Emily P. Freeman is an author and podcaster that I have come to know this year. Her book Next Right Thing (same title as her life-changing podcast) has made a huge impact on my life. This book isn’t necessarily about making big decisions, but about making even little daily life decisions. It’s so good. I made some big decisions in the spring while listening to her podcast, and it was a life-changer. She’s the one who helped me decide what to do for work this year, and God did the rest (I had a new job that is perfect for me lined up with-in a few days). Right now I’m working on balance, peace, calm, rest, simplicity, and intentionality and that’s basically what she breathes into everything she produces.
She sent out a newsletter through email with some questions for reflection as we are closing 2022. I thought I would answer them here!
Questions for Reflection and Discernment
- What worked? The most important things that I can look back on and feel changed my life were saying no to things that I thought I wanted but decided weren’t for me, finding balance, seeking Jesus again, realizing that I get to decide who I want to be, and finding treatment that changed my life.
- What didn’t work? Trying to control things that weren’t mine to control, trying to control people, trying to control my food (through tracking/diets), trying to control my anxiety… do you see a pattern here?
- What do I need more of next time? Letting go of control, seek Jesus, seek balance, living a life of health
- What was the loneliest part? Feeling like I’m the only person in the world who struggles with the specific physical anxiety symptoms that I struggle with.
- When did I feel most like myself? When things are somewhat clean and organized, when things are calm, when I’m listening to/singing worship music, when I’m hiking/walking (being outside in general), when I’m eating healthy, when I’m with camp family, playing games with my family, when I’m balanced (I’ve decided that I’m going to just consider my identity to be a balanced, consistent person who loves Jesus and others)
- In what areas did my confidence grow? When I began feeling like I knew what I was doing with my work, when I finally began feeling balanced in life, when I realized I get to decide who I am.
- Who (or what) have I learned the most from? My counselor! She has changed everything in a few sessions. I learned that I need to do the things even when I’m anxious and don’t feel like it (I had severe anxiety the night that the ladies went ice skating and it was an amazing time because I went anyway). I’ve learned to just accept my anxiety and stop fighting it (the more I tried to control it, the worse it got). I’ve learned how to breathe into my belly and that what I tell myself matters (when I’m feeling anxious I breathe into my belly and say positive truths to myself). I’ve learned that I get to decide who I want to be, and I can take the steps to be that person. I can and will! She also reminded me that as I do these things, I will begin looking outside of myself (being less self-centered) and see others’ needs. I will be more focused on loving others instead of surviving. I’ve also learned a lot through Emily P. Freeman (the author from the book above). One BIG thing that I learned is that it’s okay to say no to something I thought was for me but realized wasn’t (teaching at a local school). And it’s okay to do something I never thought I would do (teach online). Those decisions changed everything for me. It was her podcast that helped me with these decisions (like I said above). First I had to decide not to teach at a local school which was hard since I didn’t have something else lined up. But that didn’t take long because God had that planned all along (I applied for an online job, had an interview lined up the same day, and a job offer a few days later).
- What were my favorite yeses? Deciding to do the treatment that changed my life (I fought it for a long time because it took a lot of time and money). Deciding to teach online (this is IT for me). Letting go of control over things that weren’t mine to control.
- What were my surest nos? Deciding not to teach at a local school despite having an “in” (I would have had a job if I wanted it).
- What’s one thing I know for sure? God is amazing. He gives me what I need, when I need it. If hadn’t gone through the suffering, I wouldn’t know how amazing it is to live in the joy that I live in daily now. I am who God made me to be for a reason and a purpose. I can decide who I want to be. A Jesus loving, balanced, peaceful, joyful, consistent person who follows through with what she says she will do, is healthy, and loves others.
Before Moving Forward, name:
A progress I’m celebrating: I not necessarily a new person, I’m the person that I’ve always been, but I’m no longer buried under the weight of mental illness, control, and the black-and-white that I have lived in for so long. I like who I am for once! I am more balanced, loving, fun (I belly laugh and dance so much more these days), peaceful, and joyful!
A pivotal decision I’ve made: (many) teaching online instead of in person, living in balance, and continuing with the treatments that have changed my life!
A question I’m still carrying: Sometimes I question why I had to go through SO many years (more than 13) of mental illness to get to where I am now, but I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am where I’ve always wanted to be!
What I want most: To continue being the person that I am now! The person that I’ve become but really have always been (buried under the weight of mental illness). No “new year, new me.” New year, same me! I am who I have always wanted to be. But I also know that I can love even better, and I guess that’s what I also want!
I’m going to leave this with some amazing songs that I have found this year (specifically recently).