Maybe that wasn’t me, she says softly. Maybe that’s who I thought I had to be. I listen to a friend, as she shares about how overwhelmed and anxious she feels. She has reached her limit. She’s scared. And it has her looking back at the way she used to respond.
She is not alone. I feel it too.
When we are overwhelmed, when life jack-hammers the normal and we can no longer hold everything with grace, and we’re snapping at our kids, and our heart rate matches that of a tiny rabbit, it’s easy to believe the lie that our learning version discounts the former self.
Just because your circumstances change doesn’t mean the essence of you has.
I tell her, You are still the core of who you will always be. Don’t discount the old version. We go through pain and transition and joys at different times along the journey and if we beat ourselves up for who we are becoming now and dislike the former us, we minimize the process of refining. No one starts out all lesssons learned. They have to be walked into, trudged through, sat in for a while.
When I had my breakdown (that’s a nice way of saying I completely lost it) after my dad passed, I no longer cared about trying to have it together or attempting to be everything for everybody. It was the hardest yet most freeing decision I’ve ever responded to because it took me out of the center and put Him in control. Living in the new way, I often looked back and thought, Was that an act? Was I super bubbly for real? And I confidently know yes, that part will always be in me, but pain and release, transition and release, parenting and release, grief and release, control and release shave off the extra to create space for enough.
We can’t learn how to live in awareness of God showing up if He has nothing to show up for.
When I have the perfect words for perfect kids and a perfect hubbby and live in a perfect home (I can hardly type the words) there is no need to let go.
I hugged the phone. Here’s what we you are going to do. You are going to focus on today. And if that means taking a cool shower and sitting in your comfy chair all day, that’s okay. You’re going to call a grandma to pick up the kids from school and you’re going to give yourself grace because you are depleted and need to get yourself filled up before you have to utter one.more.word. You’re going to download Hillsong‘s new record, Empires (thanks for the rec, Kira) and make yourself an iced chai and let Him hold you after holding way.too.much for far.too.long.
And when those overwhelmed thoughts buzz like an annoying mosquito you’re going to imagine your mind like a room that is at full capacity and gently say, ‘There’s no space for you, today. Thank you.” And when the next anxious thought buzzes louder, you’ll swat it away and repeat, “Nope, no room for you either.” Today, you don’t have to fix or do or solve anyone or anything. You simply get to be be. And letting Him hold you is a good place to start.
And, I’m hugging the phone tight, you are so so brave.
We hung up, and a minute later I smiled as I read her text.
I’m eating cold blackberry cobbler out of the fridge for lunch.
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13