This morning I woke up happy. I had spent a few days travelling around Minnesota visiting girlfriends that I hadn’t spent time with in a long while. Reconnected, built relationship, got renewed after an intense few months at work. Came home yesterday afternoon and made about 10 gourmet pizzas for my son’s 23rd birthday (his twin lives in Oregon so I had sent him a gift and talked to him during my 3-hour drive). We watched home movies of my four boys’ childhood and laughed until we cried! And today was my youngest son’s 17th birthday and I was looking forward to making him strawberry crepes for breakfast in bed. The sun was shining (even though it was -10). It had been a good few days…and then I made my first mistake.
Typically, my first step every day is a cup of tea and time with the Lord. I read my Bible in the quiet of the morning and get my focus on Jesus and only then do I feel like I can face the day. But today, for whatever reason, I returned a phone call and read e mail from work because I hadn’t checked it all week (Spring break at the college where I teach). And I burst into tears.
I realized that I had yet to write the Tii blog post that you’re reading right now…I had to finalize a message that I was giving at church on Sunday (which would be the first message to be introduced via Facebook and put on our church website, so I was feeling lots of pressure)…I had to make crepes and make the day “special” for my baby…I had to read a textbook and get a review written…get a worksheet submission in for an online class that will be reviewed for quality…not to mention the online course itself that needed some re-vamping before it’s review…grade a test…and my bag wasn’t unpacked…and the bathroom needed cleaning…and there was laundry to do…and a commitment I had made to go to a ladies night at church…and…and…and…
I’m sure you’ve had those days? I can’t be the only one! It’s not a competition to see how much we can pack into a single day, yet it feels like that sometimes doesn’t it?! Maybe you don’t do this, but I catastrophize like crazy. I build everything up in my head and it spirals out of control until I’m so overwhelmed that I’m frozen with indecision about where to start. And here’s the thing: everyone sees me as so efficient and organized and so…well…together that I can’t ever just say it’s too much and I’ve got to let something go. So, I don’t…and I do get it all done…but I’m a wreck in the process.
But, I knew what to do after I cried a bit. I picked up my Bible and started to read in 2 Chronicles where I had left off yesterday, but it wasn’t what I needed. So, I went to my handy 3×5 cards. Written here are verses that have given my strength and courage in the past. I just sat and read through them. I didn’t try to memorize or think deeply. I just let God’s words sooth my soul and give me peace. I didn’t even pray, I sent a quick text to that friend that had called me and asked her to pray for me. I started making crepes and realized that it was okay to ask my husband to wake up and help me (I know, crazy!). I asked and he did. I shared my feelings of being overwhelmed and incapable of doing it all, and he, as always, helped me to calm down and put things in perspective – he often talks me down off the ledge.
We made crepes, brought Ben his birthday crepes (no, I had never made them before) and sang Happy Birthday. My husband and I sat down and ate and talked about what had been going on while I was away. Then we moved to the living room and talked some more, he offered to help with some things that he could do for me. I took a deep breath, accepted his help, and a paraphrased verse popped in my head:
She was victorious because she relied on the Lord. (2 Chronicles 13:18b)
I can’t do any of this on my own. I have been conditioned – society, media, my own warped sense of responsibility – to think that I should do it all on my own. I am, after all, a 21st century modern woman that can and should do it all, and do it perfectly, without breaking a sweat, and while looking perfect. And that’s just ridiculous.
In the end, I made a choice this morning to take things one step at a time, beginning with my reliance on the Lord. As I sat down to write this blog I got a return text from my girlfriend that said “Prayed and will continued throughout the day. You CAN do all things thru Christ! That’s what makes you a Superwoman!”
Jesus and me…the dynamic duo!
God wants to remind you today to allow yourself to be victorious BECAUSE you relied on Him, not yourself.
Lord, you are our strength; a mighty fortress. Our ever-present help in times of trouble and stress and our own crazy expectations. Help us to rely on You alone. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.