I think I may have reached my limit.
The first couple of months of 2016 have sped by. I have been trying to help a teenager stay on top of good study habits while helping an elementary-aged girl keep up with school paperwork, events and a desire to take piano lessons. Need a volunteer to teach a lesson in a classroom? Sure, I’m doing that.
Then there are church activities – things that I feel like God has called me to work with at this time in my life, which has meant more meetings, learning and getting organized. Sometimes commitments are planned; sometimes they are spur-of-the-moment.
I have been trying to “take care of me” by joining Jazzercise and exercising very regularly, and continuing to do relaxing things like crafting or reading a good book.
And don’t forget about those fun things we all have – keeping up with laundry and meals and bills and cleaning.
As I’m working to juggle all of these competing priorities, I have started to feel more and more exhausted. Stretched. Tense. Little things that I should have recalled I’m forgetting or not doing to the best of my ability.
Then I find myself sitting in my car with tears in my eyes, trying to figure out how I can organize things better or do things more efficiently so I don’t feel like I’ve reached my limit. Maybe if I stayed up longer, used a new tool or just got more efficient.
That effort, however, just ended up with me sobbing.
I feel hopeless – like there’s nothing I can do to feel like I am at rest or peace.
Enter a God moment while sitting at the Lenten service Wednesday. Vicar Aaron Staub was talking about being pure of heart in the Sermon on the Mount, and what purity really means. He had a great visual illustration of clear water in a jar that with one drop of food coloring became completely tainted. There is nothing that water can do to make itself pure again.
But then he brought in a different bottle and poured it into the tainted water – and it became as clear as glass again. His point – there is nothing internally WE can do to become pure; purity has to come from an external source. (To see the sermon, check out https://vimeo.com/bslcomaha.)
As I reflected, that is me today not so much with purity but with peace. I’m trying to do everything within MY own power to get things done but still remain calm. And I’m failing miserably. If I want peace, I need it to come from the only possible external source of peace – God.
Peace – like purity – comes from outside of me. I can’t manufacture it, even when I had been trying so hard to do so. I’ve been looking for peace in the wrong place, instead of where God’s Word points me:
- The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11
- But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:26-28
Knowing that I don’t have to figure out a magic fix for feeling stretched and just need to rely on God is enough to make me sigh with relief. Today, I pray the same for you.