I would describe my current state as near a proverbial collapse state. Interrupted sleep for three nights in a row, along with the “springing forward” has worn me down. I’ve run out of patience. Joy has been blocked by my stress. Gratitude has taken a backseat to envy and “if onlys.” And my pride is on all time alert as we kick of March Madness. It’s as if my self-worth hinges on testosterone filled late adolescents’ ability to put a round ball through a hop AND my psychic abilities to predict WHICH group of them will prevail on any given day. No wonder I’m near collapse! As I confessed in my last post, I need like to win. I can’t help envy the days when I was able to ditch all my responsibilities to watch the excitement of the basketball games. Now, I try to sneak glances wherever I can but I’ve reframed from downloading the app on my iphone because as I’ve said in my first sentence, I’m beyond filled up – projects need to be finished before stress levels will decline. Blogging happens to be a great way for relieving stress for me and since Eden is in science class I have a few minutes to share what’s been on my mind.
Recently, I watched the documentary, Chimpanzee, with my children. I’ll admit I have ambiguous feelings towards Disney because of the consumerism connected with their movies. But I’ll admit that Disney consistently produces quality and this movie was no exception — it was beautifully done. If you haven’t seen it and want to, I’m about to SPOIL it so skip to the end. SPOILER ALERT — STOP READING AND GO TO LAST PARAGRAPH We were all heart broken when Oscar’s Mom died. But seeing him rejected and basically left to die himself by his community was even more devastating. No one helped AND THEY COULD. My only hope became my knowledge that Disney wouldn’t leave us in despair (it’s a kid’s movie after all!) so it was with anticipation I waited for a reversal of fortune. Disney didn’t disappoint but I wonder if any of us expected the redeemer to be Freddy, the leader of the community. This dominant male was his most unlikely candidate to take him in, yet he did.
Several things hit home. Disney isn’t the only one who never leaves us to despair, God doesn’t either. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us and He doesn’t, no matter what the circumstance. Even when it feels like He has left us, He hasn’t. Why do I know this? He has never broken a promise. Secondly, God often feels like the most unlikely candidate to take me in. He is the maker and creator of the heavens and the earth. Yet he says I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows every HAIR on my head. He calls himself a shepherd who leaves no sheep behind. He tells us that Jesus sits at the right hand throne intervening in prayer for us. He is the most unlikely candidate, yet he “grooms us, cares for us, teaches us, and lets us catch a ride on His back.” We know we are one of His by the way he attends to us, just like Freddy had loyalty from his community by pouring into them. I’ve definitely had times in my life where I did not feel cared for by God. I’ve felt deceived by God about certain decisions I’ve made when I felt like he didn’t reveal to me other ways. Now, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t as easy to tell what’s on Him and what’s on my own sinful nature of wanting to do things my way. I’ve come to realize that despite all the misgivings in my heart towards God, that he counts me as one of His own. Besides rejecting Him, there is nothing I can do to cause Him to leave me and I find great comfort in that reality.
Third, I was reminded that unity is greater than strength and numbers. Unity is far more powerful than individual strength. It’s so hard to remember that in moments of challenge and pain because in these moments, I want to rise to the occasion. More accurately, I want to get rid of the pain. So I barrel forth, impulsively at times, trying to overthrow the challenge in front of me rather than gathering my supports, getting people on board and moving together.
Finally, I observed an intense loyalty and trust the community of chimpanzees had on their leader. They were willing to die for him and more clear, he was willing to die for them. He led them on the attack. He went after the toughest attackers. He was committed to defending his community’s land to the death. I hope that should my trust ever be tested, that I trust in God. I hope that I have written on my heart, not even death can separate me from the love of God and from that love I fearlessly attack that which tries to separate me from the “land of milk and honey.” Now I’ve been in some spiritual deserts, which makes it difficult to imagine God taking me to green pastures and a more fulfilling place. In my experience, time and time again I’ve come out of that desert experiencing the richness and fullness of life and that feels like green pastures. There is something to be said about serving a God who exists fearlessly – sacrificing His Son and loving me in my sinful existence, especially when I’ve repeated failure (and will continue to do so) to love Him in return.
I’m grateful for the awareness that I need others. I’ve recently been struggling to get to my 6 am workout because I’m not a morning person to begin with and every year the time spring change messes with my internal clock. So, I’ve asked a person to keep me accountable to get up because I must. It’s awful and I can’t do it alone. I need support in using kind and gentle tones with those around me because no one likes to be talked too with condemnation or anger. My husband and children let me know when I’ve crossed the line. I’m writing a book and I’ve let others know so they can encourage me and ask me directly if I’m putting in the time. I’ve also been privileged to ask others how they are doing and encourage them in specific things they’ve shared with me. My hope for this blog is that we can encourage one another and be known, feeling unified in nothing more than our desire to live well and be present. And if you find yourself fighting your own fight, may you find others, maybe even through the blogging community, that will be with you so you’re not alone.