To be clear, this is one of D's passions. He loves coaching and soccer in ways I don't quite understand. We both see it as a ministry opportunity. It's about soccer but it's a lot more about modeling for teenagers what it means to become men and what it means to be in a family. It's a way to help kids learn life lessons about faith, reputation, responsibility, and relationships. We are not complaining because we chose this. But it does stretch us thin.
For whatever reason, these last few weeks have left me feeling that tautness, where I just am weary, where I feel like I am playing "whack a mole" with a to do list that is constantly lengthening. The house seems messy, the laundry seems overwhelming, our finances seem out of control, the kids seem to be terrors, and I seem to be crabby.
It's just a vicious cycle. The more I feel like things are out of control, the more I try to reign them in. It's feeling like you've been handed a gigantic bouquet of helium balloons, all with loose strings. You know that in order to keep them all earthbound you need to to pull them in, to tightly grasp those strings but the more you try to adjust and reposition, the more likely it seems that one or two will slip right through your fingers. So you pull a few more strings and find yourself feeling more in control but then notice that those on the opposite side are starting to work their way out. It's this constant battle of pulling things near and watching them starting to escape, of worrying about the red one and then the blue one and then worrying not just about the balloon but about a whole bunch of other things that you never even noticed when you were first given the balloons. One of them suddenly seems lopsided. Perhaps it's deflating? One of them seems larger than the others. It must be too full and ready to burst. And that string on the yellow one has a knot, right near the middle.
For me, stress tends to become a ever increasing situation. The more stressed I find myself, the more I worry and analyze and plan and seek to control, and the more tightly wound I become. The more tightly wound I am, the less I like myself. I am no fun to be around. I am irritable, short tempered, harsh, and quick to yell. The more tightly wound I become, the more the relationships around me get tangled up in the knot I have created. Bickering, disrespect, pettiness-these all increase which then in turn adds more stress and irritation for me.
I have felt a bit trapped lately, knowing that my own attitudes and heart issues are what is fueling the discord and drama in our house. It is so much easier to know what is wrong than rectify the wrong. I know that my heart is not at rest and that much of that is about my own refusal to rest and abide.
I often pray Matthew 11:28 for my husband at this time of the year. He often seems to need prayers connected to being weary. And so I pray,
Rest is such an enigma. You cannot try harder and rest. Physically, the harder you try to make yourself tired, the more likely it seems that you will stay awake. Spiritually and emotionally, the same is true. Trying harder will not produce a calmer spirit. Resting is an action and yet it is not. It is quiet reflection alongside some healthy deep sighs, letting go of some control in order to regain a gentle spirit. Because turning a heart towards Jesus is less about willing the heart and more about the longing of a heart.