Tangible Truth Blog

A daily dose of truth

An Ode to the White Knucklers

 

A post by Heidi Dennis

So, my five year old son was “helping” me carry a laundry basket the other day (I say “helping” in quotation marks because you know exactly how it went down).  I was really the one carrying it and he was only thinking that he was helping me.  I can still see his serious facial expression as his knuckles turned white because he was gripping the basket so hard.  The truth is, he could have let go at any moment and it wouldn’t have fallen.  I had it the entire time.  

How many times do we do this?  We hold onto something SO tightly- our demeanor serious, our knuckles white from the firm grip we think we have.  We are so afraid to let go.  But, are we really the ones holding it all together?  What would happen if we simply released our grip? (Are you cringing? Because I am).  It’s a difficult thought, isn’t it?  For me, it’s a thought that conjures up a lot of fear.  What would get dropped?  What wouldn’t get done?  What would the consequences be?  But, if we are being really honest with ourselves, isn’t the REAL question “Who will catch me if I fall?”  That’s ultimately what it comes down to, isn’t it?  If I drop something, who will be there to help me pick it up?  Who will pick ME up?

Now, I am going to drop some tough truth bombs on you for a second (grab your protective gear, your ‘big girl pants’, or whatever else you need).  If you are anything like your fellow “white-knucklers”, it’s hard to let go enough to trust someone else to catch you.  What inevitably ends up happening is this:  First, you take on everything yourself. Then, people around you start thinking that you will just handle it and start handing you even more stuff. Finally, you end up resentful that no one around seems to notice how stressed out you are.  The next thing you know, your laundry basket is full to the brim of last weeks clothes, every last pair of dirty underwear, and now you are wearing your bathing suit bottoms because nothing else is clean (don’t judge, you know you’ve done it).  AND NO ONE ELSE IS HELPING YOU!!!  Does this sound familiar at all?  It’s not that no one around you is willing to help, they just assume you’ve got it and try to stay out of your way.  I heard someone say the other day “Don’t go on vacation for one week.  Go on vacation for two weeks because after one week you come back to the same problems. But after two weeks, it becomes someone else’s problem”.  What I’m trying to say is, if you trust someone else enough to carry some of the load (and then let them carry the load), you might find that you have less on your hands.  But, you have to trust others to take care of it (even if they do it in a different way or timeline than you would have…*ahem*).  We’ve also got to allow enough time and space for someone else to start filling in the gap.  This is a little nerve-racking, yes.  But, we’ve got to let go of the idea that the outcome all depends on us.

  The deeper level of truth is that God is ultimately carrying the laundry basket of our lives.  We may think that we’ve got to have everything figured out, but the truth is, if you let go, IT WOULD NOT FALL.  He’s had it the entire time.  Isn’t that great news?  You don’t have to have it all together!  You don’t have to figure it all out!  (I don’t know about you, but I am breathing a huge sigh of relief).  Do you trust Him to carry it?  Nothing is too heavy for Him.  The words of the month for Tangible Truth Ministries are “new” and “creative”.  God wants to make all things NEW and He always does it in a CREATIVE way.  My challenge to you is to let God do something new and creative in you- let Him carry your laundry basket.  Hand it over to Him and see what He does with it!

When we are holding onto something so tight that our knuckles are turning white, that is a signal.  When we are clinging to something so tight that we are afraid to let it go, that is a warning sign.  Sweet friend, stop trying to carry everything yourself.  I hate to break it to you, but you are not the glue holding everything together.  And if you let go, it will not all fall apart.  Give those around you a chance to step up to the plate (without trying to control their swing).  And, ultimately, know that God has got you.  He is creating something NEW and CREATIVE in you (if you will let Him).  He is holding you and He will never let you fall.  

Don’t Miss Out on the Single BEST Gift You Can Give Yourself This Christmas

A guest post by Heidi Dennis

 

If you are anything like me, you are already lost in the Christmas lists- the to-do lists, the gift lifts, etc.  You are desperately trying to figure out what to give to those around you.  Well, I’m here to offer YOU a gift.  This particular gift just might change your life.  Once you receive this gift, you may never be the same.  Intrigued?  Lean in close.  This gift is actually a secret.  And here it is…you can’t offer to someone else what you aren’t willing to offer yourself. 

