Every crisis in mid-life (and in any season of life) is brought on not by what has happened to us, but by what we think about what has happened to us.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
We middle-agers are old pros at defying this Biblical wisdom. We guard our diets, we carefully monitor our carbs, we guard our 401K's, and we guard our "down time".
But sustained life is found in none of those things. In fact, a heart that is sick will adversely affect every single other area of our living. Because out of your heart flows the direction of your life. It is time to stop cleaning up the outside of the cup, like the good religious people we tend to be in mid-life.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Matthew 23)
Wait. Come back! I'm so sorry I had to quote that verse to you. What I'm trying to say to you is that all transformation of the God-sort, happens from the inside out, never from the outside in.
It is time to stop blaming everyone else outside of us, for what is, in fact, our own wrong perspective. Leaning on our own understanding might bring temporary relief. But it is a relief that will leave us, and leave us in a deeper prison. Then, we will find ourselves leaning on our own understanding to get relief from that prison. And so on. Cue: downward spiral.
Soul-care is the work of a lifetime. It is daily, and it is prosaic and pragmatic and intensely practical. Soul-care is not mystical. It is less about spending hours and hours "with God" (though that is good, if you have that kind of time) and more about taking out the spiritual and emotional trash every. single. day.
Sometimes, on a heavy house cleaning day, I have to take out the trash many times in one day. So it is with my spiritual and emotional life. When there is a lot going on, I end up having to take out the trash many times a day. But everyone has to take out the trash at least once, every day. Like, as in, honest-to-goodness reject it. Call it garbage. Take out the stinking thinking. Don't let that stuff stay, and don't think maybe it is actually good and right and useful and don't think you can share it with your closest friends and for heaven's sake - don't think you can eat it.
Take out the emotional trash, the every-wind-of-doctrine trash, the thought trash, daily. Sometimes, many times a day.
Repeat after me: This is good. This is normal.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)
If there is no trash, you aren't living life, you aren't making progress. BUT. If you haven't been taking out the trash...well...there is nothing you can diffuse to make it better. No amount of art journaling will make it go away. If you haven't been taking out the trash, your soul is a mess, I promise you. You may have to get help to clean it up. Please, please come clean. Get honest.
Hey, I am in no position to judge. I'm stuck in the middle with you.
Let's clean it up. Together.