The scene was my kitchen table and living room. The date was a random Friday a couple weeks ago. Brian went for a long run then a Costco run. I was home with my kids on my Sabbath...working.
My days are out of control recently. I'm working way too much. Way. It's a unique season of ministry where I've finished most days with a list of "to dos" longer than when I've started the day. Every single day has dealt with painful emails, difficult conversations, disappointed followers, misunderstood decisions, and awkward transitions. Literally, every single day. It's a season I hope to leave sooner than later. Tears have defiantly fallen more often than I'd like. I've been hanging on by a thread while passionately casting a vision of a new thing I believe God's calling our community toward [Isaiah 43:18-19]. Most days I feel a complicated tension of intense conviction and a weary beat down.
My prayer life has taken on a life of its own! My prayers have been desperate. Wholly hopeful. Deeply convicted. Sometimes demanding. Always honest. Never defeated.
Back to the scene in my kitchen/living room. I was desperately trying to catch up on a litany of emails and ever-urgent "to dos", instead of playing with my kids on the floor. Ugh. As I'm sitting at my computer doing all kinds of pastoral and "spiritual" things I found myself turning my head over my shoulder every 5-7 minutes yelling at my toddlers. Addise, don't hit Judah! Judah, stop jumping on the couch!! Addise, you know you're not supposed to drink Judah's water!!! Judah, if you do that one more time you get a hand-slap!!!! At one moment I'm spiritually leading people virtually and the next minute I'm about to go postal on my kids. All the while, I'm having a very "Paul" moment:
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. [Romans 7]
Brian got home before I did something really bad and asked how I was. I erupted, "I'm about to have a serious meltdown in every way." True to form, Brian calmly responded a few minutes later. "I'm going to tell you what you're going to do and you're not going to argue. You're going to take a shower [NOTE: this was because it'd probably been 2.5 days] and then you're going to leave and not come back until later tonight. You can go to the mall. You can do whatever you want, but you need to go." I choked back tears and ran off to the shower. During my shower my mind raced with how I was going to make the best use of my 5 hours alone. Errands needed to be run. Returns made. Groceries picked up. Gift cards used. Personal tasks completed. But I kept coming back to REST. I needed rest.
After my shower, Brian came back to our room and said, "I have another idea. You know that place we got massages [$20 for an hour!!!]? Go there." I started crying again and said I also thought of going to see a movie alone. His Puerto Rican eyes got really big. I've never done that. Ever. I always thought that excursion was for weirdos [though Brian adores movies alone]. But I was craving sitting in an air conditioned theater with no one asking me for anything, touching me, expressing their disappointment in my actions. My heart needed to be massaged by God, as much as my aching muscles.
That afternoon was hard for me just to receive the grace of time and let go. But my soul demanded it. I've been meditating on the passage where Jesus beckons his disciples to answer this question: "what's the benefit if you gain the whole world and lose your souls?" I will not lose my soul.
Though I'm a hot mess these days, I know I'm loved. I'm loved by my God though I do what I don't want to do and don't do what I want to do. I'm loved by my husband who's the best friend, co-parent, and love of my life. And I know I'm loved by others who care about who I am more than what I do. So, I'm a mess yet I'm grateful. And I'm learning some along the way, too.