I'm restless lately. I feel like there isn't enough of me to go around. The demands, most of which are self-imposed, are heavy. I feel pulled in 12 directions at once, and that stretching hurts sometimes. There are things I want to do that I feel I cannot give the time for, and there are things I don't necessarily want to do that I know I am called to do. There are mornings that I look at my calendar, and I want to crawl back in my bed and cry. My email buzzes all day, beckoning me to "read me now". It's a fight within not to drop everything and do just that.
My work is demanding. People, living in constant crisis mode, feel that I should take care of their needs first. They don't know that I'd love to do just that, but there is only one of me and hundreds of them. Then I hear their stories, and my heart breaks for the heaviness they bear, and I tell myself that I can bend the rules "just this once" and give in to their demands because I want desperately to help. I know in my heart that my giving in doesn't really help though; it simply perpetuates the cycle of crisis-to-crisis living. The battle in my head rages. And then there's "that caller" who yells and screams and calls me names that I've never heard of and wouldn't call my worst enemy. And I want to scream right back, hike my leg over my high horse and trot right out of that office, never to return.
I sit with my kids at dinner every night, and I'm reminded that my time with them is so short. And so I begin to tell myself that I am not doing enough, saying enough, teaching enough, being enough... I look at my husband and wish that I were better at managing to keep this house cleaner, the dishes done, the laundry kept up, never nagging him about the time demands of his job. I want to be the perfect wife and mom, whatever that is.
I listen to Jeff talk about students, and I want so much to be a bigger part of their lives. I love them so much, and I want to know them better. I want them in our home more. I want to spend time getting to know their stories more. And then I get that twinge of guilt that I'd even desire to be away from home, my first calling, to do something else. And that war rages again inside of my heart.
I look at the manuscript that I've sent to the publisher, and I cringe to think that people will actually read that! What have I done? Why would I presume to think that anyone cares about my story? What if they think I'm horrible? What if they think I wrote it for applause? What if they think it stinks? What if it's an epic fail and only sells to my husband and my parents? What if the demands of editing make me feel even more crazy than I already do, and I lose my mind completely?
In my time alone with God, I cry and rant and say things like "I can't do this!" and "Why don't you call someone better able to do this?" and "why do I have to work there?" and "when will I ever feel like I'm enough?". And He listens patiently. And I feel Him holding me... really, I do. And I hear Him say to me, "You are enough because I said so, and that's true whether you believe it or not". And I hear Him remind me that He knows and loves me where I am, but too much to allow me to stay there in my self-pity and doubt.
The truth is that I'd rather be refined than rescued. Yes, I said it. Refining is hard. Just like the process of refining gold requires heat, so does refining our lives. It hurts to peel away the layers of self doubt and legalism. It's painful to break off the limbs of perfectionism and comparison that have embedded deep within a heart. But I would rather have that pain, and the peace and beauty that follows, than to be simply rescued from this place. You see, rescue is nice momentarily. But how often do we have long-lasting results unless we've had to work at something? So, I trust and I wait, and I believe that there will be a day when I don't have these battles raging within me. I believe that He who began a good work in me will complete it. And so, I rest in the knowledge that He loves me right now, right as I am. And His love is enough.