you might be a little too familiar with?
One blogger (author unknown) in the UK sums it up like this:
‘I see people who are exhausted – physically and emotionally drained and this exhaustion means that our stress response kicks in, and this drains us further. ‘This exhaustion leads to low mood and the January blues are born. ‘This is different to depression, its short-term exhaustion and by allowing yourself to rest, to rejuvenate, taking the pressure off and healing from the drama of the Christmas period you can often recharge yourself and lift your mood.
‘I believe that January is a time for reflection and rest. This does not mean make a load of resolutions that you are unlikely to follow through, it means rest!’
I must be honest here and tell you that I strongly dislike January! It’s a very difficult month for me for many reasons surrounding the past loss of loved ones and sheer exhaustion. I don’t think that I fall into the category of the population that experiences SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but I do believe that a lack of sunlight and physical weariness play a big part in it for me.
So how do we cope?
Maybe your soul is thirsty, like Kathy blogged about last week. Jesus can quench that thirst and provide the light that your soul needs. If you missed last week, be sure to go back and read it.
Perhaps you don’t feel dry, but just lacking…lacking in motivation, joy and laughter. You’re tired! Your brain is on overload with new beginnings and it’s the realization of all that needs to be done in January that is overwhelming and depressing you. It’s true that in our eyes, January is a time to begin again. But what we have forgotten was that with new beginnings, intentional prep work needed to take place. You can’t plant a beautiful garden without prepping first!
So here we are at the end of January. We were so busy with Thanksgiving, family, friends, gifting, Christmas programs, Christmas, and New Year's Eve festivities that we literally didn’t plan for January or it’s blues. Now it’s come and gone and we fall to our knees with feelings of anxiety, fear, and shame. Sure, we needed rest and we took a little break, but it’s not the rest that has landed us in the realm of January blues. It’s the lack thereof… of real rest!
Intentional, scheduled, disciplined, purposeful rest!
It takes a lot of prayer, energy, the Word, attitude adjustments, and sometimes a little help from a friend to help pull you from the mouth of the great Blue monster (and we thought he was red). You see, Satan likes for us to wear ourselves down because it is then that our guard is low and our mind becomes his playground. When I felt pretty low this week, I felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit reminding me to put on the whole armor of God, starting with the helmet of salvation! As I sat on the sofa that morning with my coffee, the verse that matches my word for the year seemingly floated across the room and circled overhead.
Well, it’s still raining outside and my toes are cold, but my heart is warmed and refreshed by the faithfulness God ALWAYS provides for my soul and life! He can do the same for you if you ask.
So, the truth about January? Yeah, it's hard. God didn't promise skies would always be pretty blue, but He did promise that He'd see us through. And with that my friend, I find great hope and peace. As should you!
Resting in His Joy,
Need a perfect opportunity to help you climb out of your our own BLUES spiral? Attend a Restore Retreat! This will be our only overnight retreat for 2018. March 10-11 we will offer "Awaken to the Pursuit of the Bridegroom" with a Women Investing in Women twist. We want you to bring a special woman in your life (sister, daughter, mother, inlaw, aunt, niece, or friend) and together experience, as the Bride of Christ, the beauty and power of genuine bridal devotion from Jesus, our Bridegroom. Registration deadline is Thursday, February 22. We only have 12 rooms available! Reserve yours now!
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