Any moments this summer when you became overwhelmed with all the things you needed to do? Read on for valuable insight from Lindsey Goodyear, a writer, mom and Messy Church leader at her Messy Church in California. Thanks Lindsey for a great reminder for us all. Messy Last days of summer blessings, Roberta J. Egli
For almost a month, I was drowning. If I were being generous, there may have been two times in those 30 days where I got within arm’s reach of breaking the surface of that water, only to be pulled back under with merciless force. Like so many others around the world, I had taken on too much and the weight of every day responsibility was crushing me. I was quick to anger, I had no patience for anyone who wasn’t as in as big of a hurry as I was, and I found myself forgetting to pray until I was so filled with anger I’d scream, “Please, God, give me a break!” It had me wishing there was a cave I could crawl into and hide from the world for a bit. I mean, things had to get back on track that way, right?
Having struggled with anxiety for most of my life, it’s unusually easy for me to spiral into negativity. Something difficult will happen, I will attempt to fix it myself (because I will not ask for help), I’ll pile it on along with the other thousand things I’ve volunteered for, as well as the normal everyday things I’m solely responsible for. Night will bring an hour or so of sleep before I wake with panic about forgetting something on my list or guilt from not living up to the seemingly perfect mothers on Instagram who spend endless hours with their kids. “Do I read to my youngest as much as I read to my oldest?” A mother’s guilt is undoubtedly inevitable and hardly ever justified. Although it usually takes a few of days, I’m ultimately able to find some time to catch up, get a good night’s sleep, and restart with renewed energy for the day’s undertaking. Then, a few months would pass, and it would all start again. This time, though, the restart wasn’t happening.
I wasn’t finding joy in my children but instead yelling at them anytime they became too loud. I put off the usual date nights with my husband because I had other (non-urgent) tasks to get done. He was always around anyway so what was the trouble in missing a dinner or two with him? I became irritated when organizations, I had volunteered for in the first place, asked for help with different projects. Didn’t they understand that I also worked tirelessly cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, organizing, working, AND they needed me to find time for them too? I had spiraled out of control. I was burnt out and anything that crossed my path became a burden of negativity beyond measure.
We attempted to take a break for a few days and head to San Diego with some of our friends. Still reeling from the stress of home, I was looking forward to a few days away. Immediately upon arrival, I came down with a stomach bug. The negative thoughts were raging, now.When do I get a break?!” It was then that God must have a had a parental “I’ve had it” moment with me because in the midst of agonizing nausea and stomach pain, I heard, loud and clear, a voice in my head say “God gave me this.” What? God gave me the stomach flu? And, then again, “God gave me this.”
I am not one of those people who have ever heard God “talking” to them but in this instance, it was undeniable who this statement was coming from. I, strangely, felt a comforting wave of relief that allowed me to fall into a deep sleep free from untimely wake-ups or looming guilt. When I woke up, it was like finding a well-lit room after a month of darkness. And, I got it. All of the things I’d been dwelling on, that had turned me into a self-loathing martyr, were not things that had happened to me, but were things that God had given me. A light was shed on the fact that I was losing patience with my children being “children” when there were women around the world agonizing over their barren reality. I was a mother and God gave me this. Also, that my husband still wanted to “date” me and does so with that same loving look in his eye as he did 13 years ago, is a blessing of love that many in this world are praying for daily. I am a wife, and God gave me this. I get to make a living by using my passion to write while others dread the daily grind and crave transition. I am a writer, and God gave me this. I have food to cook when we are hungry. God gave me this. I have machines that wash and dry my clothes. God gave me this. I can clean after my family because we actually have a home to live in. God gave me this. And so on and so on.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”Abraham Lincoln
Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where the negativity starts to creep in. It’s unrealistic to think that we will never be affected by the daily obstacles thrown our way. Life is hard and life is messy. However, there has been a massive change in my thought process since I’ve regularly approached stressful situations with the mantra, “God gave me this.” Because with all of the messy things God has given to me, He has also given me the strength, tools, and Know-how to deal with them. It’s just a matter of changing our point of view. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” I absolutely love the idea that thorn bushes have roses and it’s all because…God gave me this.