November 13, 2016

Sunday Morning Blessing

It is a good day here in sunny and mild, Phoenix. I have been thinking more and more about my situation, and today, I have decided to let things rest -- like really, really rest. My mind and my body are stressed beyond measure, and frankly, I am simply done in. I am just done in. I really need a nice long rest, and well, rest is on its way. Next week is my last before my fall break at GCU. Then in just two short weeks, I will be finished with most of my classes. This means that I will have another three week break before spring semester begins. In all, I know I can hang on until my workload eases a bit, and I am rested enough to really feel better.

It is Sunday, by the way, and that means that I am sitting here at home alone. I wish I felt better, inside, I mean. But, I don't. I have this uneasy feeling inside of me, and that uneasy feeling typically translates to some latent stress or anxiety. I am not sure why I feel the way I do, other than to acknowledge that my week of stress fueled angst simply put me over the top. My mind is on other things right now, and while I am trying to focus on what must be done today, I cannot help but think about my life, about where I am today, and about where the Lord wants me to go tomorrow.

Overwhelmed Plus 10

I am overwhelmed right now, but not in the way I would normally feel. No, I am overwhelmed by so much chatter, so much clutter, and so much confusion. I simply do not feel well, in my head, so to speak. I feel like my brain is about to explode, and it is not for intellectual reasons. I simply have too much on my mind, too much junk, and in that way, I am sinking from the weight of meaningless conversation. All of this meaningless stuff has waged war with my brain, my thinking processes, and now I am stuck in this very nasty place where I am struggling to just hang on to calm and rational thoughts. I hate to say it, but I feel like I am two-faced or double-minded. I feel like one part of my brain is set on control, and that this part is functioning normally. I am thinking about all that I have to do today as well as this week, and I am using my logic, my analytical reasoning, and my powers of concentration to keep it all in check. Then, there is the other side of me that is slowly losing control. This side is powerless, and it feels so out of control at times. I feel like the thoughts that pop up are wild and uncontrollable. I work hard to control them, but to do that means that my other side must stop what it is doing to attend to these crazy thoughts. In the end, I feel fractured, out of balance, and hopelessly defaulted. I simply do not feel well.

What Can I Do About It?

So, as I sit here and think some, I realize that something has caused this imbalance in my thinking process. Something or someone has disturbed the "force," so to speak. I was doing well, prior to this week. Well, in truth, I would say I was doing well last semester. Since then, I have felt this slow decline in my thinking abilities. I have felt that I was losing ground, no longer able to hold on, and I was falling faster and faster down into the dust and debris of a mental and physical breakdown.

It is funny really, but the last time I felt this way, I was leaning hard towards an emotional breakdown. Yes, I have had numerous breakdowns over the course of my life. Some were more significant than others, but thankfully, the Lord covered me, and He helped me recover from them. Still, I remember them well. I remember the panic, the anxiety, the stress, and I remember how unwell I was back then. I was unable to function, and at one point, I really needed some respite care. Of course, I never got that type of care, but I did get some counseling, which helped immensely. In all, I have been down this road before, but now I feel that this is more physical and mental than emotional. My emotions are in check, and I have been emotionally stable for many, many years (thanks to the Lord). No, this is physical and it is mental, and it is brought on by the stress I am under at present. It is not just being a PhD student. It is all about being part-time faculty and about living with my parents. It is about being a single parent and trying to negotiate my own private space. It is about my well-being, and my needs, and the fact that no one is here to meet my needs. No one is here to take care of me.

I don't mean to bemoan my situation, but the truth is that no one has ever taken care of me. I always have taken care of others, but when I have been ill, been down, been in need of care, no one steps up to help out. I have been independent, and as a result, I have learned since early childhood not to depend on anyone for anything. I have had to learn to take care of matters on my own, and that pressure, that stress, has had a cumulative effect on my well-being. I have had to deal with so much nastiness over the course of my 50 or so years. I've survived, after all, I am a survivor; still, the process takes a great toll, and right now, I am feeling so very weak. I am feeling so very unwell.

My prayer today is to rest, to really rest. I know that I can no longer go it alone. I can no longer hold everything together, so I have to let some pieces go. I have thought long and hard about this, and I have decided that for a time, I have to focus on me, first and foremost. I have to stop caring for others, and start caring for myself. I know that sounds selfish, and as a selfless caregiver, which is my nature, it is very hard to stop and take care of your own needs, especially when there are others around you who also need care.

I know that my limit has been reached. When I lose my temper, I have breached the wall of self-control. I lost my temper yesterday, and I rarely do that anymore. You see, for many years, many, many years, I lived in a state of volatility because I was hard pressed on all sides. I was taken advantage of by people who were supposed to be on my side, but who really just saw me as a worker bee or someone who would always do what was asked of them. I worked tirelessly for others, never able to say "no," and in the end, I suffered great harm. More so, emotionally, I was abused by others who manipulated and controlled me. Even when I fought back, I still suffered emotional damage. It has taken years for me to gain back the control of my emotions, and it has taken a long time for my body to heal, to come to this place of managed care.

Now, I am being attacked on all sides, and I can barely stand up. My body has failed me. My mind is slipping, and for all intents and purposes, I am about to go down with a mighty thud. I see it. I recognize the danger signs, and yet, there is little I can do to stave the oncoming wave of destruction. I wish I could just "opt-out" so to speak. I wish I could just walk away. But for now, for this time only, I cannot. I am stuck where I am, and I believe it is for good reason. Thus, I can continue to fight against it or I can submit to it and let the wave wash over me.