That’s it.  That’s the secret.  That’s the gift.  It sounds deceptively simple, however let’s break it down even further.  The MOST important thing that we can’t offer others if we aren’t willing to offer it to ourselves is grace.  If we can’t offer ourselves grace, it is impossible to offer it to those around us.  

Let’s look at a few scenarios…

Scenario 1:  You’ve worked tirelessly on fixing that perfect Christmas dinner.  Martha Stewart would even be jealous.  You FINALLY sit down to eat after hours of preparation and your child spills milk all over everything that you have just prepared.  You completely lose your cool.  You begin yelling and your child starts crying.  You immediately feel awful and start beating yourself up.  Thoughts like “I am a terrible parent” roll through your head.  Grace is the LAST thing that you are offering to yourself in that moment.  And the rest of your day is spent feeling a sense of defeat.  

Scenario 2:  You are all “peopled” out (do you ever get this way, too?).  You are feeling the stress of all of the busyness and the endless Christmas parties.  You’ve got zero patience left and suddenly you find yourself getting snippy with your spouse.  It turns into a huge conflict and things are said that you don’t really mean.  Suddenly you find yourself in that same place again of beating yourself up (zero grace).  You feel so bad about how you’ve acted that you’re left with nothing but that awkward tension in the room.  

Each of these scenarios could have turned out completely differently if a little grace was offered at the front end.  I’m not even talking about the grace given to the other person after the spilled milk or the argument.  I’m talking about the grace that you offer yourself when you take the pressure off.  The grace that comes with resetting your expectations- from things being “perfect” to just doing the best that you can.  Grace that says, “Maybe I don’t have to go to all of these events” and save some of that energy for your family.  It’s SO much easier to offer this grace to others if you have first offered it to yourself.  And, if you find that you miss offering that grace to yourself and you lose your ‘you know what’, you can always offer that grace to yourself on the back end.  Instead of beating yourself up, move to repair.  Apologize for your actions.  Work towards reconnecting.  

The holidays can be hard.  We could all use a little grace this season.  Just don’t forget to offer some to yourself, as well.

A Therapist’s Guide on How to Survive that Awkward Thanksgiving Dinner

A guest post by Heidi Dennis 

We have all had them- those conversations where your skin suddenly feels all prickly and you instantly feel a divide between you and the person that you are talking to. The ones where you think, “How can you POSSIBLY have that opinion about _________?” The ones that make you want to crawl underneath the table, put your fingers in your ears and start saying “LA, LA, LA, I can’t hear you” (I’m real mature, I know).  It’s as if this one difference in opinion, political stance, cultural view, etc suddenly makes you feel like you have absolutely NOTHING in common with the person sitting across from you.  And it’s even worse when it’s family.  

Continue reading “A Therapist’s Guide on How to Survive that Awkward Thanksgiving Dinner”

How to Find Laughter in the Midst of Tragedy

A guest post by Heidi Dennis

 

It was like any other day.  I had driven this road hundreds of times, only this time was different.  It was night and I had been out of town for a week.  I wasn’t anticipating the construction work that had been done.  I wasn’t anticipating the missing road lines that hadn’t been painted back on yet.  I certainly wasn’t anticipating the uninstalled stop sign lying in the ditch next to the intersection.  And I wasn’t anticipating the car that would smash into me, t-boning my driver’s side door.  In an instant, everything that I knew was about to change…

Continue reading “How to Find Laughter in the Midst of Tragedy”

No One Told Me It Would Be This Hard- Dealing with life after a baby

A guest post by Heidi Dennis 

 

I still remember that moment- sitting on the floor of the nursery holding a screaming baby and crying.  I look up at my husband (who is also sitting on the floor next to me) and he, too, is crying (and my husband doesn’t cry.  I’ve seen him cry like twice- and this was one of them).  Why didn’t anyone WARN us?  I felt duped.  The only reason I could figure is that if anyone had told us that it would be this hard, maybe we wouldn’t have procreated in the first place (here is a line across the middle of the bed- don’t you dare cross it, or else!).  But, alas, here we were with an infant, completely clueless as to what to do next- or how to get this baby to stop crying (he was lucky he was so cute).  

Continue reading “No One Told Me It Would Be This Hard- Dealing with life after a baby”