Monday, August 10, 2009

Adrift

I'm tired.... emotionally weary might be a better description. I almost hesitate to type that out, because I know there are lots and LOTS of people with far more on their plates than I have, but it doesn't change the way I feel. That's the interesting thing about emotional weariness, it's highly subjective. I mean even for the individual, how one is effected by some challenge or crisis can vary from day to day... dare I say moment to moment.

Lately I feel like I'm floating adrift out in the ocean too tired to swim to shore. It's not even a single huge challenge, it's just a constant building of assorted challenges in assorted sizes and colors... ha ha. Forgive me for stupid humor, it comes with being emotionally tired. But it just feels like with each new challenge I am wandering further and further from the shore.

You know when you feel like this, everyone has an opinion about it. Sometimes you'll have those who throw a scripture at you like it's a life preserver. Sometimes those people actually stand there and hold the rope on the other end helping you into a place where you can rest; but more often they throw you the rope too, and then look at you in wonder when you just barely float and don't find your way into the lifeboat.

Other times you'll get the impatient response, they stand there looking out over you with their hands on their hips, shaking their heads. They make you feel small. Whether their judgment is because you were foolish enough to get yourself out that far in the water or judging you too weak to swim to shore, it's a miserable feeling. These are the conversations where people will question your focus, or maybe your faith. But the fact of the matter is, even when your focus and your faith are good, you can still get tired, and you can still get overwhelmed and even swept away by the "stuff" that is life. But you know what? I think we're the only ones who make those kinds of judgments on each other. I don't think the Lord has His hands on His hips at all in those moments. In fact, if I was going to guess what He might say, I think it might be something like, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." That's just what I think, mind you.

Sometimes people just blaze past you in their cool motorboat, laughing and joking with their friends on the deck. If they even notice you, they look at your from their own narrow world view and maybe raise a hello or a woot and continue on their journey, not offering much notice, much less any compassion or help. Actually being down here in the water myself right now, I wonder how often I'm guilty of that, blazing past the struggling and the hurting. Probably way more often than I would even care to know about. Funny how being the one in the water makes you think more about being the one on the boats or on the shore.

Something else interesting happens when you find yourself off and emotionally adrift for a while... wait... first I need to clarify this whole post by being extremely pointed in saying emotionally adrift. I am not talking about being spiritually adrift at all. My faith is strong, my trust is in the Lord, I know Who holds the ocean, but it doesn't change the fact that swimming in it for long periods of time can wear you down. And (back to where I started) another thing that happens when you are in the water for a long time is that your skin gets tender, sensitive.

My emotional skin is raw. Maybe my skin started out too sensitive in the first place, but that does nothing to change the fact that it is very tender, and that's not a fun place to be. And if you don't recognize it for what it is, it can even be a dangerous place to be. By the time service started yesterday morning at church I had gotten my feelings hurt no less than three times, if not more. It made entering into worship almost impossible. No, it was impossible. I was so overwhelmed that it took all I had not to burst into tears. I finally sat down with my head in my hands battling to take all my thoughts captive as they tried to hurl accusations at all kinds of people around me. By the time I left my mind was reeling, I wanted to quit ministry, quit relationship, quit the church. I just wanted to give up, but if I did, I'd just drown in the emotions overwhelming me, and that would surely not be good. Later my husband asked me how worship was (he was playing drums) and I couldn't even answer him, I didn't know.

As I write this I wonder how many people are judging me even now... drama queen... cry baby... You might be asking, "is she reading the Word?" The answer is "Yes, daily." So then you might ask, "Well, what about her prayer life?" I am in constant prayer, I fall asleep praying, I wake up praying, and all day long I am crying out, conversing, interceding.... My prayer life may well be the strongest it's ever been... I am faithful in church, consistent in fellowship, I read the word, declare the word, claim the word.... and still, I am tired.

I've been thinking of the old song, "The Warrior is a Child" by Twila Paris, have you heard it? Part of the lyrics go like this...

Lately I've been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I'm amazing, strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me, I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
Deep inside this armour - the warrior is a child.


Maybe it doesn't fit, maybe no one sees me as a Warrior, but I do feel like I've been fighting battles, and I do feel wounded. And yet still I know my faith is strong.

There's a saying I have heard that says something like, "Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is facing some kind of battle." Perhaps if nothing else, that is a lesson I will learn through this season adrift. It's a painful lesson to learn, but if I learn it, perhaps it will make me a little more like Jesus to those around me... and if nothing else, at least I know the Lord has remained near and He is at least tender in the places where I am raw, and He is patient with me in my weariness. At least there's that. And there are those who have been extensions of the Lord too, don't get me wrong. I am thankful for the friends who have not lost patience, and are still lovingly holding to the other end of the rope, patiently pulling me to a resting place, or at least standing by as I swim, making sure I don't sink, because adrift is surely better than sunk.

2 comments:

Brandy said...

No judging here. Just understanding. I know this experience well. He must allow it so that we will stop being those who judge and start being those who love.

Becky Smith said...

What a great coincidence! I just passed on the lyrics to "The Warrior is A Child" to a friend who is struggling, after having not thought of the song in many years. And now I see them on your site! The words are so very true and so very timely for ALL of us.

The best thing I can tell you about being in the weary place is that it won't last forever. Joy and refreshing WILL come--of that, I am sure.

Becky