Do you know what it’s like when you’ve been pressing against a seemingly impenetrable wall for years? Every fiber of your being aches with muscle fatigue, brain fatigue, tongue fatigue, writers fatigue, leadership fatigue, creativity fatigue, spirit fatigue, and attitude fatigue. At some point you realize that you just have a short distance to go but your final destination doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. Your stress leaks over into your family life and friendships. You deny yourself any fun or relaxation because you feel guilty about the time allowed for those things could be used doing something, anything, to keep moving forward toward your goal. Sleep and eating become negotiable commodities.
Sometimes, well, most times, the moments you are alone in your car or standing in your closet or waiting in an airport terminal it’s all you can do to choke down the tears of uncertainty and frustration. Sometimes, well, most times you have to pull your car over to keep from wrecking into the other cars since your vision is blurred. Sometimes, well, most times you lock yourself into a bathroom stall to get control over the anxiety creeping up from the pit of your stomach and fix the smeared eye makeup once again. Sometimes, well, most time you lock yourself in your closet and give yourself 4 minutes to sit on the floor and weep uncontrollably.
The emails that three years ago no one would respond to, are stacked up in your inbox as you try desperately to answer all the questions and requests. The phone calls that three years ago no would answer, but now have left your voicemail 90% as you try desperately to respond to all the calls for girls needing housing, churches needing speakers, licensing officials looking for documentation, donors needing tours, and volunteers needing information to serve. But the people you email don’t respond and the people you call don’t call back and your brain fills up with line after line of the question, “what am I doing wrong?”
You chase away the fruit flies in your kitchen wondering why they are even there since you haven’t been cooking as you debate with yourself how many servings of Papa Johns you can serve your children in a week’s time. You step over mounds of laundry just to brush off the pile of unopened mail while you wipe the grape jelly off your kid’s homework that you try to help him with before school. You pat yourself on the back for the small victory of actually getting the kids off to school on time and in one piece 3 times this week. You take a moment and hope that the dust level in your living room can just be a innovative new medium for your children to create something while they wait for you to get on the phone or wrap up one more email. You try not to internalize it when you hear them sigh when someone else is vying for your attention. Every week is a constant juggling act of getting kids to doctor appointments, sports practices, church, and school activities. You have to rely on others to get it done because you fail as Super Mom and your horrible juggler and now on top of everything else the circus isn’t even going to let a freak like you join. In your office you know the large wall calendar you bought to try and keep life together is somewhere buried in the remains of the last event’s supplies. You lie awake at night wracking your brain trying to remember what you think you forgot or where you put that thing that everyone needs. You would love to take a break but the pile of what you would come back to just doesn’t seem worth the rest.
People close to you can tell you are unraveling and cracking. For everyone else you remain positive, exuberant, and appearing confident and in control. You are still driven but with all the other expectations and distractions the final goal gets out of focus and it’s very difficult to keep leading everyone forward when forward is foggy at best. You get so tired of trying to convince other people that what you have, this God given ministry, is such a good thing. If they don’t buy in your first inclination is to bash them over their head and scream something about their blind stupidity but, you hold that in too. You tire of hearing yourself say “I’m sorry, I don’t have that done yet, or I forgot to do it.” and you get tired of hearing everyone else say it too. You hate giving out a hopeful launch date because every time you do something you didn’t anticipate comes up to bite off the head of your hopefulness. Listening to praise and worship music no longer encourages you but fills you with grief and conviction for not trusting God’s faithfulness.
You feel the weight of everything, real or imagined.
Can I be anymore real or transparent to you? And I don’t write this to get your sympathy. I write this because it feels so toxic so not godly, so like The Stupid Liar is once again making strides in my life and my ministry. I write this because I need accountability, I need to be told to stop whining and keep going. I write this to get it out of my system and to stop pretending that this is so easy because of who I am. I need to get this ugly negativity and horrible weight off of me so I can least take one full breath of air because if you can’t tell this pace is killing me.
And maybe I write this to give you permission to be real. Maybe more than a few of us have succumb to just putting our best foot forward, our 5 time taken perfect instagram picture, our life of the party mask, our 2.5 perfect children parade… Maybe you need to see some of my ugliness of anxiety and stress because_____________________________.
Why don’t you fill in the blank and let’s be real together, warts and all, to clear the air.
And then let’s get back to the business at hand, shall we?