You guys… I can’t even tell you how many times I have wanted to randomly burst into tears this past week.
At the grocery store.
When checking the mail.
It’s ridiculous. There’s this simmering goop just stuck in my chest cavity, threatening to come up at a moment’s notice. Suddenly I understand why kids throw things across the room and shout ridiculous insults at anyone in their path just before bursting into tears.
You wanna know why?
Lack. Of. Sleep.
I don’t sleep anymore.
Well, I do. But I sleep poorly.
I wake up about 10 times every night either shrieking in terror or lying there in panic-stricken anxiety knowing that I just can’t do it all. And yet I lie there chiding myself for not being able to do it all. Because if I wasn’t able to do it all, then why did I promise to do it all for every Tom, Dick and Harry that crosses my path? Why didn’t I just stop talking? Why was I trying to make everyone happy? What was I trying to prove?
I would love that.
Yes, let’s do that.
I’ve got it covered.
And you know what? I don’t have it covered.
Not. Even. Close.
I used to think it was a pride thing with me. You know, prove to everyone that I have everything together and then they’ll really be impressed? But it recently occurred to me that for the most part… I don’t care enough about what other people think of me to try to impress them. As much as I appreciate making a good impression, my main objective is not to impress people. I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m okay with that.
The more I thought about it… the more I realized… I’m trying to be everything to everyone. I’m trying to meet the needs of dozens of people, and putting the burden of making them happy on myself. Not because I have something to prove, but because I’m not okay when other people aren’t okay.
I can’t tell you how much I fret over people feeling lonely, or sad, or left out, or forgotten, or overlooked, or overwhelmed, or not supported, or discouraged, or disappointed, or frustrated. When I see that, I feel for them so deeply, that I absolutely HAVE to swoop in and help out.
- I can’t say no to that opportunity because it might disappoint the students.
- I can’t not help out with that situation because that friend may not feel supported.
- I can’t not say yes to every visit, coffee date, or lunch get together because that family member or friend might be feeling lonely or forgotten.
- I can’t not agree to help out with this mission, because look at how overwhelmed that coworker already is!
I don’t know at what point I started thinking I was God, but clearly there’s a bit of a pride problem there if I think I can fix everyone’s problems and be everyone’s everything all the time. But changing my thinking on that feels impossible. Because every time I say, “No.” and decide to take a step back… I chide myself over my selfishness. Because what if my “yes” meant that I was going to be that ONE word of encouragement that a person needed to hear, or that I was going to be the ONE smile that person saw all day, or that I was going to be the ONE way that person was going to experience the light of Christ in their lives? I mean… what if? Saying no is just another missed opportunity, is it not?
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, when I would walk down the street and see someone who looked unhappy, I would immediately pray for them to know of God’s love and their value in God’s eyes. I still do this today. In the ten minute drive from home to work, I can find dozens of people to pray for. I didn’t actually realize this wasn’t something everyone did until a couple years ago.
I realize how dumb that all sounds. I mean, it’s ridiculous to think that a human being’s one chance for a joy-filled day or opportunity to hear the gospel lies squarely on my shoulders… but I always think I can do more… and should do more. And then whenever I try to do more, I end up wanting to burst into tears at random because I’m trying to do too much and burning the candle at both ends. And it becomes a vicious cycle.
I’m not God. I know that. His glorification in this world is not dependent on my “Yes”. (Except for those times when maybe it is… ) But I need to trust Him enough to know that when He does need me to act… when that person needs to see Him in me… He’ll let me know. He doesn’t expect me to run around like a mad woman trying to meet the needs of the masses. Maybe I just need to be the light to that one person every day. And He’ll let me know.
In the meantime, I need to rest. Rest enough to listen to His leading; Rest enough to be able to discern His promptings; Rest enough the reestablish that trust that He’ll put me where He needs me, when He needs me and for whom He needs me. Because if I’m too busy running around trying to solve problems, I may just miss out on those opportunities when He really needs my yes.