Grounding priorities with discipline

07 October 2015

This morning I woke up and really missed all of you friends that I interact with here through my blog.  I thought of all of you that read and then contact me in some way and share your own feelings and thoughts.  And I thought about the irony that I feel like you are some of my closest circle of connection, despite that I'm posting in a public forum, compared to the connections that I have when I'm in more private settings with other people.  Needless to say, I value all of you, and I picture you in my mind's eye at my Board of Director's table (written about here).


Last week, Ryan and I decided to slot a specific time for scripture study.  It seems that without a proper holding place for it, scripture study becomes like the last person running for the closing elevator doors of the day.  Just as the day's doors are about to close, he wedges between them and smooshes into the other crowded elements of the day.  All of the days' other thoughts and feelings and experiences are already top-offed and show only a mild interest for the newcomer.  There's no more room and no one cares.

"How about 7:30 am?"  Ryan says, after we silently think about our own schedules for a moment and determine when a time to study the scriptures together would best suit us.  I'm in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and he's in the kitchen putting away dinner supplies.

"Mmm.." I respond, "That's my workout time.  That means I'd have to bump that up even earlier."

"Then we'll get up earlier and both work-out before we sit down to study."

"Okay, that sounds... like something I never want to do."  But I pause the conversation, and we silently complete our tasks while I think about it.  I have to mentally commit beforehand.  I can't just say the words, "yeah I'll do it" because on a well-rested Sunday evening I feel like I can do anything.  But then once the time arrives, weakness and fatigue are so powerful that it overpowers dedication and I'd pull out.  Commitment to me means you recognize there will be massive resistance at times, and you dedicate to being undaunting in your actions regardless.  Puuushing through the pain, even if you have no strength to muster in the moment.  And getting up at 6:45 every day, for weeks, months, years is going to take a toll on me.  I DO NOT handle sleep deprivation with any degree of grace.  I hate being tired, more than I find discomfort with any other weathering of my physical senses.  And the first couple days are okay with residual rest, but dang it, by the third day of a heightened effort, I feel like I belong in a morgue.  

"Okay, I'll do it."  I say.

Ryan looks over at me.  "Great, then we'll give it a shot.  Tomorrow morning."

And then I basically grab him and run for bed to salvage my impending approach of depression-by-exhaustion.

The next morning, the alarm clock goes off.  Ryan heads out for a run, and I go to the living room where I usually greatly enjoy Jillian Michael yelling at me as my first encounter for the day.  My morning work-outs with her were an easy habit to set up long ago.  Oxytocin and I pair really well together.  But on this day, I'm already SO exhausted that I just lay back down on the floor and moan about how horrible my life is.  And this is it now!  This is how the rest of my life is going to feel.  Just TIRED ALL THE TIME!!  Because I always think life is permanent when in it's hard.  But I get up and give my work-out a solid go.  Punching out my anger with heavier hand weights.

Ryan comes back from his run, and I say over the top of my heavy breathing.  "I HATE THIS!!!!!"  And suddenly the actions of the people on the evening news make sense to me.   

We sit down to read scriptures. We had decided to read separately for 15 minutes, and then pick a topic to study together for the next 15 minutes.  While I was up working out and expending all that energy, I was doing okay, but now that I'm just sitting in a camp chair, that we accidentally stole from Julie when I moved out, and that's the only sitting arrangements we have, the fatigue sets in heavy.  As I read the Doctrine and Covenants - my current committed study -  I'm growing more and more frustrated that my life is going to suck from now on. 

After our personal study ends, Ryan comes over to sit with me, and I'm like:

I whine again, "I REALLY hate this," and softly fake whimper.

Ryan is THE MOST patient and even-killed person I've ever known.  He is never irritable or moody.  ONE TIME, he was having trouble connecting to the internet on his laptop, and he said something with a slight tone of impatience.  I immediately threw my book across the room and jumped up, landing right in front of his face, and shrieked, "OH MY GOSH!!!  Are you a little bit annoyed right now!????  THIS IS AWESOME!!" And I gloated about it.

So Ryan seemingly ignores my mulling and grabs Preach My Gospel off the shelf to study.  By the time he begins reading, my forehead is on the desk and I'm moaning again.  "This is MY LIFE!  TIREDDDDDDD.  And I'm going to have a terrible day every day, and I'm going to binge eat on chocolate and salt, and I'm going to scratch things."

