Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed. My to-do list is threatening to take over, I am severely lacking sleep, and I’ve got so many balls in the air I don’t know which one to pay attention to first so I just let all of them drop and I do absolutely nothing.
That’s my response to feeling overwhelmed: do nothing.
Which is surprisingly unhelpful when it comes to having lots to do.
Most of the time, I can trace my feelings of too much to do and not enough time to simple things that I let trip me up. A random email with unwanted news. Notification that someone unsubscribed from my blog. An expected bill. A weird look from my husband. A dreary day. No more chocolate in the house.
Pretty simple things that aren’t big in the grand scheme of things but seem to bother me a lot anyway. Yay for being weird and sensitive and female and human and all those other annoying things. The end result of those little things that shouldn’t matter is that I make them matter too much and then I think about all the things I can’t or don’t do well and then I just look at everything as hard and something I’m going to fail at and then I just quit.
Geez, I’m dramatic and really hard on myself.
So I have these moments, days, and, sometimes, weeks where nothing goes right, everything is too much, and I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels.
Chocolate helps these feelings go away, but sometimes even that doesn’t help.
Then the weekend rolls around and I find myself sitting in a pew at church being handed a communion cup from Chris. In my quiet reflection time, I’m thinking about how many ways I’ve screwed up this week, how many times I’ve failed, and the number of times I lost it with my children when it probably wasn’t really their fault. I’m thinking about the cross and instead of feeling reverence, I’m feeling worthless.
And then it happens. I get my communion cup and Jesus speaks to me.
I know, it sounds crazy. But Jesus speaks to me with my communion cup.
Before you call the loony bin, let me explain. At our church, they stack the communion cups: bread in the bottom cup and juice in the top. They stack them on top of each other so we just have to grab one cup during communion time. And without fail, the weeks I’m the hardest on myself, the weeks where everything feels too hard and I feel small and wrong, I take the top cup off the bottom one and I have an extra wafer sitting in there.
I don’t believe in random coincidences so I know that even though a stranger filled these cups and Chris haphazardly grabbed one and handed it to me, I know that in that moment when I’m feeling worn out and too damaged, Jesus reminds me that the cross is enough. It’s enough for me on my best week and it’s enough for me on the crappy ones. It’s enough for me when I feel safe and secure and it’s enough for me when things feel chaotic and unsure.
It’s actually more than enough for anything I am, anything I do, or anything I’m a part of.
And he reminds me of that with a little extra bread in the bottom of a communion cup. He says stop the self-loathing and remember what I did on the cross is sufficient, more than sufficient.
When the whispers in my head and the doubts start to drown out the truth, Jesus shows up with an extra bit of bread in an offering cup to tell me he’s got me and I will never be too much for him. He says yes, this week was tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. He reminds me that my not-enough is exactly what he wants. Because it’s only through my human flaws that he can show his power and grace, his goodness and his favor.
I have come to welcome the hard because it’s when Jesus shows up the loudest for me. And sometimes his loudest is a soft whisper found in the bottom of a communion cup.
Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size–abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
-2 Corinthians 12:7-10, The Message
After recently reading your hallmark blog (my least favorite) and considered Unsubscribing…I want you to know I loved this one. My favorite blog to date.
I am in! Thank you Mary…
🙂 Thanks, Kate. Sorry for the sponsored post every once in a while. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance paying for this site to stay running and staying true to my voice and audience. Thanks for sticking around and being honest about feedback–I appreciate it!
He is so good like that – to use seemingly random circumstances to reach through and encourage… you…and me. I do love His soft whispers. Thanks for your transparency and for sharing the gracious encouragement.
He is so good, isn’t he? Thanks, Jen.
Ah, Mary, I am so glad to have found your blog.
When I feel at the end of my rope, I remind God that I’m trying, but I need a sign of His Love, some encouragement, and it almost always comes. We just have to open ourselves and keep hope.
You are kind and brave to share. Thank you.
Marjorie–I’m glad you found me too. I am grateful for your encouragement and support (and emails!). It truly is breath-taking what he grants us when we ask for help.
I feel like I should print this and put it on my table at work for “morning energizer”. This 10-15 minute meeting prior to our start of shift on my unit is supposed to help us focus, encourage us, promote positivity that will ooze into our patient care…and instead it’s a reminder of mandatory education which is due, required meetings on our scheduled days off, areas in which we need to focus on policies/tasks, etc. At the end someone usually leads prayer. 7/10 times that’s me. I do my best but I’m not a Miracle Worker…lots of house keeping and very little spiritual energizing. I think this is such an encouraging article…and I wish I had written it but I will give you credit and print it for table read during our “optional” lunch break. :o) Thanks again Mary.
While not a nurse (blood makes me totally pass out…), I know all too well the job of wanting to help people and then getting bogged down with red tape and meetings and hoops to jump through. It makes it VERY HARD to remember why you thought this was a good idea to do. First, let me say thank you for working in a hard profession that takes more grit and heart than I have. And then let me say thanks for sharing with your co-workers. I hope it encourages them and helps remind them that the hard part is done and grace is for all of us.
I love this…it is beautiful…it is God.
Thank you, Whitney. Merry Christmas.