[Personal] I Am So Stressed

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Ugh. This happens every year, and every year it’s the same: Tax Day.

I haven’t been able to post much or do too much else apart from run on semi-autopilot. I’ve been able to keep up with my health goals and have been updating my progress on this blog, but all the other posts I’ve wanted to do have just had to be put on the back burner because I am just so, so stressed.

I hate tax day so much. Due to my situation and being a British citizen, my taxes are slightly more complicated than the regular US taxpayer, and I am ashamed to admit I am a major procrastinator, so leaving it this late is also a major source of anxiety. But this post is not for me to whine, even though I want to. No, I have to remember and remind myself that God is in control. This post is to count my blessings, so here they are:

  1. I have an accountant and he is super helpful.
  2. I have Jacky this year – he has the best head on his shoulders, he is able to think logically and clearly. He does not fear these tax forms, he does not go cross-eyed from reading them, his brain does not fog up, his palms do not sweat and his heart rate remains steady when reviewing them, and he is able to help and advise me with them for my share too. He is able to hold me when I’m about to cry from stress and anxiety. He prays for and with me at all times. He is the best.
  3. I have Jesus. He is Lord of all; all things are in His hands. He has guided me and guarded me through all the years of my life, will He let go of me now? Is He not in control of tax forms too? Has He not answered all my prayers every year whenever I call upon Him about this issue? Finally — has He not already secured my salvation, my resting place in Heaven? I already know where I will end up. Why is my heart so weary and my mind so narrow when I can just think upon the eternity that is waiting for me with Him. In light of eternity, these things are nothing.

The thing is, I always get money back from tax returns and this year looks like it will be no different. It’s entirely in my mind… I don’t know why I fear them so much. I render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, I am typically good with my finances… so why is it that whenever I look upon these forms, I forget that I am His? Perhaps this illuminates a greater heart issue: that I am so good at relying on myself for everything else that I typically do not rely on God until things get hard.

I just finished reading Philippians yesterday, how timely a reminder it is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

The Philippians and Paul were facing major persecution for Christ’s sake. Paul himself was even in prison at the time! What am I doing? Enjoying the comforts of my own home, gorging on food and drink that has made me fat… and so far removed from having the right mind of Christ that I am freaking out over some tax forms.

I will then finish with a prayer:

Lord, may You grant me the right perspective, that I may be — and remain — Kingdom minded, knowing that all these things will be added to me as long as I seek You and Your righteousness first. Indeed, having You alone is more than enough. May You be my first priority, first point of call, first in my heart. May You reign as rightful King of my heart. May it be so in Jesus’ name.

Black Lives Matter #BlackoutTuesday

I was yesterday years old when I finally understood why All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter. I still don’t understand all of it, but I am thankful that I am no longer as ignorant as I once was, and I’m sorry it’s taken this long.

I have other blog posts in drafts that I was originally going to publish these days, but those can wait. This is so much more important.

To be honest I’m still processing, and there’s just been so much happening in the world that is draining my mental and emotional capacity, but today is #blackouttuesday, and I want to note down my initial thoughts. I’ve been quiet on this issue for a long time, but no more.

I’m not sure how or where to begin, but perhaps I will start by making public the messages I’ve written to friends privately.

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I finally snapped.

I did it. I finally snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was way too hot and my hair was way too long with way too many split ends… so, last night, I finally went at it with a pair of craft scissors – the same pair I used to cut my hubby’s hair a few weeks prior.

We went from this:

To this:

To this:

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Life Update: Green Card Application

The above is kinda very much how I feel right now: my hubby on the guitar being the green card application, and me in the foreground being absolutely horrified.

Let’s just say my desire to not do it is so strong I’m open to never leaving the country again, or if push came to shove, leaving the country and never coming back. Neither of those options being particularly glorifying to God, that leaves me with the only option of getting it done.

I guess one other thing I can thank this season of staying indoors for is a longer period of finding rest, finding God, finding myself and finally finding time to do a bunch of paperwork that I’ve been putting off… har har.

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A Season of Growth

sunrise over mountains
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Once again it’s been a while. Over 3 months, actually. Getting good with updating and actually putting thoughts to computer genuinely takes a lot more motivation than I’d like to admit and is something I’d still like to grow in, if I’m to be more serious about my blog, haha. That’s a 15-year-long goal and counting now though.

I am not into dramas anymore (or at least, not in the way I was 3 months ago). God was (is) gracious. I can’t pinpoint the exact time I started feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders again, but I think it’s probably after Christmas, when we went for our Church retreat.

It really was a restful retreat for me. A time of healing, a time of growth, a time where I could put everything else out of my mind and focus on Jesus. Christmas seems to have that healing effect on me, and I thank God for the Body of Christ who is always there to help guide and convict.

It was during the retreat that I realised I was able to smile again like I used to, that I no longer felt the heaviness on my heart and that I felt I was free again. If I think about it, it’s also during that time that I was able to reconnect to God.

Just personally, here’s what I believe may have happened:

  • I was freed from the attacks
After being let go from my job, I immediately used it as an opportunity to dive deeper (and back) into God’s Word. I had more time on my hands, more time in the morning, more time to dedicate to ministry, and naturally Satan doesn’t like that. So he attacked. I felt weak – both physically and spiritually – and unable to concentrate on reading and devo’s for quite some time. Thank God the attacks ended, I believe through His protection, and through the prayers of my brothers and sisters. Thank you all <3

  • I grew
Growing pains hurt. But they’re necessary. I do believe God was working in me at the time – mentally. I need to constantly check myself because I’m sure I have a pride issue. I’m sure I had a desire to be cared for when I felt like I was pouring out so much in ministry. My heart was not in the right place, and I needed to grow from that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved serving and I loved seeing God work and I was honoured to be used, but I needed to grow more before He could use me more. He needed to put me back in my place to ensure I was working for His glory and honour and not my own. At the end of the day, I shouldn’t expect people to treat me with more love than they were willing to give, just because I felt like I’d shown them love, which leads me nicely to my next point…

  • I realised I’m just not that important – and that’s important
It’s easy for my mind to go places that it shouldn’t, to warp and twist people’s words or take negative things personally when they aren’t personal. Just because I was going through stuff, doesn’t mean others weren’t as well – they aren’t intentionally trying to hurt me. In fact, they were already caring for me in the best way that they were able to – I just needed to be able to see that. I may be the centre of my world, but other people don’t see me that way, and that’s both a relief and a reminder that I really shouldn’t take myself too seriously.

  • But I am still loved
I experienced so much love when I went on the retreat. And that… was enough.

It was upon further reflection a couple of weeks later that I realised it was probably a time of growth for me. I do believe God was disciplining me and in His sovereignty, He used those attacks and that time to bring to light further sin in my heart that I had either been hiding or did not know I had, to work in me, to equip and prepare me for whatever else He has planned. Either way, just being worked in is an honour. It hurts like hell while going through it, but especially per Hebrews 12:6, 11 (ESV):

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I am a blessed child of God indeed. <3