Some days I want to run, but need to rest instead. I am in recovery; from a night in the hospital with my son, and from the guttural urge towards striving. I feel overwhelmed by all the needs in my home, yet find myself propelled forward, numb but driven, propped up only by my own strength. Rest is needed, time set apart to refuel and be restored in spirit, soul, and body. I struggle to be still. Anxieties crowd my vision; I know where help is found, yet pull back. Why? Self-reliance? Fear? Or am I simply too exhausted to try?
As I send updates to friends and family, I am reminded to practice connecting with God in the midst of chaos. It's not always easy.
When I am consumed by the moment, when time is marked by the streaming in and out of medical personnel, it's hard to remain connected. I am distracted, yes, but aware of my need, and so I seek the comfort of social media, soothed by the well wishers and prayer warriors alike. Time passes, my son's condition improves, and all that needed to be reported has been shared. We have reached a plateau, and now I must simply wait, in the wee hours of the morning. Sleep has never come easy in times like these, yet I make a conscious effort to still- in body and mind.
Nurses confer in the hallway and a small child cries. I remember when that was my son, years ago, just after diagnosis, when he resisted treatment. I remember being sent out of the room, standing disconnected in the hallway, breaking apart inside- and I pray for the family. For the child to find healing from medical trauma, for the parents to find comfort in God, and trust in his mercies, alone. Truth sparks inside me- I too, must seek connectivity with my Source. When exhaustion swamps my mind and the only coherent sentence I can wring out is "Jesus help me"-- he does.
Once home, needs swamp me. Monitor Blood glucose levels, dispense meds, schedule appointments, field phone calls, attend appointments, soak the wound, wrap the fracture, throw together dinner- and wonder when I'll get to the dishes and laundry. Achieving balance between appointments for one son and the other seems precarious at best. I feel like I am drowning in musts: I must change the dressing on the injured foot, I must cook healthy meals, I must drive all over the metro-plex to medical appointments. I must find time for recreation, and meet sensory needs. Most urgent I MUST keep my son out of the ER so we can meet with the surgeon on on Thursday... I MUST keep my son alive-- and well. My stomach knots; I am afraid I cannot accomplish this feat. It's an old fear, cloaked in the disguise of false responsibility.
Self reliance is stealthy temptation, drawing my heart away from the One who saves me every moment.
My youngest chatters about Superman and Wonder Woman in between Brain Balance appointments and I wonder... Where does this drive to know all and do all come from? And how do I escape the trap of self sufficiency? My emotions are frayed and I feel fragile. Trying to control everything only adds layers of exhaustion. Tears are evidence of stress held in too long. I can not be in two places at once.
When stress is high, and I'm coming undone, I want tangible support. I tend to gravitate towards human hands and hearts, and while community is key, anxiety remains undiminished by sympathy. I am discovering that desperation is only soothed by dependance on the One who is my Source.
I am not at rest until I get still, breathe deeply of the Presence that soothes. So I sit, in the car, between appointments, and Just Breathe. I try to pray, yet lingering resistance dams my emotions. I am afraid to let go, afraid the dam will break and I will fall apart. I shift focus, to answer a message of concern coming in, and I try to sound brave. I am not. I crumble. The dam has broken, and I finally find sweet release. Tears stream down my cheeks, and I realize I was holding on too hard to too much. I can not be all-sufficient, but I do not have to be- for there is a Sure Strength beyond my own.
I realize: Release is a gift, not a weakness. Prayer is the conduit that connects me to an authentic communion that reaches beyond compassion. Prayer's purpose, in these moments, is not immediate cessation of difficulty, but rather the connection with all consuming peace in heart and mind.
Father God, open my eyes to self sufficiency and false responsibility- especially in the midst of distractions. In the calm, and in the chaos, still my heart. Train my ears to hear your voice, connecting with you in the moment. Teach me to rely on you alone, for only you can fill me up and make me well.
I now release each and every specific concern to you ___________________
I lay everything on the altar before you, and release. I choose to rest in your sufficiency, to be cradled by your love. I choose to move forward in your strength and seek your presence every step of the way, for you are my Safe Place.