Have you ever been so stressed/overwhelmed that you just shut down? I’m talking mind, body, and spirit.
That’s been me this past week, up until Wednesday morning.
Summer time is crunch time for student ministry. So much planning, going and doing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job – it’s just been a bit overwhelming because I am not a planner, like, at all. I do love to be busy, but just looking at my calendar and seeing all of the upcoming events stresses me to the max, and then that’s when I tend to shut down.
On Wednesday, my friend Emily and I decided to go meet a new friend. Her name is Shauntelle. She is an 18 year old girl from Ireland. Shauntelle is in Texas because the only doctor able to treat the rare form of cancer she has is here. She shared with us her journey and what all she has been going through. I had to stop her about 5 minutes into our visit and tell her that she had a beautiful glow that I had never seen before; her spunky spirit and bright eyes brought so much peace to my non-stop mind. It was difficult for me at moments to hold back tears as she continued pouring her heart out to us about this not-so-fun journey. It also made me stop and revaluate my life. Although I have faced much heartache in the past, I have never had to endure half of what Shauntelle has been through. So, why am I throwing a pity party because I have “too much on my plate?”, when I should be thankful for every single second. Even in the crazy chaotic seasons. We continued to listen, as she let me eat my breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana (I brought her some as well – she waited to eat after we left, as she gets hungry at odd times because of her chemo *side note* she has never had breakfast tacos because that isn’t a thing in Ireland. She text me not long after we left and said, “you were right those tacos were AMAZING!”). As Emily and I were leaving we ended up praying over Shauntelle and she said, “prayers at the end of visits are always my favorite”. Shauntelle taught me a lot in the short time we spent with her.
Our time on this earth is short, but I believe we can enjoy it a lot more if we chose joy, and by choosing joy it first starts with a thankful heart. It’s all about the outlook. This life is full of hardships, pain, sickness, and suffering; unfortunately, these things will never go away, but we do have a God that wants to be there with us in it and through it all. He will carry you when you just can’t anymore. I remember a lot of those moments when I thought I couldn’t go on, when I literally thought my heart might fall out of my chest, I felt so very alone, and empty as could be.
He slows my anxious heart.
He reminds me I’m not alone.
He fills my empty soul.
He rescued me.
He rescues me everyday.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place for safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.”
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.” Psalms 18: 2-3; 16-18
I’m in a season of healing right now. It’s been tough, but has thankfully opened my eyes quite a bit. It’s revealed things recently in regard to people who I might have hurt because of my selfishness, and poor decisions I have made in the midst of confusion and chaos. I have always struggled with inadequacy and loving myself. I easily focus on the negatives when I look in the mirror, but end up putting that mask of “happiness” on pretending that I have it all together, and that “I’ve never been better”. I tend to beat myself up a lot; feelings of guilt and shame flood over me, which cause me to fall into the pit of despair, depression, and darkness. On my last 30 minute stretch in from Houston last night I turned off my radio and began to pray out loud (something I haven’t done in a long time), which turned into a weeping session of pouring my heart and soul out to Jesus. He sweetly kept reminding me of this: He is more. He is more than my fear, more than my failure, more than my faults, more than my insecurity, more than my future plans, and He is so much more than anything that this world has to offer. He gently reminded me that I am enough, and that He will never leave or forsake me. Even when I am a wretched sinner, even when I do lean on my own understanding instead of His. I am just super thankful, and so overwhelmed knowing that He does in fact have my best interests at heart. So, Im pressing in and pressing on. He is sufficient. His power is always made perfect in our weakness. Which reminds me that I am more. I am more because of His amazing grace, and that is something that gives me such genuine joy, not just a fake mask I have to put on. Knowing that He is still fighting for me, and still on my side regardless of my past blows my mind more and more every time. So, if you’re feeling down today, or just need a reminder, I hope this somehow encourages you in some way. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay there. There is hope for everyone. His name is Jesus, and He says that you are more.
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down in to God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:16-20