Doing New Things – Three Things Thursday

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 NLT
That moment when you break 18 eggs all at one time 😱

Friends, this week has been a constant mess, from breaking an entire carton of eggs to fighting with the tiny human about school work and getting chili oil in my eyes. Normally at this point in a week like this, I’d be done – so over it that I would just cruise through with the minimum effort needed to get to the weekend so at least the schoolwork arguments would end for a few days.

BUT…

I only cried when I got chili oil in my eyes.  I didn’t even lose my crap when the dog took a nap in actual crap and tried to come inside with crap all over her shoulder.  And all those eggs I broke Monday?  We had delightful quiches for breakfast this morning.  (Yes, I just said “delightful” about quiche, and I feel just as weird about it as you do now.)  I feel okay in spite of all the mess, and that’s a new thing for me.

I finally feel like there is a very real pathway through the desert for me, and there is a river flowing through the dry wasteland that is depression brain (besides the chili oil tears from my eyes).  So here are the three things you should know this Thursday:

1. There is always hope.

I know from my own experience that it doesn’t always feel like it.  I haven’t ever really been suicidal, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve never thought the world would be better off without me.  But that was a lie from the pit of Hell that is never something God would say to you or want you to say to yourself.  We are each specially designed by God and valuable as his work of art and destined to fulfill his purpose in our lives.  Never stop believing that.

2. I had to make changes for the better in every aspect of my life and be consistent with those daily actions to see this giant improvement.

I started with a few things and built on it, but God isn’t just interested in our spiritual health.  He wants us to be healthy and strong in our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our work, and our faith.  You may have to address the biggest fire first, but it takes a whole being approach to reap the biggest change rewards.

3. At some point, I will relapse and have depression symptoms again.

I’ve dealt with it long enough to recognize that I will not be one of those people who has an episode or two and then gets over it.  I will need to treat depression like a chronic disease for the rest of my life.  It sounds a tiny bit depressing just saying that like a fact, but it is a fact, and acknowledging the fact means I can manage it like any other chronic illness can be managed.  I can expect good times, and I can expect relapses.  It’s just a fact of life, so when it happens I can remember that it won’t last forever and it’s just part of the illness (not a mental or moral defect).

So, when life cracks all your eggs, make a delightful quiche.  And when life cross contaminates your paper towel with chili oil that you then wipe your eyes with, may your tears form rivers in the dry wastelands and may your milk be cold and close at hand.

It’s a good thing they’re cute.

No Really, I AM a Green Tomato

As this year’s volunteer sous chef for our company’s annual Memorial Day cookout, I sliced more than a dozen tomatoes, and, while they were all ripe, red tomatoes, a few of them held some surprises.  There was one that clearly didn’t get the Fibonacci memo and went for nearly perfect symmetry and an even number.  There was one that looked like lace inside, and then there was one that tried to tell me it was a green tomato.  It was a perfectly ripe red tomato, but the sticker said “green.”

After some discussion with the red Green Tomato, and then a little reflection, I’ve come to realize we humans do this all the time.  Green Tomato started off as an actual green tomato, as all red tomatoes do.  Green Tomato started its life on the produce aisle in the green tomato bin as a green tomato.  And then Green Tomato began to change; it ripened and grew into a red tomato.  The grocer, in all it’s wisdom and visual acumen, one day discovered a red tomato in the green tomato bin and relocated Green Tomato to the red tomato bin, but Green Tomato clung to its old label.  Green Tomato wanted to keep being the same in spite of its change in life status and location in the produce aisle.

I know God has dragged me kicking and screaming into a new stage of life before (you, dear reader, are far more mature and would never do anything but move gracefully on to the next chapter…).  Not all life changes are difficult, but they all require an adjustment for us to successfully navigate the new terrain – a new label, if you will.  But we can’t just start calling ourselves “red tomatoes” and still try to live like a green tomato.

Merely switching the label won’t do; we have to change our mindsets and our behaviors to adapt to our new label at each stage of life.

Sounds easy, right?  Of course it sounds simple when I type it out, but in practice, we all know it’s more complicated.  I am a writer.  But sometimes I don’t write.  (Not that I’m supposed to be writing 24/7, but I should be writing at least a little bit daily to develop my skill and discipline.)  I am obviously acting like the red Green Tomato when I fail to act according to my new Red Tomato label.  It’s not enough to just call myself Red Tomato, I have to continue to practice acting like a red tomato in order to be the best, reddest tomato I can be.

What about you?  What old labels are you holding on to?  What new habits do you need to start practicing in order to be the best, reddest tomato you can be?  I’d love for you to share here in the comments.  Also, for more personal sharing, join the Mabbat FB group for prompts throughout the week and space to share what you’re working on in a friendly, safe place: https://www.facebook.com/groups/773975689656609/?ref=bookmarks

Also, if this isn’t how you cut onions, you’re definitely not living your best tomato life.