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Unmasked: My 10 Mistakes (6-10)

In Unmasked I peeled away the veneer I used to hide from my reality and invited you to see the unvarnished, unpolished me. Then in Unmasked: My 10 Mistakes (1-5), I started to share the mistakes I made, how my poor choices made SAD worse, and what’s next.

#1 and #2 are enough to send anyone off kilter, but they were just the beginning…

Join me today as I share rest of the mistakes I made this winter, what I learned from them, and how I’m working to rectify them.

6) I stopped asking for prayer from my friends and my Tribe members who’ve joined my prayer team.

I know now this decision was motivated by fear and pride.

I can’t stand complaining, and I have little respect for those who make it a habit. So I’m hypersensitive to coming off as a complainer or whiner—of being needy and self-centered. And that’s how I sounded in my own ears when I asked for prayer—even though I was neither.

Friend, as my friend Misty Phillip’s new Bible Study says, The Struggle is Real, But So is God! is so so very true!

Praying for each other is how we win the battle. It’s what give us strength to use our armor and wield our sword. It’s what allows us to be strong and courageous. I know that now. In a way I didn’t before.

I can see now

I love praying for others. My faith is always fortified when I pray for others. Standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the throws of battle; witnessing their God-given victory. I get a thrill watching them grow, mature, and change more into the likeness of their Savior. My heart floods with joy to see how God later uses those dark periods to further His Kingdom and to help others in the same predicament.

But when it comes to asking for prayer for myself, I flounder. I didn’t want to be a bother. Seen as needy. I know, I know…pride.

But what I’ve learned is:

Please oh please forgive me.

Now what


7) I wasn’t involved in a hands-on, face-to-face ministry

I served as a small group leader in our church’s youth ministry for the past 5 years . I loved it and my girls—my “daughters.” But in fall 2017, due to restructuring, expansion, and rescheduling my girls were no longer part of my group or attending.

Let me explain: Our church has multiple campuses in various communities, and for years our main campus hosted our youth ministry on Tuesday nights. However, in 2017 the decision was made to have each campus host its own youth ministry on Wednesday nights. And leaders were encouraged to serve at the campuses they attend. It all made sense because this amazing move further empowered our campuses to serve their communities with excellence. Huge win!

However, these changes came with a cost. Most of my girls would be going to a different location than the one I would be serving at. And those who were still at my campus would not longer be able to attend due to the night change. I was crushed!

I still served through the 2017-2018 season and met and mentored other young women whom I quickly grew to love. However, as juniors, these ladies weren’t very consistent due to homework, sports, jobs, illnesses, etc. There were many weeks I didn’t have a small group at all.

Again, my heart hurt, but I understood. I started to ask God what’s next? Is it time for me to move on or stay put?

This fall I talked with our youth pastor at the time and he sympathized with my predicament. He offered me a group of incoming freshmen, but I was hesitant to commit to another 4 years because I felt as if God was preparing me for something else—an opportunity to serve elsewhere in the church. So I opted to take a break until I had more clarity.

This fall I did host a small Bible study in my home with two other women. It started out GREAT! It was awesome! I was excited. Invigorated. They were loving it. I was loving it. But then kids were getting sick. We were getting sick. Someone would get called out of town or into work. One week of not meeting became two, then three…eventually it fell apart.

I don’t believe the time or effort was wasted. I know God planted a seed in me during that time…I’m just not sure what will going to come of it yet. But I know something is there. Taking root.

Another thing I tried to do this fall was get connected with college ministries on the various campuses here in the Twin Cities. But those opportunities all fell through. After a while I gave up trying.

What I learned, is being hands-on in a ministry—teaching, mentoring, and discipling others—helping Christians grown in their faith is my wheel-house. It’s my happy place. My why. My passion. And that passion carries over into my writing. It fuels it. Ignites it. Energizes it. I learned my writing is an off-shoot of my hands-on ministry, not the other way around!

And not being involved in a hands-on ministry this year has created a chasm, a void I couldn’t cross.

So now what?

I covet your prayers in these areas. (See I’m already getting better at this! Ha!)

8) I didn’t get out of my house enough

I could go days without ever leaving my driveway; going outside only to take the dogs out. Of if I left it was to pick the boys up after wrestling practice.

I did have friends over for coffee regularly. Those visits were a pure joy, edifying and enriching. A treasured lifeline.

I did go to wrestling meets and tournaments and practices with Andrew. I talked with other parents and developed beautiful friendships I look forward to growing.

But they weren’t enough.

I needed to get out of my house more. Get a new perspective.

I got stuck. And in the depth of my depression, I hit the point where I didn’t want to go out. Especially when the wrestling season ended and I wasn’t being forced out, I had no desire to go. Even when it meant attending church. Granted, when I did leave go out, I enjoyed myself, but I struggled to find the energy and strength to leap over the mental hurdle of actually getting ready and leaving my house.

In hindsight, I realized I pulled so far within myself I didn’t want to go out or be with people. And when I did, even if I had a blast, I was exhausted from the effort. Which in turn, lessened my desire to go out the next time.

Now what?

I need to be more intentional about getting out of my house—not including errands or kid activities. The question is, where do I go?

Some current ideas:

9) I was too easily distracted

This was the hardest to admit to, to own—it’s also the mistake laced with the most shame.

When my depression was at it’s worst, I wasn’t able to focus, write well, or retain anything I read. I was frustrated and eventually gave up trying. This of course made things worse because it confirmed my despair and insecurities as it ignited the fear I was losing my mind.

I did what I needed to do to complete household chores. I worked out often. Beyond that, I was distracted by inconsequential things like games on my phone, scrolling through social media (not posting), knitting, puzzles,etc. Sometimes I would think and process during these activities. But to be honest, more often than not, I was numb. Blank. Vacant of thought or emotion. I went through the motions of my day, wearing a mask, pretending all was well until I could go to bed and escape into sleep.

My biggest regret is the time I wasted and the opportunities I lost. Part of me wonders if I needed this time to purge my head and heart. To fully pull back and reset. To recover from the prolonged state of being overwhelmed. But a larger part of me laments what I can’t get back.

Now what?

Please join me in praying for this.

10) I dropped the ball on consistent Self-care

I don’t know if it’s being a woman, a mom or what, but I put my needs after everyone else’s needs and wants. As a result, I don’t take care of myself and end up burning out.

Now what?


There are other factors beyond my control that influenced my SAD and subsequent depression (health issues and weather are chief among them), but these 10 mistakes were made by my choosing. And turning these things around is my responsibility. My choice. There is no one to blame but me and no one else can make the changes needed by me.

Friend, I hope you’re able to learn from my mistakes. Or if you made some of the same ones, that you will be inspired to make the changes necessary. Or if you have ideas to share, please do so in the comments! I love new ideas!

Blessings, xoxo

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