I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. I'm a little less stressed now, but writing out my feelings helped. I hope you find encouragement from the lament of an over-extended woman. :-) It’s been one of those weeks. One of those months.
Last week, I reached up to find the back of my earring hanging on while the front had vanished somewhere in Baltimore. The next morning, I responsibly donned my blue and white lacy apron to cook breakfast. When I removed said apron, my shirt was covered in grease…under my perfectly pristine protective housewife garment—a feat that defies the laws of basic physics. Thursday, my computer turned all of the perfectly readable English into gibberish symbols, and I was suddenly trying to decipher paragraphs that looked like ∏◊©¢⇑ßß∏∇∩. Half an hour with the IT guy later, I was once again able to read my desktop icons and file menus. I took naps in my car in random parking lots in between one meeting and the next to try to catch up on the sleep that has eluded me lately. Monday, I returned from the supermarket to find that the main ingredient I needed for dinner was somehow left at the checkout counter and another major ingredient was spoiled before I even opened it.
In the midst of a hectic schedule, all of these little annoyances could not have been more poorly timed.
Thursday evening, I sat at the airport waiting to board my sixth work flight in 2 weeks that was two hours delayed and was set to put me at my destination at 1 a.m. Little did I know that I would encounter numerous other travel and car rental mishaps before the day’s end that would result in me yelling at a guy outside the airport to leave me alone and my mommy driving 45 minutes to pick me up on a business trip at 2:30 a.m. My exhausted delirium from a week that started and ended with 3 a.m. frustration had me reflecting on the chaos.
I have been working days, nights and weekends and also trying to fit in housework, promotion for a recently released EP, Bible studies, healthy eating, and a home decorating/renovation side business that Jeremy and I will be officially launching soon. Life isn't always as crazy as it is right now, but I do tend to overextend myself.
Recently several people have mentioned how much they admire Jeremy’s and my ambition. I hear exclamations of “How do you do it all?” and “Wow. You keep so busy. I’m so impressed!” I usually take those compliments and store them in my chest…the perfect packing material with which to puff it up and strut around with pride. Meanwhile, several weeks of jam packed schedules left me feeling depleted. The easiest thing to let slide was my morning time with Jesus. My work schedule kept me from my Monday night Bible study anyway, so my accountability was sparse. And when I woke up in the mornings in a frenzy, I chose breakfast over Bible and shower over scripture.
As each day passed with little more than a “Jesus, give me strength” or a quick psalm reading in passing, anxiety and stress began filling the spaces where joy and peace used to live. I found myself quick to anger and quick to tears. A tearful meltdown in front of my boss was a surefire sign that I needed some rest and rejuvenation.
This morning I woke up and felt a yearning to spend time in God’s word. I prayed for guidance and felt drawn to Philippians where I found the familiar words:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I have read that passage innumerable times, but in my weariness, it hit me in a fresh way. I know that prayer and supplication will give me peace, but I was struck by the truth that the reverse is also true. When I don’t pray or give my requests to God, I am willingly denying myself the PEACE OF GOD which is beyond all understanding. It’s no surprise that weeks spent away from the refreshing water of God’s word have me also feeling a LACK of peace and a feeling that my heart and mind is unguarded. His peace and guarding are free for the taking, but the further I walk in the other direction, the less I experience them.
Last week as I paced the airport in angst over a delayed flight, I kept thinking that my emotions were too raw and my spirit too quick to anger. When I don’t give everything to God, that promise of having a guarded heart and mind is no longer being fulfilled in me. When I give my stress to Him, He guards my heart from anxiety and my mind from frustration.
When the Lord is front and center in my life, I am often amazed at the things I can accomplish in His strength. But when I push Him to the side in favor of those same accomplishments, my own weakness flashes neon bright.
Shortly following the passage mentioned above is one of the most quoted scriptures of all time:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
He gives me power I don’t possess. In reverse, I fall apart when I try to do all things in my own strength.
So today I am breathing deeply, accepting that I cannot do it all on my own, and praying for the peace of God to restore my soul.