If any of you have asked me how I’m doing sometime in the past few weeks, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten a response along the lines of “busy,” “tired,” “overwhelmed,” or all of the above. I’m shorter on sleep than I should be, I’m working 15 hours a week, I have classes to attend, homework and projects to get done, and summer internships to apply for. My calendar is full and my to-do list is bursting at the seams. And there’s everything I’m doing at NLCF — Engage Group, sound, and everything else (and yes, I just volunteered to write a blurb every three weeks too) — which is the stuff I care about and want to be spending my time on because it’s the stuff of eternal significance. And of course, as we’ve been talking about the past several weeks, I need time for silence, to listen to God, and to rest—all the more so when I’m being stretched so thin.
Twenty-four hours a day just isn’t enough. I’m feeling pulled in so many different directions, and it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. I think most of you can relate; I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I don’t think I’m the only one feeling like this.
If there’s one phrase that’s been coming to mind to describe where I’m at right now, it’s in over my head. Up a creek without a paddle, boat, or life jacket. I can swim pretty well, but I can only get so far before I succumb to utter exhaustion—and down I go.
I need God.
It seems so obvious and so basic, but I think it’s one of those things that, like Sarah was talking about on Sunday, we can remember with our minds, but we don’t always remember and believe in our hearts. But when I’m overwhelmed and in over my head, it reminds me like nothing else. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself saying short prayers under my breath as I go through my day, every time that sense of utter helplessness sets it. Things like, “God, help me,” or “God, I need you.” Or “God, give me peace.” This isn’t some spiritual discipline or practice. These are cries of desperation. And while my circumstances don’t change, and I don’t always feel a whole lot better about them, it brings me back to the truth that God is in control, and while I’m up a creek on my own, I can trust Him to carry me. He’s done it time and time before, and He’ll do it again.
I think this plays into the season of Lent we’re in right now. For Lent, I’m cutting unnecessary use of technology out of my life. (Which I won’t go into in depth here. You can read about the backstory and details of it on my personal blog if you want. And yes, I fully realize the irony of blogging about a technology fast.) It’s helping at least a little bit with the sheer amount of stuff vying for my time and attention. It’s certainly quieting a major source of noise in my life, and clearing more time for God. (As I told my mom on FaceTime the other night, I can’t imagine what the past couple weeks would have looked like if I hadn’t removed all that distraction.) But I get the sense that what God wants to do in my life during this season goes above and beyond that. I get the sense that these forty days are, and will be, a time of serious pruning and renewal, not just in one or two areas of my life, but holistically. And I think being in over my head is one of the major agents of change God is using to that effect. It has been driving me to be more intentional about making time to rest and to listen to God. It’s been making me really think about how I’m using my time and prioritizing stuff. And I think this is just the beginning.
As I was writing this, I remembered the NLT’s translation of the first Beatitude:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
Or as The Message has it:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.”
~ Sean Lunsford