You might crash sometimes, and it might hurt. But you don’t have to burn.
Maybe you’ve been burning the wick at both ends for too long, but don’t worry–you won’t use up all your fuel. What’s fuelling you? Motivation? Inspiration? Obligation?
A few weeks ago, I wrote that it was okay to breathe. I shared my need to slow down and breathe in deeply, then exhale my experience of God’s grace and peace onto others by encouraging them to also slow down.
Now, I find myself back in the same old, same old. You know, you try to change. You’re doing well for a while, maybe even for a few months. You’re on a roll, girl! You’ve got this…right? Right? Right?!
I can hear that echo becoming ever-more frantic as self-doubt sets in.
Setbacks happen. They set in. Yep.
It’s human, natural, messy…and problematic. (That last part–maybe.)
Why do I question that last part, you ask? Of course it’s a HUGE problem when a girl has been working so hard to just relax…wait, therein lies the problem of the “problematic.” “Working” to “relax.” When relaxing becomes another thing on our neverending to-do list, that’s also problematic.
Not hearing much comfort yet, are you? Just wait for it. Because (deep breath) I crashed a few days ago. I went into a deep crevice, a dark valley–an all-too-familiar place I’ve visited too many times, and it’s a little embarrassing, to be honest.
I found myself wondering, Why? Why again? Really, God? We’re back here, and after all that I’ve done… After all that I’ve done. All that I’ve done?
Did you catch that? What can I do apart from God’s grace with the expectation of anything being different? There’s the real root of the problem. When I rely on my own abilities, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. I hesitate to say failure because I don’t believe that you fail unless you never try.
My typical response when things aren’t going my way (yep, my way again) is to question God, to ask why he’s allowing such-and-such to happen, to grow angry at God, to curse him out, and to go so far as to question if he cares or exists.
My faith is fragile, and that, too, is embarrassing, but I need to be honest. Jesus said faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. A mustard seed is really, really tiny, my friends, so if that little thing that still holds life can move a giant mountain, then I guess I’m doing okay.
Of note: When I read once (don’t ask me where–I don’t remember) that even yelling at God is prayer, that brought me great comfort. God wants our honesty, our broken hearts, for us to share everything with him. He already knows about our messiness, and sharing it with him is for our benefit. We need to spew that emotional vomit sometimes and to get it out of our systems. Not only can the stress of pent-up anger do damage to our bodies and minds, but its weight crushes our souls. God can take your anger. He took it before, and he’ll take it again. Amen.
You might wonder why I was feeling so low to begin with. I’ll blame at least twenty-five percent of it on those lovely monthly hormones who aren’t a girl’s BFF. I’ll also lay plenty of blame on not getting enough sleep. It’s easy for a mom to feel like she isn’t valued, especially and even by those closest to her. My kids are young, so they are inherently self-centered.
Anyone else feel like a slave? Or that the dishes are always dirty, the laundry always needs to be folded, another trip needs to be made to the grocery store, etc., etc., etc. You get it. Some days, I feel like my only purpose in life is to clean up after other people.
What pushed me over the edge, however, was when I tried going to sleep at 10:00 (following my earlier routine, check) and couldn’t fall asleep. It was 1:00, and I gave in and knocked myself out with Nyquil because I knew it would work. I’d been praying, begging, pleading with God for hours at that point.
My sleep is my biggest point of contention, you see. I suffered from insomnia through much of my twenties, so depriving me of my sleep is a BIG DEAL. I’ve been dependent on Ambien and will never go back to it. In recent years, I’ve been able to sleep much better.
Sleep is essential. It’s not a want, but a very basic need. Because of this, I couldn’t understand why God was denying me my sleep when I clearly needed it. So I got mad. Like I always do. And I hated myself for it because it meant that everything I’d been working so hard to fix that was broken in me had unraveled.
The next day, I was tempted to forego doing my Bible study and attending my Zoom ladies church group. It would’ve been easy to wallow in self-pity and claim that I was too angry and tired, but that niggling little voice (my conscience) told me to take the better path. I did the reading and attended the group. I even shared with those women what was on my heart and mind, and I spilled a few tears. Like yelling, a good cry can be healthy. I started to feel my burden lightened in that moment.
I showed up, even when it was hard. So, I’m telling you that while it’s okay to crash, get back up and keep going. Show up. Do the work. Reprioritize.
You’ll notice that it wasn’t a monumental event that caused my crash. It often isn’t. It’s the culmination of several little things over days or weeks that build, and I think that’s true for most of us. If you’re going through something huge, then I pray for God’s grace and peace to pour out onto you and cover you. Be extra kind to yourself and know that this is a season that will pass. Let the house get a little dirty. Let someone else go shopping. You likely have friends asking what they can do to help. Let them! We often, in our pride, refuse offered help, still convinced we have to go it alone. Sweetie, you don’t. You really don’t. And you’re never alone.
I joke, but I always say that when I die, people won’t say, “Oh, she had such a clean house” in my eulogy. Is that really what I want to be remembered for?
The Answers to Your Deepest Longings: 40 Days Through the Bible is a Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries I’ve been doing has reminded me again and again that we may not understand why God allows certain things to happen and we may question his timing, but we can trust God keeps his promises and that he is good and just. We have a God who suffers with us and carries us through hard times, so we are never alone. That takes faith to believe, sometimes a lot of faith on the hard days, but like the man in the Bible who cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” we can call out to God anytime, anywhere.
While doing the study the day when I was my lowest, I realized God was already pulling me out of that dark valley. I read in the study guide: “Matthew 27:50 tells us Jesus cried out and yielded up His spirit. Pay attention to those words. No one took Jesus’ life from Him. Death had no hold on the sinless Son of God. No. He chose to die” (The Answers to Your Deepest Longings: 40 Days Through the Bible by Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 Ministries Team, p. 139). Tears sprung to my eyes, like I was discovering this truth for the first time. Of course, this was nothing new, but it was new that day because I was made a new creation again as God reworked me into someone closer to his image.
Amen and amen.
Maybe the vessel cracks or shatters when it crashes, but the Master Potter remolds us as his clay creations and fires us anew in the kiln. I guess it’s okay to burn, too.