I thought I had it all under control.
One day while we were living in Pennsylvania for part of our missionary training, I took the kids and went to WalMart for a supply run. The lady behind me in the checkout line saw me paying for fabric with my four daughters in tow and sporting a very pregnant belly. She asked what the fabric was for, and I told her I was going to attempt to sew bathrobes for the girls for Christmas. Her eyes widened and she declared decisively to everyone in the checkout line that “This lady has her [stuff] together!” I laughed and thanked her and took my girls and my fabric and my very pregnant self back home for another typical Saturday.
The bathrobes weren’t perfect (much like my children and their mother), so that lady had caught only a glimpse of what life was like in my skin.
But I have remembered that encounter a thousand times since, mostly when I definitely do NOT have my [stuff] together, let alone anyone else’s.
In fact, I recently realized I was starting to sink in my own [stuff] and needed some help to pull myself back together.
I was doing too much, carrying too much, caring too much, and thinking about way too much.
I thought I was okay . . . until I wasn’t.
There are times when life feels hard and heavy, and it’s easy to forget there is still some happiness in most every day (though sometimes you have to dig down deep to find it). There are times when you just can’t “want to” any longer, and if you have to dig so hard then you think it must not be there after all. You may start to wonder if that ship has sailed and you were left standing there with an oar in your hand and nowhere to go.
The job stress, the never-ending housework, the health issues, the anxiety issues, the parenting issues, the other issues and more issues that keep on reissuing until
YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
It can happen to anyone, at any time, in one way or another. It happened to me, the lady with “her [stuff] together,” and it can happen to you.
If it does, then please do what it takes to keep digging until you find that piece of yourself that wakes up in the morning with a smile on your face, looking forward to what each new day will bring.
Maybe all it will take is a cup of coffee on your porch, or meeting a friend for lunch, or calling your mom, or not skipping the gym.
Maybe there will come a time when you need a little something more like a hand to hold or a gentle word to guide. You may, like me, need to pay for therapy or maybe a vacation where the first couple hours of every precious morning are spent reconnecting on a dig-down-deep level with the God who created you with all of your undeniably human issues.
I got a taste of this a couple of days ago when I took my grandson to the beach for the first time. He’s only been walking for a few months, and the texture and contours of the sand under his bare feet rocked his tiny world. This boy who hasn’t accepted any help since he started walking would not let go of my hand. He was unsure of what was going on under his sandy little toes. He needed some help to maneuver the strange terrain, so he would stick out his chubby hand and wait until I grasped it before he could move on.
But when we went back the second day, he began to master this thing called Beach. He could waddle through the thickest sand and even stick his toes in the edge of the water all by himself.
He was okay, and then he wasn’t, but then he was better than ever on his own.
He just needed a little help to get there.
Maybe that’s what it will take to embrace your own limitations and learn to excel not in spite of, but because of them. The very things holding you back may be the very things that will push you forward beyond anything you could ask or imagine.
After all, I was okay . . . until I wasn’t.
But I will be again.
I just need a little help to get there.