Friday, 5 November 2010

Becoming overwhelmed

5 November 2010

Sometimes in life, things pile up.  And we're so in the middle of them that we  don't even see that we're getting overwhelmedSad.  Exhausted.  Depressed.

We're supposed to take care of ourselves.  Think positively.  Ask for help.  Trust the Lord.  Share our burdens.

But sometimes we're just too busy.  Too many negatives.  Embarrassed to ask for help.  Or if we do, people are too busy to help, or don't know how, or don't believe us, or whatever.  And maybe we really think we are trusting in the Lord.  Maybe we are trusting as much as we know about, understand, see.  Maybe we don't know how to share our burdens.  Or are afraid of people's reactions.

Like I said, things just pile up.... 

  • Starting a new business, and too busy for social interaction.  Disappointment when it didn't take off like you hoped.  Lack of encouragement and praise from others. Loneliness. 
  • Empty nest syndrome.  Kids living far away. Loss of your "identity", which was wrapped up in parenting and all that goes with it. Feeling like you're not needed anymore.
  • Mixed sorrow and anger over the death of a church you met with and cared about. Loss of all the feelings of usefulness and value that came with involvement in "ministry" there.  And loss of "church as it was" with its particular culture and community, even though you're relieved you don't have to "go there" anymore.  And loss of friends from there, who are too hurt to want anything to do with anyone who they knew back then. 
  • Loss, for whatever reason, of a profession you loved.  That also provided "identity" and "community."
  • Parents growing old, dying quickly of cancer, or slowly of dementia.  Feelings of guilt: failures as a parent; failures as an adult child; guilt for resentment toward seemingly endless care-giving of a parent whose body hangs on and on long after her mind is gone.  And too much numbness in the end, to even grieve.  Just relief that it is finally over - and guilt about that. Terrified fear of following that path yourself some day. 
  • Getting older and realizing that many of your "dreams" may never come to be.  Disappointment. 
  • Tired of being what you think others want/expect you to be. 
  • Years of raising a fairly large family, while your husband mostly worked far away.  And not dealing very well with those teen-years storms.  Feelings of overwhelming failure. 
  • Oh yes, and menopause.  And just getting older, and developing osteoporosis and wrinkles and lacking your youthful energy. 
  • Feeling guilty because you "should be" "taking this to God" and "trusting Him" and "praying about it."  And you try.  But you feel hopeless sometimes.  And you begin to listen to the voices whispering, "If only you had more faith (or whatever) this wouldn't be happening" - even though you KNOW KNOW KNOW that God loves you and is taking care of you. 
  • Feeling lost.  Missing the comfort of past times and relationships and cultures.  Of "home" places, of "locales." 

Even as you find yourself tentatively, but surely, moving into a new place which you suspect - even are pretty sure - is ultimately a better place.  A place closer and closer to your real Home.

Listen.  Life is a process.  Walking with God is a process.  Processes take a long time.  They're complicated.  All kinds of things happen that we don't expect, that we don't know how to deal with, that, plain and simple, overwhelm us.

Being overwhelmed is not necessarily a bad thing.  It's a part of the process.  Even a good part of the process.  Because when we get to the overwhelmed place, and can't do another single thing, when we come to the end of our strength, when we feel we're sinking into a bottomless dark pit, often that's the place where we finally give up.  Where we finally have to stop.  Rest.  And in the darkness and pain, we begin to see a glimmer of the Light Who has been there with us all the time, though we maybe lost sight of Him in the darkness along the way.  And if we, in our weakness, tentatively stretch out a single trembling finger, the Light begins to grow stronger.  We start to feel His warmth and joy.  And Love.

That's where I've been lately.  Overwhelmed.  I didn't see it coming.  I guess it was piling up for a long time, chasing me.  And one day it crashed down on me.

But now?  After the crash?  I'm beginning to see my Light.  Learning to rest in His Love.  Amazed by His care.  Amazed by His strong arms, lifting me up.  Slowly. Gently. Firmly.  In His process.  In His time, His way.  It's Good.  It's very Good.

Thank You.

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