An Unhealthy Habit: Difficulty Relaxing

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This is my 175th blog post on coffee soothes the soul. What? How is that even possible? It blows my mind!

I have written so many posts, I have to search through them to see if I have talked about a topic, how frequently, and in what capacity. Based on my quick search, I have talked about relaxing here and there. But, not in the way I intend to today.

I am going to be blunt about it—I am terrible at relaxing.

Quite frankly, even though I was born in Russia, my inability to relax is one of the most American qualities about me. And as I get older, it bugs me more and more.

Honestly, I have had many stern conversations addressing my inability to relax. Yet, I just don’t seem to get it.

If my studies in communication have taught me anything, it is that some cultures appreciate slowness and taking one’s time. Perhaps, that’s why some nations enjoy siestas.

On the other hand, other cultures, like America, thrive on always doing, being, moving. They thrive on what the cool kids of today call “the hustle.”

Sometimes, my body gets stressed as I try to relax. Granted, maybe, I am relaxing wrong, which could be part of my problem.

For, I have yet to understand that doing nothing doesn’t equate to relaxing. How do I know this? Well, yesterday, I spent the morning doing nothing and called it relaxation.

However, in the afternoon, I legit had a near breakdown because I was so stressed about the things I needed to do. Yet, if I had truly relaxed like I thought I did, I would not have been unhealthily stressed about my to-do list. Instead, I would have calmly faced what needed to be done.

Nevertheless, that very scenario I just spoke of is also part of the reason why I am terrible at relaxing.

When I create a to-do list, I set myself up for failure and stress before I even start. I do this by creating this idea that I must finish what is on my to-do list. In other words, that my to-do list is filled with requirements—not mere reminders and directional guides.

As a result, when I don’t complete said items—usually because I set unrealistic expectations for myself—I get upset and flustered. That ultimately leads to me being overwhelmed. And then, I manage to waste more time and cause undue stress on myself while I freak out.

Does that sound familiar to anyone else? Or, is it just me? Am I being too vulnerable? Perhaps.

But, I honestly think that’s what I need in this area of my life. I need to call out my sin. I need to call out my unhealthy habits.

I need to truly relax and not just say I will. And no, I don’t need to “learn” how to relax. That’s just an excuse for me to put it off or to pass the blame when I am stressed.

Most importantly, I need to break the never-ending cycle of setting aside a full day to “the hustle.” Then, going back to work the next day feeling depleted. Then, complaining about how unrelaxed I feel.

Instead, I need to actually relax. For me, that usually means Netflix binging. For others, that may mean reading a book. But, for me, I know that usually means using as little thought as humanly possible and enjoying a funny show.

It also means not doing too much at once just because I think I have the energy to do it. Quite frankly, just because I have the energy to complete a task doesn’t mean I should.

So, yesterday, that meant leaving the jeans in the dryer. That meant waiting to put the final touches on my blog. That meant allowing myself to watch another episode of my current Netflix binge.

My call to you is this: Discover the best way for you to relax. And I do mean the best way. Not just the way you think you should. Nor, does it mean do nothing. Find something that you enjoy doing that when you finish, you think, “Wow, I feel relaxed.”

And as cheesy as it sounds, you’ll know when you have discovered the method that works best for you. True relaxation somewhat puts me in a daze and I feel like I could accomplish even the hardest task.

So, please relax. Your body will thank you.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

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A Few Tidbits: Changing as an Adult

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Before I start the bulk of today’s post, I’d like to say, I just finished a course, which means I am only THREE classes away from obtaining my bachelor’s degree! I am extremely excited about that. It will take less than a year.

For the time being, though, I am greatly enjoying my break from classes.

However, today, I plan on discussing something that came to my mind moments ago that I’ve thought about off and on a few times. It is in my personality to be quite introspective. Part of this introspection sometimes involves looking back on how far I’ve come in life.

Mainly, how much I’ve changed.

I’ve been out of high school for a while now. And as I look back at that time in my life, I am amazed at who I was back then. I was a completely different person that was not too kind or gracious. I can see why a lot of people did not like being around me.

Granted, I also know some people who I did not enjoy being around in high school. Perhaps, it is just that season of life.

Nevertheless, it got me to thinking about how much I’ve changed in my tendencies and behaviors.

For example, one of the biggest ways I have changed since high school is I am much more compassionate. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I used to be quite cold-hearted. I didn’t really begin to process the trials I have been through until college.

So, I am convinced that was part of the reason why I wasn’t too kind. I bottled up a lot of undealt with feelings.

At least that’s part of the reason why.

I firmly believe the reason why I am compassionate now is because of Jesus Christ. God has completely transformed my life in a multitude of ways—one of those being my heart. Now, I am very much aware of others’ feelings and emotions. My heart breaks for complete strangers and those I love most.

My husband always tells me I am the most caring person he knows. Some of you might be thinking, “Well, of course, he is going to think that. He is your husband.”

But, I beg to differ. For, my husband saw God working in my heart long before I accepted Him into my life. He’s always believed in me and my potential even when I didn’t. He’s one of the select few people who has seen me transform from the person I was before knowing Jesus Christ to the person I am today.

And then there’s the simple fact he doesn’t tell me something unless he means it. For, he is well aware of the trust issues I continually struggle with. Therefore, to hear that from him of all people means a lot.

Additionally, I have this overwhelming desire to put others’ first—even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.

In fact, I know God has created a new heart in me when I accepted Him into my life because I have desires I never thought I’d have. For instance, I want to get a master’s degree in counseling. The person I was in high school would have never considered doing that. Perhaps, the master’s degree, but definitely not counseling.

Another way I have changed since high school is I procrastinate. In fact, I literally stopped writing my blog post now to do just that.

I used to do homework or any pressing thing that needed to be completed the day I got it. Now, I am on top of it if I finish my homework before 8:00 p.m. on the nights it is due.

I could have all the motivation in the world to do something, yet I will still push it off. This blog post is the perfect example of that. In fact, that leads to my next similar point.

I used to be able to stick to a schedule well. But, now, I simply take each task one hour at a time. The person I was in high school would’ve had this blog post done when I originally said I would as I planned out my day.

However, now, I am writing it many hours later, instead of relaxing like I desperately want to.

The last thing I have noticed is I am much more indecisive. I will go back and forth on a couple of options for far too long. This exact thing happened today, even. I could not decide what dessert to get between two options. Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to decide.

The worst part is, when I do make the actual decision, there are times I am still not sure of it! It is bad enough that my husband is prepared for me to change my mind when we order food. I can’t tell you how many times he’s asked, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

It may not seem like a significant change, but I used to be one of those people who had no trouble making decisions. I used to know exactly what I wanted long before I needed to.

Perhaps, that is because I hardly went out of my comfort zone. Instead, I simply chose what I knew would go well, regardless of how much I wanted to try something different.

So, there you have it. Only three ways I have changed since high school. I can assure you there are a plethora of others. But, I won’t bore you with those.

Instead, I will simply say what I always do–my call to you is this:

Look back at who you were last year, five years, or ten years ago. Ask yourself how you’ve changed. Don’t shy away from naming the gut-wrenching ways. For, as much as we hate to tell ourselves, we don’t always change for the better.

But, none of us will ever be able to understand where we need to go or how we need to grow until we take the time to look back. So, don’t be intimidated by that. Embrace the journey of self-reflection. You just might surprise yourself.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Blog: Longing to Share More

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About a year ago, I wrote a post explaining why I write the way I do on this platform. I explained why my blog is private, yet open.

I still stand by what I said. But, as I live more life and continue to process what I’ve been through, the ability to be private gets increasingly more difficult.

There are a handful of topics I desperately wish I could write about. But, at this point in my life, I simply can’t. Part of me thinks, maybe I could write about it and not publish it. However, I am not one to typically do that.

For, as my about page states, I firmly believe I have a life story worth sharing. I have experienced a fair share of difficult trials. Each of them greatly impacts who I am as a person and my perspective on life.

Nevertheless, I am constantly reminded that those stories are not mine alone. Others are involved. I’ll be the first to tell you, in this life, I have hurt and been hurt by a lot of people.

Processing said events gets harder when I don’t have an outlet…when I know in my heart of hearts that others have experienced what I’ve been through. I desperately and sincerely want to help others through my writing, but I live in fear.

I live in fear of betraying people. I live in fear of tarnishing others’ images (mine included). I live in fear of backlash, and not the kind you think. I live in fear of hurting others by simply being honest.

I live in fear that someone will tell me I have no right to feel the way I feel, that what I have been through should not affect me, that the past is in the past.

I want to reach a point in my life when I can fully embrace the process of expressing my life experiences in the written word. I want to reach a point in my life when I can detail what I’ve been through, to help others gain the whole story.

I don’t know when that time of life will come for me.

But, when it does, I will be fully prepared for it. If my life experiences have taught me anything is that no one can tell you your life story is wrong—because it is yours. And before one can ever truly help others, he or she must first be able to share their own stories.

Storytelling brings healing. Storytelling brings awareness. Storytelling brings restoration. Storytelling brings peace.

Storytelling unites people and reminds them they are not alone.

