I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. My immune system has been left ragged from an auto-immune disorder and constantly doing too much, and that has left me feeling exhausted, angry, and disappointed.
I look like a normal 23-year-old, but I often feel like someone much older, someone who constantly worries about what they’re eating, about how much they’re sleeping, and whether tomorrow will look like a normal day or a day in bed wondering how I’m going to pay the bills because I’ve missed another day of work because I don’t have the energy to run after two-year-old’s, or to even look at my computer screen for longer than a minute.
It’s not exactly the life that I thought I would have by now. I never feel rested, I never feel like I’m doing enough, I feel like I need to be doing more, that I should be able to do more, and that I’m not living up to my full potential because I haven’t been doing enough.
I broke down while talking to my boss the other day. “I don’t want to talk to God because I’m disappointed!” I looked away as my eyes filled with tears. “It feels like God doesn’t care. Because if He did care then I wouldn’t be sick all the time and I wouldn’t be struggling.” I didn’t know what else to say, so I just looked at my new succulent nestled on the office window and waited.
After a moment of silence, I heard him say, “I’m so sorry that you feel that way. But I want you to know that God does care, and He does care about what you’re going through. But, if God just took away all your struggles right now, that doesn’t value your humanity and your desire to try; instantly fixing your problems doesn’t value your story. Whether God heals you instantly – which He could do because He is a God of miracles – or if He doesn’t, it will be the same amount of Grace that He gives you. But He will give you the Grace.”
I stared out the window, not really seeing anything. I don’t want the answer to be the never-ending struggle. I don’t want to wake up every day already battling and never seeing an end in sight. I am tired. Most days I simply want to throw my hands up and say, “I can’t do it anymore! I give up.” But of course, I never say that. Because if I gave up, then nothing would get done.
Lies so deeply
I feel this lie so deeply within me that it feels lodged firmly near my bone marrow. Everything both within me and without me screams that I must be constantly moving, constantly working, constantly producing. One well-meaning acquaintance asked about my work hours, and I told her that I was working about 36 hours a week between my different part-time jobs. “Well, what are you going to be doing with the rest of your time?” she said. As if the extra four hours of work was a vital function to being an adult. As if I would always be lesser because I was working less.
And there it is. The lie nestled deep within my psyche, so far lodged near my heart that I fear I will never be able to tear it free. You will never be good enough. You will never measure up. You have to work for people to love you – they only love you for what you do.
These lies come from all sides, and although I cognitively know that they are not true, they are slowly but surely weighing me down. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it seems like God will not miraculously free me being sick constantly or from feeling like I must always be doing something. The only thing I know how to do is to step out in faith and pray that God meets me there.
So, this week, I am starting a half-day of Sabbath, a half-day where I spend that time delighting in the Lord with no expectation and no agenda. Everything within me is already screaming that I won’t have enough time for everything, that I’ll be behind on work, and that I don’t deserve to be rested. Everyone else works, why am I so special that I should get a break?
But I suppose this is where the Grace comes in. That small amount of Grace every day and every week that allows me to let go a little bit and give up a tiny bit of those lies. Because there’s another voice, quiet but sure, not lodged within my bones or near my heart or in my mind, but somewhere both within and without, saying, “Rest. You are enough.”
Rebecca constantly strives to practically love people around her. She also loves fuzzy socks, her five sisters, pink and orange alstroemerias, calligraphy, and sour gummy worms.