My gut reaction says to continue to fight, but my strength has failed. I cannot fight anymore. I have to let go. I have to let go and let this wave carry me away. I don't want to let go, but I hear the voice of my Savior calling me, saying to me, "I've got you, Carol. Just let go! Trust me!" So, I let loose of the rope I am desperately clinging to, and I let myself float away. I just don't know what will be or where I will end up or whether my head will stay above water or not. I have to let go and trust Him to care for me, to hold me together, and to see me safely to the other side, to the other shoreline.

As I let go, I feel this rush of freedom wash over me like a giant wave. I feel the current lift me up and begin to sweep me away from the wreck of my life. I see the faint shoreline in the distance, and I see the sinking ship that was my life slowly go under the water. I see myself set free from that wreck, and I feel myself slowly being pulled by the current as it pushes me farther and farther away. Will I make it to the other side, I don't know. I am tired, so very tired, and my arms hurt. I cannot swim, I cannot paddle, I cannot kick. I float, just float, and the water rushes around me and moves me. I feel so tired, so very tired. I hear His voice whisper sweetly to me, "I am here. I have hold of you. I will not leave you," and I know that I am safe. I am safe in His care and His love. I am safe in His loving and tender arms. He is my Savior, my King, my Shepherd. I rest in His safety and protection, and I let all this, all the pain, the sorrow, the suffering, and yes, the stress go. I let it all go. He is my Lord. He is my everything, and to Him I give all praise, all honor, and all glory, forever. Amen!

Moving On After Letting Go

It has been a long while since I rested, really rested. I had my summer vacation recently, but I was so stressed, so worried about money, and so panicked about my dissertation defense, that I was not able to really enjoy the time off. No, I spent three months, almost four, in a panicked stricken mode. I was so unwell the entire summer, and partly this is why I feel so unable to relax now. I simply feel as if I have been pushing a giant rock up a very steep hill for far too long. I cannot continue to do it. I simply have to let the rock slide down and as it does, I simply step aside. I let the rock roll down the hill, and I stand there free to breathe, free to move about, all without the pain, the pressure, or the powerless feeling of trying to "keep it all together." I am free.

Freedom. It is a blessed thing, and right now, as our country tears itself apart and decides what type of freedom it wants to possess (limited, government-managed freedom or liberty from oppression), I stand aside and I let the rock of oppression roll off of me. I am no longer a party to all this madness. I am no longer a part of the debate, the conversation that is riveting social media, that is monstrously managing our national dialogue. No, I turn away from it. I say "no" to it, and I walk away from it. I will not engage in this debate, and instead, I will turn my attention back to the One who sits on Heaven's throne. I will simply say, "not my will be done; but thy will be done, O Lord." Yes, Lord, not my will, not my way, not my accord -- just your way -- all the way. I trust Him. I believe His word is truth, and I rest in His providential care and commitment to me. He has said that He would not let me go. He would not leave me alone. He will see me through to the end -- the very end of all things -- and in that way, I can place my hope, my faith, and my trust in Him. I am doing this today. I am recommitting my way to Him, and that means to stand fast, stand firm, and take the path that is marked by His leading. I am no longer going to mix it up, debate or even think about what is happening in the world today. Instead, I am choosing to let Him guide my thoughts, cover my mind with visions and dreams of His delight. In this way, my mind is now free to think about what pleases Him. As Paul said to the Philippians,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Yes, I will think on the things that please the Lord, and in doing so, I will release my mind to be free from the negativity, the clutter, and the confusion that is so present in our world right now. I am choosing life versus death, and that life stems from one thing only -- my love, my relationship, and my worship of the One True God, El Shaddai, Lord Most High. He is my Jehovah-Shalom (peace), Jehovah-Nissi (banner), Jehovah-Jireh (provider), Jehovah El Roi (sees me). He is my everything, and it is in His name, His power, His banner, and His provision that I rest this good, good day.

Plans for This Day

As I think about the plans for this day, I am reminded that I have several tasks that must be completed before the day ends. First, I must complete my grading for my 3:20 class (about 25 students). Then I must respond to all my students on the discussion boards for my two classes online (about half remain). Last, I must prep for the week ahead. I have most of this prep work done, but I have some small tasks associated with the week that need to be checked, revised, and made ready since the following week is Thanksgiving. In all, I am in good shape since I accomplished so much on T-F and Saturday. It was a good thing that I had Friday off, a really good thing. Now, perhaps some rest will be attended to as well, but mostly, just to get everything done will be a blessing for me.

My prayer today is simply to accept what the Lord has offered to me, which is His hand of blessing, His banner of favor, and His constant companionship as He covers me, cares for me, and keeps me in His tender mercy day in and day out. I am trusting in His guidance this good day. I am resting in His ability to do what must be done, and I am looking to Him as my source of all satisfaction. I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Selah!

In Closing

As I close this blog post, I remember how good the Lord is and how faithful He is toward me. He is good. He knows me well. He has me well-covered, and I can rest completely in His tender care. I know He understands my situation, and He has a good plan for my life. He has my days numbered, accorded, and planned out. I can trust in His deliverance today, and I can wait upon Him as He sets me up, situates me, and sends me to the place of His mighty and merciful choosing.

Psalm 20

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

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