The dinnertime rush is going on- people are hungry and wanted dinner five minutes ago, and I am cutting carrots and meat while unpacking half-eaten lunches and setting aside food to put right back into that lunchbox for tomorrow. Also, I am unloading the dishwasher. That feels important.
Lane walks in from work and immediately starts unloading- his pockets and his frazzled emotions from a poorly-run meeting and a too-full day so I listen to him vent as I move.
Brennan saunters in and casually begins to tell me about a math problem that she just figured out.
As they both talk simultaneously, without seeming to realize that both are talking simultaneously, a slap and a scream from the other room, and in run the 2 and the 4 -year-old: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy- Mama. Mae, she was wanting the red car but I had the red car so I tried to give her the blue car and then she hit me. She HIT me!”
“Ellie. Car! Mamaaaaaaa!”
Surprise of surprises, it is here that I snap.
“People. PEOPLE. Seriously. Hush! I just can’t. I just cannot. Everyone cannot talk all at the same time. It’s too much. OUT!”
There’s some downcast eyes in the room as they all slowly exit the kitchen, but the only thing I can do in this moment is to just go back to the carrots.
Lengthwise, good for dipping in ranch.
The rhythmic slicing of the knife slows me down just a bit. Just cut the carrots, Sarah. Just cut the carrots.
Up, breath in. Bring the knife down, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
This whole dinnertime scenario feels so similar to life, both right here right now, and just in general. One thing? Sure, sure, I can absolutely handle one thing. But twelve? Simultaneously?
I look around and know I’m not alone in this. Most are feeling the same pressure in one way or another- too much required, not enough of me to do it.
Most of the time, it’s not the fact that it is entirely life-shattering, course-altering hard things to walk through, though that is certainly the case some of the time and contributes to the general feeling of overwhelm. No, most of the time, it’s simply the constant drip that seems to never let up.
For us, right now it’s a mixture of the big and the small. Big life changes, big things up ahead, small decisions, small people to take care of, small budget adjustments to make, lots of big feelings.
Too many little things, too many big things.
Is this just the way life is going to go?
This question spurs on a feeling: There’s no way I can do this.
Then, there’s another question: Can I actually do this?
And last, a bigger question that is rooted in fear: How in the world is God going to do this.
I read somewhere that when some of the earliest Christians were going through their hardest times, they would repeat one word: Today. Not a lengthy prayer, not even a scripture verse. Simply, today. It kept them where they needed to be.
I find myself doing this a lot lately, in my own way, doing whatever it takes to keep me right here, right now- right where I need to be.
Here’s what doesn’t help: Looking ahead. These are all of the scenarios that make me overwhelmed in the first place. How is it going to get worked out? What’s going to happen? How am I going to do it?
Here’s what does help: Looking behind. This is when I remember all of the times that God showed up in the past, again and again and again. I’ve been overwhelmed before, life has been hard before, I have wondered how in the world God is going to work it out before and he has showed up every single time.
He has not let me down a single time, not once. He has held it together every single time.
Back to today: He’s going to do it again.
Throughout the scriptures, God commands the Israelites to remember. “Remember, remember, remember” he tells them, and I am beginning to understand why.
Because when they forgot, they wandered.
My ability to recognize all of the times God has worked it out in the past for me has a direct relation to how well I trust him right now.
I might not necessarily have the clarity, the energy, or maybe even the trust if we’re being totally honest here, to claim a promise or recite a scripture or take thirty minutes to pray.
But I can say a word.
So I say peace. Or I say Jesus. Or I say today.
Or I say remember.
Sometimes the walk of faith isn’t shiny and found in the big moments and the across-the-world moves and launching a non-profit. Sometimes it’s simply in the gritty process of putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next ordinary step and saying one word.
And I stay in today, right here, right now, exactly where I need to be and exactly where I find courage to do the next thing
and as it turns out
exactly where I find God as well.
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