when there just aren’t enough hours

photo-1516775448597-64ce06b9754eI tried playing Connect 4 with my son yesterday.

Ho-ly. Moly.

So, he gets the concept that there needs to be four of them in a row (sort of), but he’s convinced that they can just be in a square, or really any general four chips together is fine. He’s made up a ton of his own rules and since Dad bought him the game, he makes the rules, you know. Uhm, no, man. Then he just played a totally defensive game and all he did was block my moves. That was super fun, too. I played as many games as we both had the patience for, and then it was lunchtime.

And can I tell you the truth? The whole time we were playing, my eyes drifted behind him to the clean dishwasher, the full sink, and the cluttered countertops. I really wish I weren’t this way. It is so, so difficult for me to be in the moment when I know what’s waiting for me.

I used to think that I was just obsessed with having a clean, put together house. Which really didn’t make sense because I’m not a neat freak. But what I’ve learned through time and therapy is that I react to my environment. Or maybe in other words, my anxiety reacts to my environment. When I’m surrounded by clutter, my insides feel cluttered. And I know I’m not alone. The whole world is watching Tidying Up and Marie Kondo-ing the crap out of all of their clothes and books. So I’ve learned what is helpful for me.

But what I’m still working on is – what do I do when what’s helpful isn’t realistic?

It sounds so simple, and the world has such bigger problems than my mountains of laundry and dishes full of food from three days ago. But I’m living in and managing my home in which I have to look at the laundry mountains and my kids don’t have clean socks to wear.

It may not be laundry or dishes for you. It may be paperwork. It may be your budget or your diet. You may be waiting for a new job and struggling with how to be present where you are. You run into these days. Where you just don’t know how to be present or grateful or anything that you want to be.

On the days where there aren’t enough hours but somehow, there are also too many hours…

On the days where the to-do lists grow longer and the “done” parts of them don’t seem to gain any traction…

On the days where you tell yourself over and over that you are grateful, because you are. But you hear yourself complaining in your head and you aren’t sure how to stop…

On the days when you are sure God overestimated your capabilities…

You need to remember: you are not alone.

Hang on. Stop. Go back and read it again.

Don’t skim past the words because you’ve read them a million times before. They’re so, so, so real. You know those moments where you read a blog post or a quote that someone posted on Instagram and your heart just feels so heard? Like someone else put words to what you didn’t even know you felt? It’s because they’re feeling it, too. You are unique, but let me promise you, your situation is not uncommon. So that gut-wrenching, “I’m crazy and alone” feeling you have? It’s just not true.

But you can’t stop at just knowing you aren’t alone. You’ve got to say it. You’ve got to speak to your soul and remind yourself what is true. This isn’t just new-age self-talk. This is war. 

Remind your soul that you are grateful even though you feel like complaining.

Speak out loud to your mind that although it feels like everything is falling apart, it’s probably not.

Thinking it just isn’t enough. Especially if you’re like me. Because the thoughts swirl and transform into other thoughts before I’m even aware it’s happened. Say it. Speak what’s true. Remind your own soul and remind your enemy of the truth.

You are not forgotten. You are not alone. You are not incapable. You may be overwhelmed, but you are not drowning. You are not too far to be rescued. God created the correct amount of hours in a day, and you will make it. He has given you everything you need to live the life He’s planned for you. He is not holding out on you. He’s not playing games.

Listen, you can do it. You can survive. But not by yourself.

Take deep breaths. Breathe them out. And then use your words. You’re not just saying words to soothe your stressed self. You are declaring what’s true when your mind plays games. What you’re going through is real. There are so many things in life that are just big and feel like a bit too much. And then there are those circumstances that we know aren’t as big, but they feel just as big.

Why do we say, “take courage”? Because it’s a choice to make. It’s the gift that your Protector and Sustainer is offering you. It’s not simply a character trait that we can pull out of ourselves. Courage comes from pulling strength from the source; an Almighty God.

So take it. Grab it. Breathe. Cry if you need to. And then speak.

 

Like a deer drinking from a stream,
    I reach out to you, my God.
My soul thirsts for the living God.
    When can I go to meet with him?
Instead of food, I have only tears day and night,
    as my enemies laugh at me and say, “Where is your God?”

My heart breaks as I remember the pleasant times in the past,
    when I walked with the crowds as I led them up to God’s Temple.
I remember the happy songs of praise
    as they celebrated the festival.

 

Why am I so sad?
    Why am I so upset?
I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help!
    You will again be able to praise him,
    your God, the one who will save you.”

In my sadness I say, “I will remember you from here on this small hill,[b]
    where Mount Hermon and the Jordan River meet.”
I hear the roar of the water coming from deep within the earth.
    It shouts to the water below as it tumbles down the waterfall.
God, your waves come one after another,
    crashing all around and over me.[c]

By day the Lord shows his faithful love,
    and at night I have a song for him—a prayer for the God of my life.
I say to God, my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
    Why must I suffer this sadness that my enemies have brought me?”
Their constant insults are killing me.
    They never stop asking, “Where is your God?”

Why am I so sad?
    Why am I so upset?
I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help!
    You will again be able to praise him,
    your God, the one who will save you.”

Psalm 42 ERV

 

 

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