FORWARD: Sometimes Moving Forward Means Resting Along the Way
By Sally Tippett Rains
Right before I turned in my manuscript for Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation I found a note my mother had written and in it she outlined the “Keys to a Happy Life” and they were almost all the same as the ones I had chosen as chapters for the book. Here I had spent 15 months on the book and the last week I was working on it a note she had written to us literally fell out of a book. I didn’t remember seeing it before.
For the next 15 weeks we will look at one key to having a happy life each week.
Fifteen Keys to a Happy Life
F orward- Keep moving forward
I nitiative- Take the initiative and start things.
N ow- Do it now, live in the now
D etermination- Stay determined to making it
C ommunity –Accept the help of others
O ptimism- Don’t give up on yourself or others
N ew Ideas- Maybe it’s the time to try new ideas
T enacity- Stay in the game, you can do it
E nergy – Do what you need to do to have energy.
N ormalcy – Embrace your “new normal”
T rust – Trust yourself and others.
M indfulness –Don’t worry about the future.
E ncouragement Encourage yourself and others.
N utrition and Health – Take care of yourself.
T ranquility – Learn to just be at peace.
Today- FORWARD: Keep Moving Forward
When times are tough the best thing we can do is move forward. Even if we can barely move, we want to do something that will show ourselves we plan to keep going when we can– that we will never give up no matter what. But sometimes, in order to move forward, we have to rest and refresh our souls.
If we have bad things going on in our life, we can choose to feel sorry for ourselves, because people would understand– “Oh the poor thing, and she’s (he’s) never been the same since.” But we won’t do that because we are going to keep moving forward. We’re going to make it out of this mess. I’m not saying you have to be happy every minute of every day, I’m just saying we can still move forward even in tough or stressful times.
I pride myself in having a lot of energy and I am always working on something—usually two or three things at once, but this week I overdid it in all areas.
I hit the wall this weekend. When you hit the wall you can’t do anything. It’s an awful feeling, but in the end it’s good because it gets your priorities in order.
I was doing pretty well, seemingly sailing through all I had on my plate– until it started to unravel and my first sign should have been when I was cross with someone I care about– about the dumbest thing. Then a project we had been working so hard on hit a snag and we couldn’t figure out what to do. That was it.
I am sure you know that feeling– because it’s happened to you. You’ve been so strong, working so hard, going through something that you never could have imagined.
You felt like you were holding it all together—and you were. You were choosing happy and trying to make the best out of the situation you were presented with. And then the smallest thing will do it to you. It’s usually not the big things that do us in—we do pretty well with the big things. It’s once everything piles up and some meaningless thing hits you wrong and BOOM.
It hits us in many ways: tired beyond belief, on edge and angry, headache, stomach ache, shakes, dizziness, whatever it is that your body does to tell you you’ve reached your limit. We often see it coming, but we don’t listen.
Sometimes God just gives us a wake-up call. “SLOW DOWN!” He says. And sometimes He says it in a big way.
Looking back on it I knew it had been building up– if you think back on things there are usually clues that you are overdoing it. But we tend to ignore them because we are Super Man or Wonder Woman. We are the ones who need to be strong for everyone else– at least you are, right?
One thing I’ve learned in life is sometimes in order to keep moving forward we need to rest.
We can hit the wall when things are building up for a while, or sometimes a day comes when everything seems to be against us.
You know how some days you wake up and everyone you run into seems to want a piece of you. It’s like they start getting in your face. “Did you do this? Did you do that? Can you do this? You are doing that wrong. You are making the wrong decision. You should be doing this…”
You get the picture because you know the feeling. You’ve just “had it.” During extreme stress or times of overworking, anger builds up.
You want to find peace—but instead the stress makes you feel angry at any little thing. You say hurtful things or you take things wrong.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 CSB says, “Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools.”
As I was forcing myself to rest, I thought about the time I took a “sabbatical.” Maybe it’s time for another one. You should try it. A sabbatical is a period of time during which someone takes a leave of absence from their regular work to travel or study. It is usually used so a person can become rejuvenated and come back to their job with enthusiasm, and often people try to learn something while on their sabbatical.
The time I took my sabbatical was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Our minister had taken a sabbatical and was talking about it and I thought “why can’t I take one?” so I came up with ideas on how to do it.
I never left town, I just came up with some things to add to my everyday life –and work on myself while building in time to relax and rejuvenate.
When we get to the end of our proverbial rope we have to save ourselves. We have to find a way to move forward for our own mental health.
Sometimes you are so busy thinking of others and taking care of others that you forget to take the time to provide yourself with what you need.
We can’t always leave or take time off, but we can change our routines or thought processes for a period of time. Try it for a week or two. It’s like a rest that keeps you going.
If you are spending a lot of time waiting while a loved one is sick– or if you are the one who is sick. Instead of scrolling your social media, why not read a book or learn something. Ted Talks are great as are documentaries. Just expand your life from your immediate problems and learn things. That is a perfect way to keep moving forward even when it seems like you can’t.
Did you used to like to knit? Then get out some knitting needles and try it again. Did you used to have a hobby? We can put a little jolt into our day by adding things we enjoy.
Give Yourself a “Sabbatical”
I went to the library and checked out three books—all in the “self-help” and “Christian” genre. If you are a person who thinks “I don’t need self-help books” think about me–I wrote the book on how to be happy (literally) — but I still like to read motivation and inspiration written by others. If it’s positive and makes us think, it’s good. The Bible is a great motivational, inspiration book. Make sure you “gitcha some word” as I like to say.
I made it a point to only put good things in my brain the week I did my sabbatical. There were no gossip magazines, no love stories, no biographies (which I love) and no political—just positive, loving thoughts
Do things you like to do
What do you like to do? I love to sing and play my autoharp so I made the time to dust it off and play it. I love old TV shows and black and white movies so I watched The Andy Griffith Show and some old movies on Turner Classic Movie channel. I love to swim so I called a friend with a pool and asked if I could come jump in her pool. I called friends who make me laugh.
Eat Healthy and Exercise
I decided I am worth it to take the time to decide what I am going to eat ahead of time.– rather than just grabbing fast food when I am stressed. For that time I ate more fruits and vegetables and concentrated on how I could eat healthy to feel better. I’m not talking about going on a big diet. Just add or eliminate something in hopes of feeling better.
I also made sure to do my exercises. I am not a fitness person but I am an exercise person. Every day for most of my adult life I do a few exercises in the morning and it makes me feel better. It’s not much but it keeps me in a routine and I feel good after I’ve done them. I’m ready to take on the day.
Do what you can to make it through this situation and come out better (or at least as good) at the other end. Do what you have to do, but also take care of yourself and realize that in order to help others, we must first help ourselves. Do things to occupy your mind in a good way. Keep living your life and make it a priority to try to get some sleep.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. A light so bright it will amaze you. If you keep moving forward you will find it.
No matter what life hands you: Choose Happy. You can do it, you can live a life full of contentment in any situation. God bless all who read this.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” — Albert Einstein
Decide to take a “sabbatical”– work on yourself this week. Make a list of the three categories (Read, Do Things you Like, Be Healthy) and figure how you can implement them into your life. Maybe you will even decide to keep some of those good habits going.
Have a great week. Work hard, but take time to rest– I plan to do the same. If there is any way I can help you or pray for you please let me know. Whatever you are facing this week, you can do it!
Sally Tippett Rains is a motivational speaker, inspirational writer and author of 13 books, including Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation.