Over My Head
Do you ever feel like you are drowning in your daily demands? Ever feel like no matter how much time you have to yourself, you never actually “have it to yourself”? Since I was married two years ago, I have found the struggle to be all too real when it comes to constantly having something to do. In between visiting friends and family for birthdays, trying to deep-clean my house every two weeks, working on school work to get my online degree, or just going to the grocery store it is suffocating at times. I often find myself in distress because I have a hard time saying NO. Are you with me?!
How many of us loathe telling people we love ( or people in general, for all of us people pleasers out there) that we “can’t make it”, or “not this time”? I believe once we come to the realization that we are never going to be able to get everything done, it may be a little bit easier to relax when it comes to situations like these. By simply substituting our “yes’s” and “okays” for “no’s” and “sorry’s”, you would be surprised how much lighter you will feel.
Now, this does not mean when someone asks us something we yell “NO!” in their face and run in the opposite direction. It simply means that it is okay to tell someone you are unavailable at any given time without having to explain yourself or feel guilty. You may find that after a few of these “regretfully declines,” a new and liberating feeling will replace the once hardened guilt. Once you have broken the initial chains of all of those yesses, taking time for yourself will come easier and more naturally.
As you may know from reading my bio, I am a part-time distance learning student pursuing my bachelor’s degree. On top of working full-time, sometimes I feel like I never have downtime to do simple tasks such as cleaning my room, vacuuming, window shopping on a Saturday, or just sitting outside and reading a book(not school related;). I mean, I have been trying to organize my closet and change out my winter for summer clothes for the past month and a half! And summer only has a month and a half left! Needless to say, by not getting all of these “to-do” list items done, it brings on a feeling of disappointment and disgust. It makes me feel as if I have failed at a simple task. On top of that, I feel as if I am running in circles or going nowhere fast since the only accomplishments I maintain are intangible. Until I actually graduate, I fear that feeling may never go away.
Then you have the issue of children. When to have them, when not to have them. After eight years with my husband (again, only two of those have been married), I feel as if children are the next step. Not that I am at all unfulfilled by it just being my husband and myself, but merely the fact that due to our long dating history, children just seem like the natural next step. And seeing my friends grow in their families does nothing to calm the baby fever by the way ;) Looking at one more year of school, I tell myself that I should just put off having children. Will I have time for school work, my full-time job, AND a 24-7 little human being?! But then, I tell myself, “No.” Children are what I desire most right now. Yes, I would love to be done with school as soon as possible, but do I mind maybe finishing a few semesters later than I originally planned? Or do I mind not having a baby within the next year more? I know that I desire the children more, so I am willing to make that sacrifice. In turn, prioritizing my wants allows me to feel more at ease when I look at these timetables of my to-do list.
If I allow myself to fall prey to all of these daily stresses, I find myself starting to sound a little like this. “What am I getting myself into?” Am I in over my head?” “I am just so overwhelmed that I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.” This seems like almost daily vernacular to me. I do not want to go around sounding negative and unhappy. I do not want to be unhappy because I have so many things to be happy about! I want less of the questioning and doubt and more confidence and satisfaction in my life. How many of you can relate? So, on top of all of this everyday stress and need just to breathe, I am also guilty of obsessing over things that have not even happened yet and situations that I have no control over. Just turn on ten minutes of the news and you will see five more things that have occurred in the world that leaves us feeling anxious over the economy, our national security, or even our local safety and well-being. How easily it is to give in to fear and doubt and to forget that we have a remedy to those hindrances; Jesus.
In Matthew chapter 14 verses 24 through 33, we find a perfect example of this type of overwhelming situation. Peter and the disciples had been fishing when out of nowhere an intimidating storm came up.
“24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.25 Now in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
This story illustrates how we, myself most often, lose sight of Jesus when we become distracted and fearful due to or surroundings. There can be the peace we find in Jesus and knowing His goodness for us, but as soon as we lose our focus on that goodness, we easily start to sink. But what does Jesus do? He IMMEDIATELY reaches for us to save us. He is ever present, regardless of storms around us. This passage also says that after they were in the boat, the wind ceased. How similar is this to when we have the peace of Jesus in us, that we are met with the calm after the storm?
With this realization, I find myself needing my quiet time with the Lord more and more. But guess what? When is that time? You guessed it; I haven’t made time for Him. I ashamedly admit that I have not kept my intimacy with the Lord at the top of my list. I would bet my bottom dollar if I maintained that relationship a little more, all of the other worries and stresses would just melt away. So, from now on my “to-do” list is going to come after my reading and devotional. If something gets put off until tomorrow, then so be it.
After realizing how much I needed a reminder that God is there to help us with our struggles and keep us from falling, I came to an old passage that I used to recite often. I love the following verse from Lamentations. It brings me back to the surface for a much-needed breath of fresh air when it seems I have been drug down so far by the weight of the world and all of its chaos.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto those that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh Him.” Lamentations 3: 21-25
As I push forward with pursuing my degree, starting a family and hopefully making this blog a full-time gig, I choose to say “not this time” to anything that comes weighted with guilt. And I choose to say “yes” to everything that helps me hold onto a little bit more of myself to keep me feeling like a real person with a real life. In the end, the time spent with others will just become more precious the next time you see them. So with all of this being said, I encourage you to take your time and remember that it is okay to keep time for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish or inconsiderate. And when you find it hard to focus or slow things down, read a quick passage or say a quick prayer. I promise He is listening and He is faithful.
Peace and Blessings,