When I was five months pregnant with Brooksie, I was barely one year into our new life in San Francisco. I was still making friends. I was still coming to terms with the reality of the Pacific Time Zone. And I was learning the more difficult aspects of urban dwelling. I had moved our little family to a new apartment a month before and was still unpacking, frustrated with myself that it didn’t feel like home yet. August was deep in his I’m-two-and-a-half-and-I’m-strong-willed rebellion. I was trying to write posts for Mama Monk late at night. And I was still throwing up that many months into my pregnancy.
I read that paragraph and think: Poor little honey bun. Somebody tell that girl to take a break.
Of course, I see that now. I see that two-and-a-half years later, now that I’m the mother of two and wiser (I hope) about what is possible in this season with kids and what isn’t. I was tired then. but I was trying to power through and do All The Important Things with less sleep, because, I wanted to be strong. Or maybe, I just didn’t want to be weak.
Somewhere during that time, I met with my spiritual director and confessed to her the depth of my exhaustion. But my confession was a confession of failure. I was failing to be the mom I wanted to be. I was failing to be the woman of prayer I wanted to be. I was failing to be the wife I wanted to be. I was a disappointment to myself. Therefore, I must be a disappointment to God.
But, that day, the words that came out of my spiritual director’s mouth were not words of reproach but words of possibility.
Micha, what does God want to say to you in your exhaustion?
I didn’t know until that moment. I didn’t know that God wanted to say anything to me in my exhaustion. I just thought I had failed. Was failing. I thought I wasn’t enough.
I was weak. And God wanted me to know that God wasn’t.
This week has been a tough one in my at believing God's grace is enough, that I am in enough in Christ. I know I struggle with anxiety and I’m finally beginning to recognize the sorts of things in my life that swing my emotions into panic. I’m beginning to look at what’s underneath those anxiety igniters. But that process is long and hard.
There are two big panic buttons in my mind right now. One is my book and the decisions I’m needing to make ASAP. The other is our living situation and some difficult choices Chris and I are facing regarding it. And my head is slamming from one anxiety to the other. Back and forth, back and forth. A ping pong brain.
I was walking by myself to the neighborhood coffee shop Tuesday afternoon, while the babysitter fed my boys their after-school snack, and I let myself relax my jaw for a second. I felt my whole body sigh. Isn’t it amazing how we carry our hurt in our bodies? That jaw relaxing moment reminded me to pray.
What to pray? I’m sorry I’m anxious? I wanted to confess my failure. I am, after all, a living story of NOT, “pray[ing] about everything” and instead “worry[ing] about anything”... But that wasn’t the story God was telling me when I relaxed my jaw and came close to prayer.
What I heard was this: Ask me what I want to show you in your anxiety.
“God, what do you want to show me in my anxiety?”
I don’t have a lot of answers for anxiety. It digs itself deep into the brain and comes out in ways that feel uncontrollable, way too powerful sometimes. But, what a relief and what joy, to hear God say: Ask me.
Not, “Figure this out!” Not, “Pray your way out of this!”
Just, “ask me what I have for you in this, Micha.”
How tender of God. How grace-filled.
Maybe Enough is found there, where God says: I see you and I know this thing in your life. And I have something to show you in it.
What about you? Where are you finding enough this week?
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