Every year after the January Thaw (closet purge, purchasing of new homeschooling material that will be Just The Thing, soup boycotts) comes a season I like to call the February Wobbles. It just happens. You’ve been taking the vitamin D and clinging to Isaiah 26:
3 You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
And then SHAZAAM! You lose your ever-loving mind. It’s not hormones. It’s not the kids. It’s FEBRUARY. One day, you’re making crème brûlée and the next day you’re sitting across from your husband at a Market Basket Cafe saying, “What should I do with the rest of my life?!”
The Wobbles are different than your garden-variety “dumb and uglies” which can come upon you at any time, most commonly experienced while trying on jeans or remembering if xylitol is a good guy or a bad guy. In February, all the things swirl together and then just sit there, like dough that won’t rise. All the things. You can’t handle all the things in February the way you can in July. There are too many holidays behind you and too much winter in front of you. No matter how much you’ve cleaned, you have to clean again. No matter how much you eat and pray and love they are still interrupting you. The wise decisions you made in October have shriveled, and you want your old dreams back. Commercials are all about restaurants we don’t have up here and trucks with transformer tailgates you can never afford and you don’t even want a truck but why, why can’t you experience the transformer tailgate? What is wrong with you that you will never sit on the bottom step of that engineering miracle and light fat candles and look up at the stars with the love of your life, wearing matching plaid?!?!
It’s not February’s fault, really. Imagine someone holding you by the scruff of your neck at the beginning of the month and saying, “Mmm, yeah, two more months of counseling” or “Welllll, her sister never did this.” So, now that we’ve established that a little insanity comes to us all, I want to talk about how to defeat the Wobbles. The trick is to acknowledge that despite the fact that you’ve being getting up and going to work and raising the next generation or whatever, somehow your soul has become a little calloused, a little frozen. You’ve got to thaw it out. Maybe your mind has NOT been stayed on Him, and therefore you’re not in any kind of peace, much less perfect peace. Start with God, obviously. Always start with Him. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is near. His presence will cause no little joy to bubble up inside you, and that might be all you need.
And after that, try any combination of these things. Results may vary, but I promise, you are not alone!
- Make two lasagnas. You’re going to make lasagna anyway, you may as well make two and give one to a friend. It doesn’t matter if you show up at dinner and they’re sitting down to a four-course banquet. Your friend will put that lasagna in her freezer and later, will weep tears of relief because she does not have to cook tomorrow.
- Daffodils are here! They’re cheap. Buy three bunches. Give one to your most ornery kid. Put one in the bathroom. Give the last one to a stranger.
- Wish you could do a quick service project, but like, a one-time thing? The church nursery is a petrie dish this time of year. Ask if you can arm yourself with a plastic tub of Lysol wipes and wipe down every toy and surface in the place.
- Grab your spouse or your bestie and make them sit across from you with coffee and maybe an eclair and give them all your words. All your fears, all the thoughts that don’t match up, the irrational thoughts, the rants and the railings. Preface the unloading that you want them to Listen Only, and that afterwards they should say nice things to you. And THEN they can offer advice, if you need specific help from one of the talking points. They will appreciate knowing what to do.
- Go outside and stand near some trees. Bonus points if the trees are in the woods, but if all you’ve got access to are some anemic maples in a Walmart parking lot, so be it.
- Spend some time with someone who does not have the Wobbles, like a birder. People who like birdwatching are ECSTATIC this time of year. I don’t know why. But they are, bless.
- Are you drinking enough water? ARE YOU THOUGH?! Pfft. Me neither. Bottoms up!
- Maybe you do have A Scary Disease. Probably it is just February, but why not turn your paranoia into productivity? Schedule the mammogram, the eye appointment, the chiropractor. You don’t know what you don’t know.
- For my married friends: HAVE THE SEX. That is all. Moving on.
- Barnes and Noble gets new books in all the time, did you forget that? Did you forget that there’s an entire bookstore of books that smell new and have not been opened by anyone else? If you don’t like books you can mosey on over to the toy section and squeeze the plush Totoro and feel better. But books! Boooooooooks.
- Sometimes, after the rain, the sunset is so bright that it bleeds through the cloud cover and turns the whole world an eerie, light pink. Stop everything and get yourself in that light. Breathe. Can you still recite Psalm 23? Yes. Yes.
Take heart! March is nigh.