Ryan patiently keeps reading.  "RYAN!  What about CHILDREN??  Can you imagine doing this while we have little things all around us, hovering over our beds at night, and jabbering away while we try to sleep?  I will never have a full nights rest again.  Ever in my life."  And I'm willing myself to cry.

Ryan nods sympathetically and keeps reading.

I'm sobbing inside my brain.

Finally, our 30 minute study is up, and Ryan kisses me and says his goodbyes before he heads off to work.  Shortly after, I take off for my day as well, still convinced that everything is horrible and I will never have happiness in this life again.

My work day is halfway through, and I notice something.  My ability for patience with clients is endless.  I feel so blessed with my work, and I have to temper my upbeat attitude to not be freaky for people.  I take silent note of it, but I don't let it trump my conviction that I will suffer in exhaustion until I die.

The next day, (Tuesdays are modified because I have a 7:30 meeting up north so I have to leave really early), Ryan and I arrive home from work, and I'm still feeling the trauma of the morning before.  "We can't do this."  I tell him. "I will need heavy medication, caffeine, and a therapist if we continue.  And we'll probably never be intimate again.  Just so you know upfront how this will affect you."

He hugs me tight, and says, "Sure.  I know that sleep deprivation is so taxing on you.  We can decide on a new plan, and I am here to make this better for you."  Then we busy ourselves the way newlyweds do, and we fall asleep early.

So because a new plan wasn't yet decided, next morning at 6:45, I feel Ryan come over and wrap his arms around me and kiss my forehead.  His tender love sure makes it really hard to rage.  But, as I roll out of bed, I notice my steps aren't drudging.  My energy is awake.  Jilian Michaels is my best friend again.  And I'm laughing and smiling and poppies are sprouting in the grass outside.

We sit down for scripture study, and I LOVE what I'm reading.  The strength and testimonies of the early saints - all their sacrifices so clear and striking to me.  Then I join Ryan on the couch to our chosen book - Teaching by the Spirit by Gene R. Cook.  We take turns reading aloud, and I'm loving it.  How settings of conversation can change with the presence of the Spirit, and how our insides shift so deeply through a Spirit speaking to Spirit - I really dig those concepts.  This book is powerful to me.

Ryan and I head off to work, and I notice how I still feel an element of patience and stillness that is different from before.  I don't feel tired at all.  Rather awakened from the inside.  I feel a deep joy.  I feel like I just want to looooove people.  What can I do to make people just feel happy?  And usually, 40 hours of work makes me feel like that's all I do with my life, but after studying scriptures, I feel far more balanced with the other pillars of life.

So I tell Ryan that evening, after rock-climbing with Sharla and her husband, "Actually, this is good.  I can do this."  And we climb in bed at 9 pm.  That is our bedtime now to make this work, and also because we need some time together before sleep, ya know.

And so it has been, every day since.  Except Sundays.  (And Saturdays Ryan sleeps in, but my body is like 6:45 PARTY!!  But because I hold a personal Saturday Morning Miracle Hours tradition - like here - I'm okay with it).  But really, the Spirit I can feel in my life is abundant.  I am loving it.  I LOVE the time with Ryan in the morning, each reading our scriptures separately, but near each other.  I LOVE getting to the bedroom with Ryan so early.  There's no "oops we stayed up too late being hyper" - okay that's just me, and then overcompensating with work-out drinks in the mornings.  We are calm, loving, connected, rested, alert, happy, and feeling really connected spiritually.  

And, I bought an beautiful office chair on KSL to replace the camp chair.  That has made me happy too.

Here's to making scripture study one of the prominent stones of the day, and letting the sand of everything else fill in the cracks with more light and happiness.

Upward and onward,

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  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! This is exactly what I needed! I wrote out a schedule for my mornings/evenings after reading this, and I'm going to DO IT EVERYDAY... :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I've been feeling lately that I need to get up earlier and work out and read scriptures with Zach, but I hate morning so much that I keep putting it off. Also, on days that Zach works he has to leave at 6:30 (5:30 if he's charge nurse) so that would make for some uber early mornings, which I definitely do not dig. Your story has further inspired me to hop on that prompting though. *sigh*. haha. Thanks for inspiring me, not just with this post, but with so many of them! Love you!