I reached a point where I felt I was drowning in everything I needed to do and be.
Homeschool. Eat right. Exercise. Cook. Clean. Do the laundry. Date night. Visit family. Pay the bills. Quality time. Me time. Hobbies. Call friends. Go to church. Read the Bible. Pray. Chase your dreams.
Where does it end?!?
The list of things I need to do the have a happy, healthy life?
Because I’m just getting warmed up, and I can already feel my throat closing up and I’m gasping for air just writing it all out.
I’ve struggled for so long to do all the right things, and all my attempts end in me feeling like a miserable failure. I’m so overwhelmed by everything I have to do, I walk in circles just trying to figure out how to get on top of it all. And I never do. You know the drill. As soon as I finish something it’s destroyed. It’s more clutter. More mess. More of me feeling stuck and completely joyless.
I have goals. I have things I want to achieve in my life. They aren’t lofty by the world’s standards, I’m sure, so why am I sitting here 12 years later worse off than where I began? I just wanted to have a decently decorated house that felt like a home. Raise confident, courageous, and kind children who know who they are in Christ and have a ton of amazing memories of their childhood. And maybe visit the beach every summer. I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, but is that really so much to ask?
Yet here I am. Thirty-five years old, at 11:30 at night sitting in a pink bathrobe in a living room that is so messy and horribly decorated, it looks like it belongs in a frat house writing about how I can’t seem to get my life together. The more I try to eat right, the worse I end up eating. The more I try to decorate my house, the worse it ends up looking. I seem to always be going in the opposite direction of where I want to go, and I know a lot of the reason is because I simply become overwhelmed.
People tell me to pray about it, but how am I supposed to pray about it when I can barely think straight?
Then, a few weeks ago, I realized I was overcomplicating prayer. I’d been taught my whole life that I needed to pray a certain way or with certain words or at certain times. Sure, as an adult, I’d heard that that wasn’t true. That I just needed to cry out to God and talk to Him throughout the day, but I didn’t know what to say. If I’m perfectly honest, a big part of me was hiding from God. I felt guilty for all my failures, and -though I wouldn’t admit it to myself or anyone else because I should have known better, or at least believed better – I made up my mind that He didn’t want to hear from me. That He didn’t want to help me because I’d blown it too many times and now it was just time for me to suffer the consequences. I believed I was beyond God’s help.
Actually, let me go back to a couple of months ago when I made what was somewhat of an unconscious decision to slowly start “reaching out.”
I didn’t actually start by reaching out to God. Instead, I reached out to a woman I didn’t even know. She seemed close to God and to have it all together. Maybe she could help me. I didn’t realize it in the moment, but reaching out to her required an act of faith and surrender because I knew asking her for help would require me to give up something I’d been clinging to for the past 3 years. Something I kept telling myself would fix all my problems and bring me joy. Something I was relying on instead of God. And while I realize I was more putting my faith in her ability to help me at that time than I was in God, He had a plan.
Looking back, deep down I wanted what she had. A relationship with God. I thought I’d ruined mine and could never get it back. It was too late. I was too far gone. My head knew better, but my heart refused to accept it. So I hid from God. Suddenly, I knew how Adam + Eve must have felt. Up until about age 18, I’d believed God wasn’t accessible to me. That I could only reach him through priests. And after that, I was angry with Him. I didn’t really want anything to do with Him to be honest, but when I hit 23, I came into a relationship with Him, and it was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Somehow I managed to let it slip away and while I still believed, I got farther and farther away from Him. Eventually, running from Him entirely and trying to find peace and joy in things that could never fill me the way He could.
SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t work, and I was a pretty miserable person for a while there.
These past 2 months haven’t been easy.
I want to fix everything NOW. I want it to go back to the way it used to be NOW, but the thing is, I’m not going back to where I was in my walk with God back then. He takes us from glory to glory. My nanny used to say it’s like peeling away the layers of an onion – there are more tears with each layer because you are going deeper and deeper into all the things that need to be shed away, all the hurts and hangups that need to be healed and dealt with. When we start our walk with God, it’s kind of like a new relationship. It’s easy, but as time goes on, if you want it to work, you have to make some compromises and some sacrifices.
Except in this relationship, I’m the only one that needs to change – and I gotta be honest, I’m one stubborn woman. I like things done my way, but if the past 2 years have taught me anything, it’s that my way is definitely not the best way and I certainly don’t have everything all figured out.
Just don’t tell my husband I said that…