I’ve learned something new about myself this week. Something that’s probably obvious to those who know me intimately but I’m a slow learner when it comes to the truth about the way I see myself. I don’t like what I’ve seen, not one little bit.
On Monday, I woke up to the alarm clock–H’s alarm clock–which is set to go off later than mine. I’m the first one up in the morning, responsible for awakening my Rip Van Winkle’s from slumber. This isn’t a good way to start your week.
After walking blurry-eyed across the house to the bedroom doors of my children, muttering nonsense while leaning on their door jams, I fired up my computer to publish the link to my guest post. And I discovered that the last three posts on my website vanished.
This unwanted recurring theme has become a staple on Monday for the last three weeks. I’ve awakened to the frolicking ways of evil computer gremlins in the darkness that enjoy robbing my peace at dawn.
But this time, it was the final straw pulling down the pile of other worries I didn’t realize were teeter-tottering on my chest. Every bit of scaffolding I was using to hold myself together collapsed in an instant. The heaviness became unbearable and instead of asking for help, I did the unthinkable.
As tears were streaming down my face, dripping on the legs of my flannel pajamas, I held the phone up to my ear listening to a computer geek talk techno gibberish. When H walked into the room, sniffling from a virus and late for an overnight work assignment, I physically pushed him away while he was trying to be helpful and compassionate.
I don’t multi-task well. When I’m on the phone and someone tries to talk to me, it incites anger I didn’t realize took up residence. But my knee-jerk response in a moment of crisis was to push the one person away who loves me the most.
Because when my responsibilities don’t go the way I plan or expect, I don’t feel like I deserve to be loved like that. Being vulnerable seems suffocating and shame feels safe. What I learned about myself this week: It’s much easier for me to be the one giving help than the one receiving it, because I can control that. Or at least that’s the lie I was believing in that moment.
I can handle it myself can be the most deceiving paradox.
While the world says we must be capable, learned, experienced and confident, Christ calls us to be dependent and needy. I chose the former and lost myself in the process.
My coping drug of choice is perfectionism. When I go there, instead of the lap of Jesus, it’s like popping the tab open on a can of shame that’s been well shaken. It spews into every emotional crevice that says, “You aren’t enough.” And once fully entrenched in the exhausting cycle, I tell myself that I must now give up and quit. Everything. That’s what I posted as my status update on Facebook.
While feelings are real, they don’t often tell the truth. You know that, right?
But this is the beauty of the communion of the saints.The truth, it was spoken back to me in comments, texts, personal messaging and phone calls, within minutes. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be humbled like that.
My initial response was to push it away like I did with my husband, I couldn’t even look at Facebook or answer the phone calls. But when I surrendered all of it to Jesus, I received the love like a Father comforting his children. It transformed an ugly day into a piece of beautiful topography in my story.
The next day, as H and I were talking, he told me he was praying for me on the drive back from his meetings. He asked God to encourage me after all I’d been through. He didn’t know about the thread on Facebook and the unbridled acts of kindness until I told him about it.
Then God parted the veil and revealed what redemption looks like through the countenance of joy and relief on H’s face. When the sun rises tomorrow, I will redeem His gift of mercy with thankfulness.
Thanks to all of you who offered prayers and encouragement to me this week. You’ve left an indelible imprint on my heart and I’m grateful.