Y’all, I have some confessions to make. I really should be making these confessions to myself, but you’re here, so I’ll share.
Maybe you find yourself where I am… do you need to say these things too?
You may have noticed I haven’t written anything here for a few weeks. If you like the 5twelve blog, you may’ve even wondered why. I went on vacation at the end of July, and I came back energized. I was ready to take on the world. The world took me on instead.
On August 7th, I read this amazing book Winning the War in Your Mind, by Craig Groeschel. The book of Philippians was the underpinning of the book, so it felt quite appropriate, given that 5twelve was going through Philippians at the time. Yet the focus verse was from 2 Corinthians:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV
Mental health had already been on my mind (haha), ever since Simone Biles dropped out of the women’s team gymnastics competition at the Olympics, citing mental strain as her reason. While there were people, including some I was with at the time, who said things like, “I hope she suffers for this… letting her team down like that,” it appeared like the current and former Olympic athletes were backing her up. I can’t imagine the pressure of being called “Greatest of All Time” at the age of 24. Imagine all that you’d have to live up to… the whole world watching your every move. I know I’d have buckled under the strain, and I’m almost twice her age.
Jurie gave an amazing sermon on the 8th, and it hit many of the same points I’d been thinking through, as well as many of the things in Groeschel’s book. If you saw me that day, you may remember that I was practically giddy… excited to sit down and write. Then Monday happened.
Isn’t that just the way? Sunday, you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you feel energized and joyful, and you think this will be the best week ever. Then Monday hits. That’s how it works for me, anyway.
That Monday I had an argument with one of the most stressful people in my life. It took the wind right out of my sails. Between a series of miscommunications and my decision to give “constructive criticism” at a terrible place and time for it, what could have been a very peaceable conversation was hurtful on all sides. I spent the whole rest of the week cycling through anxiety attacks and depressive stupors.
Then, one of my nine-year-old nieces caught COVID. And we started homeschooling that week, making it so that I now have three jobs on top of my wife/mom roles. And then the Middle East started blowing up again, not that it ever seems to stop. And then all the homeschool face-time (not Face Time, but actual face time) with my daughter brought her to a point where she was ready to have some very… heavy… conversations about some things she’s been going through. And then… and then…
This past week, I’ve felt almost absent. All I want to do is sit on the couch and read. It’s my escape. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone to work and done homeschool, but all of my creative energy has been depleted by about 3PM every day. Thursday, I found myself in tears during a church staff meeting, asking the question, “How do we lift people up, when everything is So Heavy?”
Here’s what Karin said:
This is what the Enemy wants. He wants you to be tired, then guilty, then ashamed, then confused, and then isolated. If you feel that way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Talk to someone. Go to your accountability partner and tell them. Let them speak life to you.Karin Kriel, August 19
So that’s why I haven’t done much writing lately. To sum it up, “I haz da sad. 🙁 ” The point of this blog has always been for me to encourage you, to lift you up and shine a little light into the darkness of the world. It’s hard to be encouraging when you feel discouraged.
I did have a long chat with my accountability partner yesterday. I told her, “I have such abundance. I feel so guilty for being upset, when there are people in the world going through so much more, under worse conditions. I feel bad for just wanting to go catatonic, when there are things I could be doing to be a light in the darkness.” She reminded me that you can’t pour from an empty cup. I have to do things to re-charge, or I’m no good to anybody. Today, she sent me this:
And there it is…. the reminder I needed. I’m not perfect, I don’t know everything, and I can’t fix it. But I know Who is, and Who does, and Who can. Jesus has overcome the world. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like curling up on the couch and hiding from the world. I still “haz a sad.” But I know that Jesus is the real source of comfort. He created rest, so that we have a way to recharge. He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NIV).
For today, I’m OK with the fact of my sadness. Jesus gave me permission to mourn, permission to rest, and permission to need comforting. For today, that is enough.
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