Lately I’ve been in a funk. There’s been a lot going on around our house—the Lord is brewing up some changes that get me really excited and at the same time really overwhelmed. Do you ever feel like when your to-do list is growing, all you want to do is hole up and hide away? That’s me lately. I fill my time thinking of all that needs to be done and end up avoiding it all.
Sometimes when the rubber meets to road, when the fire gets hot, we run into these tall, heavy, thick walls that are our humanity. Sometimes when I’m staring myself face-to-face in the mirror and I see my frailty, I get a little surprised. You see, I think when I’m pulled to the fraying edges of myself I start unraveling a bit. I realize the strings are pulling and the harder I grasp, the more the threads spin looser and looser. I’m learning a lot about myself in this season, and much of it I don’t love.
I’m learning that change scares me, that I fear failing, that when I feel overwhelmed I withdraw and convince myself I can’t. And while I know that much of it is untrue, I think the lies grow and grow until I just want to cover my head with a blanket and set the kids in front of the TV for a while.
I go through ebbs and flows, just like everyone. I go through weeks on end of intentionally taking care of myself. I exercise and pursue health; I take time to read some of the waiting books on my shelf; I love my growing, changing kids; I glean life from the Word of God. And then I go through a couple of weeks when I somehow become paralyzed. I hit that wall of humanity I mentioned earlier. I reach some sort of ceiling in life and I struggle a bit. I fumble around and have a hard time getting my feet back underneath me so I can keep running hard this race of faith.
At the moment, I’m doing my best to get up from a bit of a stumble. I’m dusting off my knees, and refocusing my lens. I’m setting my sights again on what is important. Sometimes the simple life is idealized and depicted beautifully on our social media, but rarely lived out. Boy, I want that—laser vision to what’s important, and the ability to just focus on those things while letting everything else fade from view. I’m not sure about you, but in times when I’m not believing what’s true of me, when I’m not actively reading and meditating on Jesus, I gain more and more faith in myself. I think that I can take care of it all—this is when my to-do list sprawls all over my table, and on the back of that receipt in my purse, and on a note in my phone, and on the back of every page in my notebook. I make decisions surrounding my knowledge and numbers and ability. I am easily distracted, grow in anxiety, compare myself to others, and become overwhelmed as I sink into heaps of discouragement.
Now I realize that not everyone reading this right now can relate because we’re all wired so differently, and sometimes our sin patterns look totally different. But for me? I need to pear down the to-do list to one thing. (Well, one thing to start with.) I need to make Jesus my first love. More than anything else—more than a clean house, and polite kids, and a perfect meal plan, and new décor, and an updated wardrobe, and “simple-living” (or the illusion of it)—I want to be like Jesus. I want to love Him in a way that grips my heart—I want his fingerprints there. I want Him to change the way I pursue and respond to my husband and my kids and my neighbors. I want to love in ways that surprise me.
I long for the words I scratch out on these pages to be seasoned with salt. I long for them to reach you in a way that makes you feel something you didn’t know was there. I long for you to see that the clutter inside of you isn’t just inside of you but it’s inside all of us. So maybe when your to-do list grows long, you kick it into high gear. Maybe you put on some make-up and a cute outfit and you get to work. Maybe you, unlike me, draw closer to people around you when you’re overwhelmed. But whoever you are and however you tick, I pray that when you read these words, you take a good look at your heart, in whatever state it’s in, and you let go of the lie way down in there that tells you “it’s all up to you.” Because in one sense it is—but Jesus came because we can’t do it all. He came not because we had it all together, but because we really thought we did when, in actuality, we were missing the vast blessing on the far side of that big, thick, heavy human wall: life abundant found only after He came and chose to become frail.
Thank you, Jesus.