IF YOU FEEL STUCK

May 27, 2018

I’ve been having really weird dreams lately. A lot of scary dreams and a lot of dreams that just make me feel very anxious. I’ve never been the type to assume that the dreams I have mean something — I always figured my dreams were just a random collection of information that my brain throws together while I’m sleeping. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a lot of my dreams have included anxieties and feelings that I experience in waking life. My dreams have been so accurate to the way I have been feeling and the things I have been dealing with lately, and it’s made me think a little bit.

Sometimes, I have days where I feel like I am doing much better than I have been in a while, but then something will happen or I will have a dream that reminds me that my situation and the feelings that came with it are still very much on my mind. It’s really discouraging.

I was thinking back on the past few months and how the way I’ve felt grief has changed throughout this time. For a good couple of months, I wasn’t able to fall asleep at all. I’d lay in bed for hours and then only be able to sleep for a few more before having to get up for the day. My mind would not turn off. I remember thinking, “okay, stop thinking. Don’t focus on the way you feel. Just go to sleep,” (obviously, that never helped, but it was worth a shot). It got to a point where I dreaded getting in bed because I knew it was going to be the biggest hassle to fall asleep. My anxiety/sadness over this situation used to be so prevalent. It was at the forefront of my mind.

I’ve been realizing that the anxiety and negative feelings I have lately are more subconscious —  at least, that’s what I’ve noticed through the dreams I’ve been having. That’s definitely not to say that I don’t still feel sad, because that feeling is there a lot. But, I have been able to focus on other things — I’ve been able to pay attention to more than just the underlying feelings I’ve had for months. I’ve gone out with friends, I’ve talked to new people, I’ve done things that I would not have easily been able to do a few months ago. Sometimes, convincing myself to do things like that can be a bit of a challenge, but the fact that I’m even able to be convinced shows me how far I’ve come throughout this season I’ve been walking through.

I guess the reason I wanted to write this out is to remind myself that I’m still growing, and I can see that growth when I look back. It’s easy to get discouraged when I have dreams like I’ve been having or when other things may come up that remind me of my anxiety and sadness that are still heavy on my heart. Sometimes I start to feel like I’m stuck in this place of depression and anxiety because it seems like I haven’t been moving forward at all. But, when I look back on my life just from the beginning of this year to now, I see so many positive signs.

I may still feel the weight of this situation when I go to sleep at night, but at least I’m able to fall asleep! I may still feel waves of sadness daily, but at least I’m able to put those negative thoughts out of my mind for a little while when I’m with friends or playing with my bunny or reading a book at Starbucks. I may still be confused and I may still want a specific thing to happen in my life, but at least now I can recognize and appreciate that everything that’s happening right now is a part of God’s plan for me and that he knew about it all before I had any idea that I’d be here. There are so many areas of my life that I could so easily allow to discourage me, and I often do, but looking at things from a different perspective can make such a difference.

I feel like when I write blog posts my words can come across as very optimistic and well-thought out, like I’ve always had these positive viewpoints on my negative situation. But honestly, the main reason I chose to start a blog is because I knew I would learn things along the way. Most of the posts I write start from me being entirely discouraged and broken down. I’m usually crying or panicking or thinking way too hard about something when I feel the urge to write. And if I’m not emotional before I start writing, I always get to that point. I have no idea how, but somehow, God always takes what I’m feeling and gives me a new perspective as I’m writing. So, by the time I’m done, I feel differently than I did when I started — not always necessarily better, but the Lord always gives me something to think about. I love that he is using my blog to help me in my healing process. All of that was a little side note, but it’s something that came to mind.

I think it’s very important to remember that healing is a process. It can take a lot of time. I knew it would take a while for me, but that doesn’t make it any easier as I’m walking through this. But, it does help to remember that the feelings that manifest themselves in dreams or other subconscious parts of my thinking are totally normal. The feelings that I experience that are entirely conscious are also normal — I still feel a lot, all this time later. I know I will probably still feel a lot for a long time, but I know that it doesn’t mean I’m stuck. Sometimes I have to look back on the evolution of my feelings and anxiety throughout this season to realize that I’m not stuck just because it seems like nothing is changing. I know I’ve gotten better at dealing with my feelings. I’ve been able to do more than I was able to do at the beginning of all of this, despite what I still feel. I’ve been able to fall asleep! That’s a big deal!

Feeling hurt for an extended period of time can really start to weigh on you and even convince you that you will never move past the pain. Even when you start to feel a little better, any little reminders that trigger old feelings can make you start to think that you will never be 100% healed. I’ve been in that mindset for a little while now, but I’m reminding myself daily that those thoughts are not the truth. I know that God loves and he heals. He wants us to be happy and he wants to heal our hearts from any pain we’ve ever experienced. Let that be the encouragement you cling to if you feel like you’re not moving forward. God is never going to leave us stuck. 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. – Deuteronomy 31:8

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