You get sick and it’s like a hammer drops and drives you deeper into your cross, so you feel it more. You have to scramble to get your feet back under you and feel your knees tremble as you bear the weight of it, and your own tasks and self-set problems keep attaching themselves hammer stroke by hammer stroke, splitting the grain of the wood, wedging themselves between the fibers. They attach until your to-do list for the next day takes longer than the thanks you can think of to offer for this day, and you fall into bed as the only time of quiet and rest you’ve found all week. Is that how it’s supposed to be? Is the best part of the day supposed to be the part where you’re not conscious, not feeling it? And I realized…that God gave the gift of sleep, yes, but it’s only restorative. It’s another way He gifts me with tomorrow, by preparing me for it. And whether or not I start anticipating it at lunchtime, it will come no faster or slower, but it will definitely come.
It’s the self-set tasks and problems that keep me up, the anxious thoughts, the add-ons to the list even once I’ve turned the light off. A couple nights ago, as I turned the light back on four separate times just to add another unforgettable thing to the master list for the week, I found myself wishing there was more time in the day. But thank you, God, it only moves one direction and all the days are only twenty-four hours long, because it’s tiring enough. I can tack all these extra little worries onto my cross until it creaks and time flies by and I am only looking forward to setting it down for the night. I can. But that’s not what He asks me for…and there’s grace there.
Telling me I don’t have to bear two crosses, only His truth and only with Him, and that He formed me and holds me in Him. That I’m distracting myself with details that don’t even matter (except that they DO! my grade-conscious school-washed-brain insists) and I’m exhausting myself. There will be exhausting parts of life anyway; I don’t need to go creating them…I need to realize there’s grace, waiting for me, and He alone can silence my anxious heart when my feet are scrambling and my knees are trembling and I think people are depending on me, watching me, waiting to see if I fail or succeed.
He reminds me so clearly when I’m tired. Tonight I thank Him that I am this tired, this utterly fatigued, that I had ears to listen when a dear, dear friend shared Psalm 139 and these words could gentle my heart:
You have searched me, O God, and You know me;
You know when I sit and when I rise,
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down,
You are familiar with all my ways…
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.”
~Psalm 139:1-3, 7-10