Fourteen years ago, my father died suddenly and I was devastated. Sad. Confused. Frightened. The twenty-seven years of peace I had previously enjoyed and often taken for granted, came to a screeching halt. And in the years that followed, I secretly worried about losing someone else close to me. Would a police officer come to my door and inform me that my husband had died in a freak accident? Would my mother be diagnosed with an incurable illness and face a painful death? Would one of my children suffer a sudden fatal injury while playing? Such gruesome questions plagued me every day, yet I never told anyone.
Rather than talk to someone who could help me (friend, family member, or counselor), I attempted to deal with my grief alone and sought to fill the empty space in my heart. I knew drugs or alcohol were dangerous substances and so I had no desire to use them to mask my grief. But busyness…busyness seemed safe, a much needed ticket I could use to board the freedom train that would carry me far away from my hidden grief. And so I filled my schedule with “stuff”, so I wouldn’t have to touch the hurt that gnawed at my heart. I spent extra time at work. I joined boards, clubs, and committees. I attended meetings and planned gatherings. My schedule was jam packed.
My husband didn’t understand why I felt the need to be so busy. He encouraged me to slow down, to rest, and to take it easy. And for years, though deep down inside I wanted to slow down, I was scared and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Until now.
I’m worn out.
I’m tired of running.
Using busyness as a coping mechanism has failed me. Miserably. And so I’m in the process of cleaning the slate, stepping down from a few positions and being extremely selective and very prayerful about any new responsibilities I’m asked to take on. I’m getting better at saying no. I’m praying about and carefully considering the motives behind my decision to say yes to something.
Some people will be surprised by my decisions. Some will try to make me feel guilty about scaling back. Some will call me a quitter and say I wasn’t the one for the tasks in the first place. Others will say a fear of failure is what is causing me to step back from so many things. None of those reasons is what has driven me to these decisions and I’m not concerned about what others think because I know the truth.
- The truth is that running away from things doesn’t work.
- The truth is that attempting to fill life’s voids with anything other than God is pointless.
- The truth is my need for God’s peace has become greater than my need to mask my pain.
- The truth is my desire to embrace Him has become stronger than my desire to hold onto the heavy baggage of busyness.
- The truth is that I have come to the end of myself and I need His help.
- The truth is I understand that only He can heal my hurting heart.
I’m scared of letting go and letting God, but I’m doing it anyway. I expect that the healing won’t be easy and I’m sure there will be days that I want to run back to the familiar, but destructive habits of the past. I’m determined not to do that and I am confidently holding on to this scripture:
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
Are you embracing something other than God? Are you seeking solutions outside of the Savior? If you pray about these things and ask God to free you from your desire to seek help from alternate sources, God will help you. He’s doing it for me and I know He will do it for you as well. Trust Him. Lean on Him. Follow Him. You won’t regret it.
© 2015, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.