Old Adages: Listen to Your Elders

listening-ernest-hemingway-quote

I am currently on a break from school. I chose to take this break to simply breathe and catch up on life. I will be back in a few short weeks. As much as I may not want to go back, I know the sooner I do, the closer I am to graduating.

I haven’t completed as many tasks as I’d like during my time off, but I am okay with that. For, this break has been special.

This break, I learned a valuable lesson. Or, more like, accepted a well-known adage. This break, I have spent much of my time listening to those older than me, and it has been wonderful.

Some of these people have been a few years older than me, while others have been several decades older.

I have spent more time listening to these people and their stories than attending to a to-do list or looming deadline. I guess I always knew the relational person in me would ultimately prevail.

Nevertheless, even though I have been a relationship-driven person for quite some time now, it was not until a few weeks ago that I began to understand why people say, “Listen to your elders.”

I didn’t get it until I got it, you know?

It is important to listen to those older than you because they offer a multitude of experiences and perspectives. For, I have been amazed at what some people have gone through and accomplished in their lives.

In my intent listening, I have constantly been reminded just how small I am and how little I actually know. I have had some difficult, humbling discussions with people these last few weeks. Discussions that remind me everyone is hurting silently.

And even though I feel small, I also look forward to my future. I look forward to what my life holds. I look forward to hearing more stories. I look forward to one day being that older person for someone. Or, maybe I already have been for someone in some way, I don’t know.

What I do know is my dirty house is not as important as being there for others in their time of need. A dirty home is not as important as a listening ear.

My call to you is this: As cliché as it sounds, listen to your elders. Because let’s be honest, that’s the only takeaway and reason for writing this.

To let you know, sometimes, old adages are oddly spot on.

So, listen to those older than you. Hear what they have to say and acknowledge what they’ve been through. Hopefully, in the process, like me, you’ll be humbled. And, you’ll have an innate desire to listen to even more people.

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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Shattering the Stigma: Anxiety

10-percent-experience-90-percent-response-neddermeyer-quote

These last few weeks have been extremely challenging for me—despite not being in school. They have not been challenging because of my poor health either. Although, my poor health does not help the situation.

Lately, I have been extremely stressed. In fact, I have been so stressed that I gave myself an anxiety attack. I won’t divulge what caused the episode.

Before continuing on, I must mention one thing that I don’t know if I have touched on before. At one point in time, my counselor asked me if I struggle with anxiety.

At the time, I said I did not.

Might I add, she did not ask to be rude in any way. But, from my extremely limited understanding, I think it is common for people who struggle with depression to also struggle with anxiety.

And for those who don’t know, I struggle with depression. You can read more about my journey with depression here.

So, it only made sense for her to ask me if I struggled with anxiety. I still stand by my comment that I did not when she asked a couple of years ago.

However, my reaction to my recent stress affirms to me, I do, in fact, struggle with anxiety. In fact, the entire last year or so affirms I struggle with anxiety.

It took me a while to come to terms with it. I think a small part of me wanted to deny it. However, in this past year, I have talked with a lot of people who struggle with anxiety and seen it firsthand with some close to me.

The more I talked about it and the more I saw, the more I realized, I can identify with anxiety quite a bit.

I haven’t quite figured out how deep this struggle is. But, I am very well aware of it.

It is crucial for you to know I am not ashamed of my struggle with anxiety. I advocate for tackling mental health. I strive to make sense of it in some way, shape, or form. Or, at least to the best of my human ability.

I strive to understand my experience in hopes of helping someone make sense of their own.

So, I tell you: I struggle with anxiety.

I hope to one day express my experience in detail. But, until then, I simply thought now was the opportune time to share. For, like I said earlier, these past few stressful weeks have helped me come to terms.

It is my hope and prayer that my sharing may encourage someone else to do the same. It is my hope and prayer that my sharing would help shatter the stigma of mental health. It is my hope and prayer that my sharing would give me the motivation to seek help.

It is my hope and prayer that my sharing would remind even just one person—you are not alone in your struggles.

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).

Change and the Company We Keep

Proverbs 27-17

As I write this, I have a lemon cake cooling. I don’t particularly care for citrus flavored desserts. In fact, I don’t think I have ever really enjoyed citrus treats. That has never changed about me.

Nevertheless, other parts of me have changed. A few weeks ago, I shared about how I have changed as an adult since high school. I thought I’d take that post in a different direction and share how I have changed since meeting my husband.

My husband and I have been in a relationship for a little over five years. We have known each other for about five and a half years, though. It seems like on a weekly basis, I find myself saying or doing something I would have never done before meeting him.

I guess, in a way, that is evidence that we become the company we keep. The people we surround ourselves with, indeed, do impact our actions and behaviors.

For instance, one of the ways I have changed since meeting my husband is I have become nerdier about technology and whatnot. I have always been a nerd in my own way. Before meeting him, I was mainly nerdy about books or grammar. Granted, I still am!

But, now, I find myself talking about Apple events, sound, finances, computer operating systems, or the YouTube algorithm! I will say, I think part of the reason why I talk about those topics more is my husband is interested in all those things.

