While I Was Away…

Holy cow it’s been nine whole days since I’ve made a post! To all of my amazing readers, I apologize! I haven’t been just sitting around twiddling my thumbs and watching Say Yes To The Dress though.  Here are all of the things I’ve been up to that have prevented me from blogging.

1. Playing gigs with my band

2. Practicing with my band and learning Christmas songs

3. Writing a paper

4. Writing a paper about how I wrote the previous paper

5. Writing the midterm assignment paper

6. Studying for the midterm

7. Taking the midterm

8. Modeling in a local fashion show

9. Ugly crying with joy over my new PS4

10. Hitting that busy point where essentials such as eating and sleeping are something you need to “make time for”.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’m grateful that God has put these things in my life to keep me busy, but at the same time, finding a balance between OH MY GOSH SO STRESSFUL SO MUCH ANXIETY GET AWAY FROM ME EVERY SECOND OF MY TIME IS PRECIOUS AND IF I FAIL THIS MIDTERM I WILL END UP AS A HOBO and “Oh no, I don’t need to get that done right now.  I can definitely watch 10 more episodes of Parks and Recreation in the mean time.  Wait, midterm, what midterm?” is tricky.  Hearing God’s voice in the din of our hectic lives can be even harder.  But I don’t think God is limited to speaking to us in absolute silence, although that is one of the best ways for us to listen to Him.  He’s everywhere.  He places events, opportunities, and people in our lives and speaks through them.  And maybe being silent doesn’t mean retreating to a cabin in the middle of nowhere (although that certainly sounds appealing sometimes).  Can we be silent anywhere? I don’t mean not saying a word at all, to anyone.  I mean can our hearts be silent? Can our minds? I know my mind is like the Energizer Bunny with ADD.  The average person thinks 50,000 thoughts per day, but mine certainly feels like millions and millions are going crazy in my head.  Oh, and that doesn’t mean that they’re intelligent thoughts or anything.  Most of them are crazy stories or characters I make up or hypothetical situations with a .1% chance of happening where I have to make a huge decision that will decide the fate of the universe.  A lot of it is just junk stuff though, i.e. worry.  And that’s a bigger waste of brain cells than reality TV.  One of the keys that I’ve learned to being interiorly silent is getting rid of worry.  Think of stressful thoughts and anxiety as some doofus with a megaphone that won’t shut up.  He insults you, doubts you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and just annoys you until you can’t take it anymore.  And every time you listen to him, the megaphone gets bigger and bigger.

He’s like this @$&^!*$* from Duck Hunt.  Grr.

So how do we shut this guy up? It’s simple: we have to shut up.  Because guess what? PLOT TWIST.  That laughing dog is your own subconscious! *gasp* And every time the dog – you – tells you something negative and you buy it, you’re cutting yourself off from hearing what God has to say to you.  Why? Because God only wants to tell us positive things.  Not like, “Hey, Julia, I’m letting you off the hook with that paper! Go do whatever you want to!” but “Hey, Julia, I know what you’re dealing with now and it’s all going to be ok because I love you and I will never leave you to handle it alone.”

That sounds like a pretty awesome message to me, but unfortunately, we let our crazy lives and all the worries that go with them get in the way of hearing it.  So, what I’ve learned and what I’m telling you here is to think happy! And trust me, I’m not this type of person at all, although I’d like to be:

It’s more like having a realistic yet positive outlook on life.  And yes, despite the awful, horrible crap that we all go through, despite the atrocious things humanity does to one another, despite that weight on your shoulders right now, and despite the fact that Degrassi is *still* on, we all have a reason to be positive.  A guy that maybe you’ve never even met or talked to died for you, specifically.  He didn’t die for the human race.  He died for you.  And He died for your mom, specifically.  For your brother, specifically.  For your friend.  Because He loves each of us personally and intimately.  And here’s more good news: you can trust Him with everything.  You can trust that when He says that He’s there for you, He will be there.  Basically, you are never, ever, ever alone.  So finally, being truly silent isn’t equivalent to becoming a mime.  Being truly silent is having a heart that blocks out the noise of negativity we try to tell ourselves and is constantly in union with God.  It’s almost like an unending phone conversation with God without the awkward silence on either end when you run out of things to talk about.  Sometimes it’s just knowing that He’s on the other line.  In our crazy, busy, noisy world, the silence of God is what gets us through with joy and peace.

– Julia

To My Fellow Overthinkers

I overthink.  I overthink EVERYTHING.  And if your thought process looks something like this…

Ok time to wake up gosh I’m starving but do we have any protein bars left oh great now what am I going to eat tomorrow morning and also I think they’re hurting my molars and geez is this zit ever going to go away my face looks like a butt and now I have to go to school with this on my face and will people notice or can I cover it up and why do people get zits anyway like why and now I’m at school and that guy is here OHMIGOSH he is attractive but what if Italk to him and he only listens to mumfordandsons or what if he’s secretly dating someone else or what if he’s not a Halloween person and why did he look at me that one time maybe I had something in my teeth but maybe he’ll give me flowers or buy me coffee tomorrow and we will live happily ever after and go on adventures wait where is he going I need to make my move or I’ll miss my chance and be forever alone!

…you might be able to relate.

I tend to overanalyze, overthink, or worry about the dumbest little things up to the biggest issues in my life.  Needless to say, it really sucks.  Some days I just want to unplug my brain but then I start thinking of a dystopian future society where people’s brains are plugged into a computer and one rebel unplugs himself and leads a movement to destroy the –

Wait, isn’t that The Matrix?

Anyway, I need to find a way to unplug myself from all of this unnecessary stress, which can be just as bad as Agent Smith (with the exception of awesome karate moves).  It effectively keeps me in my head ALL OF THE TIME and disconnected from the people I’m hanging out with.  So what can us overthinkers do? I have a few ideas.

First off, putting my thoughts and feeligs down in the form of blogging, poetry, or music really helps.  It’s like dumping all of those things racing through your brain in a positive way.  Getting those ideas out always leaves me clear-headed, and it also gives you a sense of pride when you put down something awesome.

Secondly, I find that doing something with my hands is great for focusing your mind.  Doing something like knitting, drawing, crafting, or even organizing gives you something to do that you don’t really have to think about so that the stuff in your head can run its course.  For me, it’s building LEGOs.  They’re like little puzzles that give your brain a workout and let it focus on something instead of randomly running from one thought to the next.  What? It’s cathartic, I’m telling you!

Lastly, sometimes you just need to talk it out.  Grab your mom, dad, sibling, close friend, or whoever you feel most comfortable with and get that crap off your chest! The worst thing you can do is keep that worry bottled up inside of you.  Telling somebody how you’re feeling or what you’re stressing about is one of the most liberating feelings in the world.  And don’t worry about sounding crazy.  Your family and friends won’t judge you and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to know everything and have it all figured out! That’s just unfair.

So are you an overthinker? And if so, has this advice been at least a little bit helpful? Let me know in the comments! I don’t pretend to have it all figured out either, but I know how overthinking and anxiety can make your life seem really sucky! Trust me when I say this: it’s never, ever as bad as it seems and everything will be okay.  You are in my prayers.  Hang in there!

– Julia