So, here’s to hoping one day I can tell you my full story. Here’s to hoping one day you can have a deeper understanding of the person behind this blog.

Here’s to hoping one day I can write the autobiography I know I am meant to publish.

But, until then, I must live in a season of waiting.  Perhaps, posting this will make the wait a little less difficult.

My call to you this: If you feel inclined to share your story, please do. As I said earlier, no one can take that away from you. It is yours to live and constantly edit with each new experience—good and bad.

And for those of you who can’t, you aren’t alone, dear friend.

Please remember, behind every blog is a real person. And no matter how much bloggers choose to share, they are still going through experiences they may never be able to talk about.

I hope and pray that all of us will be able to find peace in this journey of life.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Anniversary: A Difficult Celebration

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My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary. As much as I love celebrating our union and the love we share, the time of year is also extremely difficult for us. It is heart-wrenching for me to celebrate.

For, around the same time of year, several people close to us are mourning. My heart is always heavy for them because it is a constant reminder that you simply never know what someone is going through—that just as we celebrate, others near and dear are hurting in ways I will never be able to comprehend.

Additionally, at about the same time we celebrated our anniversary this year, I also remember having an extremely difficulty evening. You know that pit I referenced a few years ago? Although nearly three years have passed since then, some days, I feel like I am still in the pit.

In fact, some days, I feel like I have never left the pit.

Instead, the pit has simply been a ruse. A facade of my real life. That deep down, that pit is still infested. I still sit in the mire and confusion of that season of life.

Then, I think to myself—it was not a season of life. No, it was simply life.

And at that moment, I am reminded of two truths I learn to accept more and more each day: We live in a fallen world filled with sin. And, some parts of life will never get easier, despite what society may tell you.

Yes, I said it.

As I learn to get passed the tribulations I have been through, I have come to embrace the notion that some parts of life will always be difficult, no matter what. They may not bother us as frequently. But, they will always bother us.

And, as the years pass, they will continue to bother us and trigger us in situations we never thought possible.

I mean, mere days ago, I found myself crying so deeply about my moment in the pit like it had just happened yesterday.

Nearly three years later.

It doesn’t get easier.

Just like, mourning never gets easier. And that is why my anniversary is always difficult.

I find myself in a Catch-22. I don’t feel like I deserve to celebrate when I know so many around me are hurting in ways my heart can’t comprehend. I don’t think it is fair for me.

The only part of difficult experiences that change is you learn to adapt with each triggering moment. You learn to find your new normal. You learn to understand what your identity is in light of the situation. You learn to redefine your loyalties and priorities.

I have had a lot of heart-wrenching discussions in this past nearly three years. Every single time I come to several conclusions.

Sin is awful. Pain is awful. Death is final.

And this world is not my home. God has a plan for all the ugliness of this world.

He will redeem His people.

His will make all things new.

But, until then, all we can do is try our best within our human ability to cling to the cross.

To cling to the truth of the Gospel— “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – Corinthians 5:21.

To find hope in this broken, sinful world filled with hurting people.

I know this post may not make a lot of people happy. I know many may not agree. But, as someone who has gone through her fair share of trials, I tell you, it doesn’t get easier. You simply learn to accept that part of your life and try your best to live with it.

Yes, that will probably take counseling and many tears. But, there’s a new normal. Yet, it’s never quite like the old. For, your life just isn’t the same after trauma. It simply isn’t.

And that’s why one day or one conversation can completely trigger you all over again, no matter how much time has passed.

And that is why my anniversary is such a difficult time for me. Maybe it is the wannabe counselor in me. I don’t know.

Regardless, I will never have an anniversary where I am not aware of the hurt of this world. Perhaps, that was God’s plan all along. Yet again, I don’t know.

My call to you is this: In joyful moments, remember those who are hurting. For, just as one rejoices, another weeps. That doesn’t mean celebrations aren’t worth celebrating. What it means is we live in a fallen, sinful world. In a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ.

Be His light, friends. You never know who may need it, especially on your brightest days.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

For the First Time: I Need a Breather

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It’s unlike me to discuss my health so often. I say often because I just had a small update a few weeks.

But, as I write this, I find myself sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to get a CT scan done.

I’m battling a low-grade fever on top of my other undiagnosed health issues.

I’m feeling weak and extremely achy.

For the first time in my blogging journey, I tell you I just need to take a breather. I need to be honest with my current circumstances.

I don’t have the energy to be eloquent. I merely have the energy to be honest and upfront.

I would greatly appreciate prayers. Prayers that I get healthy. Prayers that I have the energy and strength to endure my various illnesses.

I leave you with that, dear friends. I thank you dearly and kindly for bearing with me.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).