When you numb one feeling, it tends to numb the rest of you also.
This is the reality I’m facing this week. (So I’m writing this in real time. Some writers don’t operate like this, but I usually do.)
The past 2ish weeks have been especially taxing, with a mixture of a few physical ailments and a new level of whining from our toddler, among other things.
I. Am. Tired.
And like I voiced to a close friend at one point that we don’t even have to give reasons for our tiredness. Sometimes “Life right now.” can be reason enough to admit fatigue or lack or struggle. (Amen?)
How tough-er seasons/days/weeks usually go for me is that I start out strong — positive, prayerful, intentional — and then when I reach the bottom of my barrel, I am a combination of Gilmore Girls every day + sugar and caffeine + a bit of neediness with God. (Usually in that order.)
I don’t think there is a formula for tough days. No This + That = I’ve got this and I’m fine. But there is unwise and wise coping strategies. And praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, there is grace for when I choose wisely and more of it for when I don’t.
Last year sometime I was struck with an idea, sketched it out and taped it to our fridge: “Phases of Functioning.”
There is true, beautiful, life-giving, purely fun leisure and rest and play… and balanced on the other scale is obedience, action and steadfastness. This is living awake. On either extreme end, however, is sleepiness. Escapism, burnout, laziness and exhaustion.
Like the few days this week where I chose escapism, letting my mind “numb out,” and allowing all kinds of not-helpfulness to enter my body… the sleepiness slipped into other places.
My attention to God who is present with me.
My capacity of compassion, patience and instruction for Anna.
My energy to pursue my friends in conversation and in prayer.
Because instead of sitting in my discomfort (self-denial, physical pain, long hours of homemaking), I wanted to avoid it. And momentarily fix it… by myself. As opposed to inviting God into it, trusting that as many times as I show up, in whatever state I turn to Him, He will be there. And not with a glower or disappointing face.
Sure, this week I was casually reaching out to God, as I find myself doing most minutes of life. But it wasn’t in trust and belief that He could multiply the teeny tiny loaves and fish of capacity I had or that He would welcome my honest feelings and struggles if I brought them.
I’ll end this externally processing here: What if the hard can just be hard, but hard with God? For the believer, it’s a never-alone hard, a steady-arm-underneath hard, a purposeful hard. What if the hard is not something I have to consume and act as if that is where my lifeblood is coming from? What if that hard can be a thing God and I look at together, on the same side of the table? What if hard can be thought of as a passing storm cloud, emphasis on the word PASSING?
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. via
I have hard moments, hours, days and I want to do anything and everything I can to get rid of them, or hide from them, or ignore them… but by doing that I’m basically also escaping from the Help for those moments, because I want to not be in them at all. But God can meet me anywhere. Even places I don’t want to be. His presence is equal in all moments. Maybe I work to cultivate, find solace in, find enough for the moment, the Company with God over the scenery around me.*
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble,” Psalm 46:1 reads. God is a safe place to go, even when my insides, my choices, my idols are what’s troublesome, not just circumstances out of my control.
What do you think? How do you cope with hard?
*Borrowing this phrase from Dr. Alicia Chole.