Perhaps I’m alone in this feeling; so overwhelmed by all of life’s pressures that have gradually stacked up, one right on top of the other, that I begin to crack a little. Each situation more confounding than the last, the load becomes unbearable and I feel like I’ll burst at the seams. I suspect I’m not alone. But, too often I feel alone. Carrying the burdens of life on my scrawny shoulders, trying to “hold it together”, and failing miserably. My husband will be the first to tell you that I take on too much, I worry too much, and I allow it to affect me too much. He’s right. But, ‘shhhhh’ don’t tell him. I will never concede!
The truth is I get stressed. Really stressed. One way I keep my sanity intact is to journal. (and coffee) A journal is a very intimate, private, detailed attempt at getting one’s feelings and thoughts out on paper. I’m told that journaling can be very beneficial. Long story short, writing out the whirlwind of chaos fogging up your brain can clarify your thoughts and feelings, you’ll get to know yourself better, reduce stress, solve problems more effectively, resolve disagreements with others, and a few more.
I’m guessing at one point in your life someone, probably a counselor, pastor or friend, has recommended that you write your thoughts out, or start a journal. You probably thought, “Great. One more thing to do. Let me just add that to the laundry list of stressors in my life”. Or, if you’re like me, I don’t want anyone to stumble across my journal (the keeper of my darkest thoughts)…it would be too humiliating. However, I’ve found that ‘getting it out’ is incredibly beneficial for me, my family, my marriage and my ministry. I find that if I don’t ‘get it out’ on paper, it comes out of my mouth, and often at the most inopportune times. I’ve also been told that I wear my emotions on my face. (I suffer from Resting Hostile Face) So, there’s no denying how frustrated I am at the world. All you have to do is look at me.
I wear many hats in my life: wife, mother, minister, singer, song writer, author, speaker. My life gets incredibly stressful. Dealing with people can often lead to a psychological crack in the armor, metaphorically speaking, and a mental breakdown, literally speaking. It’s important to take care of yourself, regardless of what hats you wear. As a woman I feel a great need to make sure everything and everyone is taken care of, and it’s all running smoothly. If it’s not, I take this as a personal failure and do everything in my power to FIX it. Of course, I know that I can’t fix everything. Blah, Blah, Blah. The logical part of my brain knows the limitations set on me by my humanity. But, my emotional side says “Go all in. Never Die. Never Surrender. Do whatever it takes. Sacrifice yourself for the good of all.” I know it sounds manic, but it makes sense to me. Besides, you’ve never experienced this, right?
I’m about to do something incredibly dangerous, taboo, social media suicide: I’m going to share an excerpt from my personal journal. I’m hoping that you’ll have some mercy on me. Nobody is perfect. We all have doubt. We all falter. This was a bad day for me. The purpose in sharing this very personal insight into my life is not to get attention, pity or prayers (although prayers would be appreciated), but to shed some light on the inner thoughts of an overstressed, manic, slightly deranged mother doing her best to hold it together when her world is caving in around her. And to show you…you are not alone.
April 24, 2015
I am incredibly distracted. I’m trying to listen to the speaker, but my mind is racing. The stress that waits for me at home is in the forefront of my mind. All I can think about is home…It’s all screwed up…Why me? I’m tired. I hate this. Everything is going wrong. Why can’t anything go right? How do I fix this? My poor family. This sucks.
Why is it so hard? I’m trying to be okay. “Put a smile on, Selena, people are looking to you. You’re not allowed to give up. Too many people are relying on you. If you take a break, the whole thing will fall apart and you’ll have to step in and fix it all, again. Just pretend. You’re ok. Don’t stop. Keep going. It’s all up to you. If you fail it will all collapse. Everything you’ve done, all your work, all your time, everything, will be for nothing.”
I hate this. What a waste. Where is God’s glory in all of this? I’m trying to have faith and trust that everything will work out for good. But, it’s too hard. It’s too big. It’s outside my control. My life is too complicated. My thoughts are too irrational, hateful, full of anger and bitterness. How can any of this be beneficial?
I can feel the pain in my head and heart so vividly. It’s like a wave of hot water swashing back and forth, creating confusion, anger, nausea and irreparable suffering. The wave of emotions rises up, but I hold back the tears. I’m supposed to be strong. A pillar for others to lean on and look up to; and pillars don’t waver. They don’t fall. They don’t get a day off. They are required to stand, regardless of how they feel. No weakness allowed. And certainly no tears.
So, what am I to do?
I’ll stand tall, with a smile.
I’ll say, “You can lean on me.”
I’ll tremble from the pain and hurts.
But I will not fall.
And I will not cry.
Again, you are not alone. If you’re feeling overstressed, manic, slightly deranged, it’s ok. We have all been there at one point. Ask for help. There’s no shame in admitting that the ideal life you’ve created in your head doesn’t exist and you need help trying to hold it together. If it’s already shattered, ask for help in putting it back together. Do not try to carry the burden on your own. Don’t try to be The Fixer in everyone’s life. You know who you are…..”I’m the fixer in the family. I’m the one who fixes everything”. Don’t. Open up and be honest with yourself. You can’t do everything for everyone. Even though you desire to be that person, you can’t. Seek help. Look to God for the strength, guidance, peace and joy you need, and ask Him to bring people into your life that can help you carry the load. It will not get better over night. It will not be easy. It will be hard. It will require prayer and sacrifice. You will have to be a warrior for your family, fighting the good fight day and night. But, I promise you this: it will be okay and you do not have to do it alone.