The last couple of weeks have been a lot. The honeymoon phase in Bristol is over, and although I still love this city I’ve been missing home. Add to that the pressure of juggling a full class-load, working two part-time jobs, seeking what God’s plan was in bringing me here and desiring to serve where I can, trying to enjoy the city, and looking for a community of friends to make this place feel like home… I’ve been walking around with this constant feeling in the pit of my stomach that one or all of the balls are definitely going to come crashing down at any moment. Plus I once again find myself in the place of having NO IDEA what life will look like after next September. And I’m facing the dreaded “30 and single.” (Well, in a couple months.) I mean, life goes on and most of the time I’m busy doing one thing or another and it doesn’t really get to me. And a lot of the rest of the time I’m able to rest in God, listen to worship music on the way to class, have my prayer time with Him, read scripture every morning. But then every once in a while it hits me and I’m SO overwhelmed that it freezes me. Like I’ll just delay getting out of bed, because that will initiate the avalanche of thoughts and activities.
Today the song “Extravagant” came on, and gave me a bit of perspective. There’s a line in it that states simply, “You carried the weight of the world on your shoulders,” referring to Jesus. And the weight of that phrase took my breath away. Because “carrying the weight of the world” is something everyone feels they’re doing but no one actually is. Except Jesus. He bore the weight of the sin of every single person: past, (then) present, and future. All of history hinged on him doing EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. No pressure, Jesus. If you make one misstep there’s just no way to redeem mankind. No biggie. He had all the balls in the air. He had to always be on. For me, just thinking about doing laundry or having to grocery shop for the rest of my life is sometimes so overwhelming it makes me want to stay in bed forever. He had to be perfect every day for the rest of his life. I mean, He was the Son of God and had a beautiful, perfect connection with his Father, but he was also A PERSON, so I’m sure sometimes it got to him. Sometimes the pressure was so intense that he could barely take the next breath. Sometimes the stress was so high that he sweat blood. So he gets it when we’re feeling the stress.
And as I listened I felt God say, “Look up. Look at me.” That’s what Jesus did. The the only way he could handle his betrayal and death was going to God in the garden of Gethsemane . He looked up. And he was given the strength he needed. (And he needed a lot of strength.) Sometimes that’s what we need to do; sometimes it’s all we can do. Just shut out the world and for a moment cry out to our Father from the bottom of our hearts. Look at Him and let His love give us the strength we need. It’s worth putting the books away for an hour. It’s worth missing an outing. Because as long as we can keep our focus in the right place, we’ll be ok. Peter walked on water when he focused on Jesus. It was when he got distracted by all that was going on around him that he started to flounder. Life won’t become magically easy just because we’re “looking into the eyes of the Lord,” that’s not how it works. But we’ll be ok. We’ll have the strength to get up and keep going. We’ll stay above the waves.
Thank God I don’t have the kind of pressure on me that Jesus did. If I do drop a ball or two (as I actually did today–COMPLETELY forgot about a meeting I was supposed to attend…oops!) it’s not the end of the world. Everyone is still ok, even me! So I guess for now, in those overwhelming moments, I cry out to the One who loves me most then get up, take a deep breath, and keep going. And I know at some point the seasons will change and I’ll find myself out of the waves and at my destination, exactly where I wanted to be. Enjoying the deeper relationship I built out here on the water and basking in the fruit of my labor. Cause those seasons always come back around. As surely as spring comes after winter.