Today, I'm going to be open and real with all of you.
Living with mental illness is tough.
I have dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child I remember feeling anxious and sick all the time. At the time, people would say I was 'painfully shy'. As I got older, I came to realize that it was not merely shyness, but was in fact severe social anxiety. Since, I have also been diagnosed with general anxiety and panic disorder as well. During my junior year of high school, I hit a low point in my struggles with anxiety. Being in a social situation daily took its toll on me- physically and mentally- I dealt with excruciating migraines that would last weeks on end... it reached a point that I decided it was best to finish school early over the summer independently and not return my senior year.
After some time, things got better. I still dealt with anxiety but for the most part I was able to handle it on my own. Things were good. Until they weren't...
You see, this is the thing about mental illness.. it's like a roller coaster. You can be going uphill for what seems like forever, and then without notice it all comes crashing down. That's where I am now...one of those low points on the roller coaster.
When you hit those points, it affects your entire life... you're exhausted, physically and mentally. It affects your health, and some days it takes everything within you to just get out of bed. Even the things that you once loved are hard to do. It's not that you don't still love it, or even that you don't WANT to... it's just that the motivation and the inspiration isn't there.
For me, this includes Bible Journaling. I so want to journal, but when I look at the pages I feel clueless on where to begin. And the thing with Bible journaling is that not only do I WANT to do, but I truly NEED to do it too. When I'm in this place, I NEED the peace and calming that journaling provides me. I NEED that time in the Word, worshiping and praying, remembering that He is still with me even through all of this. I NEED the strength that these things bring.
But I also need the motivation and inspiration to do it, or else I'm looking at a blank page wondering what to do now. This is one of the reasons that I truly love the monthly Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits from Dayspring. When I don't know where to go, they give me that direction. They keep me in the Word and journaling when it's hard to do so on my own. This month's kit- Doodles to Live By- was just want I needed to help me journal through my funk. Take a look:
Enrich your soul with Scripture and fourteen (14) days of thought-provoking devotionals shared by Elaine Davis, who's been filling journals with thoughts and doodles since she was little. Elaine encourages you to get your story on paper, ask God for creative guidance, and speak words of kindness, even when it's difficult. "As you work through each day, you'll explore some blessings I've found to be super healing, enriching, & restorative!" —Elaine
1 plastic pouch
1 devotional booklet
1 clear stamp collection
1 roll of washi tape
1 sheet of cut-out paper pieces
2 cardstock sticker sheets
1 magnet1 thank you card from Shanna
First, can we just admire the style of this kit. Now, the doodle look might not be for everyone, but I loved it. Glasses, typewriters, coffee... these are some of my favorite things and I loved seeing them all in ONE kit. The bright colors also had me encouraged to brighten things up a bit.
In previous kits, the devotional will offer a verse or two, a short reading and a couple of questions to think on... but as far as what to actually journal, no firm directions are given. You can use those devotions and the pieces included to make it your own. This one was a little different. Each devotion again had a verse, quick reading and questions, but there are more direct prompts given. We are given specific challenges to doodle. We can still make them our own, but we are given a very specific direction in which to go. For those lacking inspiration, this is PERFECT! Just what I need at this point.
Whether it's anxiety, depression, or just an everyday creative slump, Doodles to Live By is a great kit to inspire and motivate you to keep on journaling, even when it doesn't come naturally. It is available to purchase now on Dayspring.
Are you in a slump? How can Doodles To Live By help? How can I pray for you?