I have had a crazy few months. My dad lost half a lung to lung cancer. (I hate that word so much, I can barely type it.)
I had a family emergency that left me sitting in the ICU ward praying for my sister’s life. God was so gracious to her. He literally brought her back to life, and she is recovering at home with her children. I still feel a bit raw from the enormity of it all.
I returned home and realized I only had one week until my son’s wedding. You know how much fun wedding stress is. So many details have to all come together. It’s a great kind of stress, but it still can be taxing.
I went to Europe. Yes, just a little trip to England thrown in there. It was fabulous, but I got food poisoning and ended up in the hospital when I returned home. I don’t do well when I am bleeding places I am not supposed to bleed. They took great care of me, but it took a while to not feel ninety years old.
I had some speaking deadlines to meet, and struggled to even form a rational thought.
My darling daughter had a missed miscarriage. That left us all reeling for a couple of weeks. There were some scary complications, and I think we are just now exhaling. As a side note, I am sorry for anyone who has had to endure that. It’s a terrible thing to go through and the loss . . . it’s too much.
We took a little family trip, but I ended up having a horrible falling out with a dear family member. I am so exhausted and so overwhelmed, I can’t muster the strength to try to build a bridge.
Add to that homeschooling, elderly grandparents who need visits, housework, hormones, and that pesky little thing called dinner. It’s odd. The kids want to eat every single night. I decided to plant a garden, but from where I see it, I just gave myself about two hours a day of extra chores. I will let you know if I decide it’s worth it. I might prefer to have that time to write, or learn a foreign language, or lay around on the beach.
I have had to really push the anxiety down. Big time.
As I drove home today, I thought I might pull the steering wheel right off because I was gripping it so hard. I feel overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed.
I keep telling myself, “five more years, and your life is really going to slow down.”
I mean, two more kids will grow up and I won’t be driving them all over the county all day long. I will have less laundry, and less shopping, less dishes, less, less less. No more soccer, no more piano lessons and most likely no more weeds. Then things will be easier, right?
Because this is earth, and things are tough. When I complain to my husband about how hard life is at times, he tells me, “It’s not heaven yet, it’s earth. You seem like you expect heaven now.”
Why yes, I do . . .
The thing is, Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit. So we have the power to walk the resurrected life. It’ s not like He abandoned us here! We are able to face this earth and all of it’s trials with peace. So, why am I a ball of stress? Other than my adorable lack of organization, there are two reasons that jump out at me:
I expect too much, and I do too much in my own strength.
I put undo stress on myself nonstop. It’s what we affectionately call a “self-whooping.” While seeing everyone around me holding it together, I tend to wonder what I am doing wrong. Those Facebook posts of perfect kids, romantic husbands, and gourmet meals scream at me to do more, be better, and try harder. But that’s not going to get me anywhere. Except maybe a looney bin. As much as I love having dinner cooked for me, I will pass.
Things don’t always work out as planned, but that is true for everyone.
Unmet expectations just breed resentment. Resentment pushes me away from those I love. The only thing I need to expect, is that life is going to be difficult. I can count on that. But I have comfort in knowing that God is with me and will work everything out for good. There are no unmet expectations in God’s eyes as he looks at me. He sees the righteousness of Christ, not my failures. This means, I do not suck. I am actually precious in God’s sight. This is hard to believe at times, but it is true. This means you are precious too.
How do I “stop doing things in my own strength”? It’s hard for me to tell when I am, and when I am not, just spinning my wheels. A good indicator is when I am being impatient, short tempered, and harsh towards others. Or when my husband asks me, “Are you close to starting your period?” As much as I hate him saying that, he is often right on the mark. Sometimes hormones do torment me like some middle school bully. Other times, I just need to take a breather and gain some perspective.
I need to take a step back and view my circumstances through the lens of the Gospel.
Because I am so loved, I can love others. Because I am forgiven, I can forgive. I realize that I am not capable enough to keep everyone happy and things running smoothly. Lately, and by that I mean for at least the past year, I have been snappy and agitated. I am not leaning on God’s strength. I am trusting in my own wisdom, and that isn’t working out too well. People, and by that I mean me, need more than what I can offer.
I am facing an incredibly busy few days. I see areas where I might possibly lose my cool or just break down crying. I pray God guards my mouth, protects my emotions, and shows me how to love like He loves. This will carry me through this week, and it will keep me from having to apologize all through next week. But if I have to . . . I will.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” —Psalm 19:14