Nevertheless, I think what sets it apart as me personally changing is now, I am starting to enjoy talking about such things. I want to discuss them. In fact, sometimes I am the one who begins the conversation—not my husband. Those types of topics are a natural part of my everyday conversation now.

Another way I have changed since meeting my husband is I am much more open about my faith. Until I met him and began taking my relationship with God seriously, people knew I identified as a Christian. But, I never really took the time to explain why or in what way.

I am still not as confident about my faith in a verbal sense. I would much rather profess my faith in a written manner, thus this blog. But, I am more inclined to face-to-face now, thanks to his guidance and support.

My husband has shown me it is more than okay to profess my relationship with Jesus. For, even if I am stumbling to get my words out due to nerves or uncertainty, God will use me.

Also, before meeting my husband, I hardly ever relaxed. He has been extremely good about making sure I at least make an effort to relax. Sometimes, that means just asking me if I have relaxed. Other times, that means physically taking me away from what I am doing to ensure I actually relax.

Truth be told since meeting my husband, I am much better about taking care of my body in general. It is much harder to slip into negative, unhealthy habits when sharing a small space with someone else. I honestly don’t think I would be fairing as well as I am—even in the midst of health issues—if my husband was not here.

Nevertheless, I think the change that has surprised me the most is I am not as much of a pushover. I can’t tell you how many times he has told me, “Renata, you need to say no.”

At first, it used to drive me crazy when he said it. Even to this day, it still can at times. Nevertheless, I can see myself learning to say no and setting boundaries before he tells me I need to.

Granted, it could also be because of some life events that I am like this, too. But, I doubt those events are as impactful as my husband’s loving persistence. Since meeting him, I have learned to truly evaluate my priorities in life at any given moment.

Sometimes, it is hard to make that analysis. But, deep down, I know it is vital to my overall health and well-being.

I think this realization brings me to my main point of this blog post. Since meeting my husband, I have constantly had someone right beside me calling me out on my sins, poor habits, and encouraging me in my positive attributes.

And, for that, I am grateful.

I am glad he is the company I keep. I am glad he is by my side—even if he can drive me crazy at times. I am glad God is using him to mold me into His image.

My call to you is this: Find someone in your life whose company you truly admire. It does not have to be a significant other. But, find someone who can know you on a level that no one else can. Let this person help shape you—in small and big ways.

And in time, like me, you will begin to see a gradual change in yourself that can only be explained by God’s work in your life through this person.

I have said it many times before and I will say it again. We need other people. We are not meant to live this life alone. Remember that as you try to figure out who you want to be. For, we are the company we keep.

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).

Understanding the Body: Gut Feeling

gut-feeling-robert-heller-quote

Boy, did I need that power nap I just took! I had an extremely long day at work today. I knew I needed even a wink of sleep if I was going to write a blog post. All is well, though. I’ve napped. Now, let’s write a blog post.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I listen to my gut more. I listen to the infamous “gut feelings” we get in life. I’ve never understood where the “gut feeling” comes from or how it truly works, but I am enamored by it.

It’s truly incredible to think our bodies can tell us when we should say yes or no.

I think a lot of times our bodies are there to help us make decisions because we don’t always know what choice to make.

Or, our guts are there to make sure we don’t get ourselves into a mess we can’t get out of.

But, most importantly, I think the human body’s ability to guide decision making is another way of God showing us that He is in control and that we are fallible creators who often get blindsided or distracted by the things we want—not necessarily what we need.

We often force our surroundings and encounters to show us what we want, instead of listening to evidence that says otherwise.

For instance, I recently took a mini-vacation. As I was on the trip, I had this gut feeling that said, “Don’t live here, no matter how great a job offer may ever be.”

Granted, I am not looking to move right now. But, it was a city a lot of people may consider moving to at one point in their lives.

Therefore, if I did move there, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Nevertheless, I just knew in my gut, it wasn’t for me. I just knew I wouldn’t feel at home.

I was grateful for that feeling. It took a great deal of guesswork out of the equation for me. Plus, it helped me know that I shouldn’t pursue an opportunity there if it ever presented itself.

Or, take for instance, in my time of job searching throughout life, I have had a gut feeling about a company or position a few times. Usually, my gut feeling is right.

Therefore, no matter how upset I may have been that the hunt for a job would continue, I was extremely glad I listened. For, listening to my gut has also led me to wonderful jobs—ones I would not have had if I said yes sooner just because I was impatient.

I guess I wrote this post to simply say I am glad part of God’s intricate design of man included an innate gut feeling. I am glad the human body is wired to help us in our times of need, much like fight or flight.

My call to you is this: Listen to your gut feeling. Start with small moments such as, “Should I wear this shirt with these pants?” or “Should I substitute this ingredient for that?” Then, eventually lead to big moments such as, “Should I take this job?” or “Should I make this move?”

The whole point is, listen to your gut. Your body may not help you make every decision, so when it does give direction, take note and consideration.

Gut feelings don’t happen too often for a reason. Therefore, when they do, it is worth listening.

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).