Do you ever feel haunted by "supposed to" thoughts? I'm pretty sure none of us grew up thinking we'd be spending our years as a caregiver, even though most of us thought at least at some point that we'd provide some level of care for our parents as they aged. But here we are, taking care of our loved ones. It may not have been our dream, but it is our reality today.
Our parents were supposed to grow old, retire, and do all the fun things they put on hold while they were raising their kids, right? Our kids were supposed to go to college, get jobs, and build lives and families of their own. But things don't always work out like they are supposed to, do they?
I think that dealing with some of the things that were supposed to happen according to what we all deem as "normal" is one of the hardest parts of caregiving. Thinking along those lines can bring on depression quickly. If I don't nip it in the bud, it can escalate until I am in an emotional pit that is difficult to get out of. Shifting my focus to reality doesn't really help, LoL. If you know what I mean. If I don't protect my mind and soul, I can wind up in a caregiver's fog that begins the slow drag into despair.
But protecting the mind and soul is a hard thing. Here's an analogy. When I was in Tae Kwon Do, we were taught to keep our hands up while sparring. That's how we were able to protect ourselves from the blows that would be thrown. But as a caregiver, our hands are full. We can't do much more than carry what's in our hands; forget about blocking anything! That's how many of our days feel - we already have our hands full of caregiving tasks, yet we must block negative thoughts, emotions, and even things people say to us.
So here we are in a funk, with our hands full of responsibilities that simply cannot be put on hold. The supposed to's are running through our heads, and we have too much in our hands to block them. Just about the time we think we are done - His grace swoops in and covers us, protects us and carries us. It's happened over and over - just about the time I think I cannot handle one more tiny thing, He blows my mind and sustains me. God is so amazing.
So, today, instead of letting the supposed to's have room in my head - I'm going to give them to Him. I'll shift my focus to what He can do from what I cannot do. I will trust Him for one more day. If you don't have a better option, will you join me?