For the most part I am a homebody, which a lot of people will find funny because here in GA, in certain circles, I have a reputation for being a wanderer and gypsie of sorts. This has come about because I have moved around a lot as an adult and I have traveled a good bit and I do help people out by dog-sitting so often I have a half packed bag laying on the floor either waiting to be emptied from the latest trip or filled
for the next one. But after a while, traveling in any form starts to wear on me and I find myself craving my latest home and the solitude of some coffee and time with my thoughts. I have often found myself feeling overwhelmed, and when I was younger and so far from knowing what it means to rest in Christ and what it means to be "in Christ" and have "Christ in me", I would wear times of being overwhelmed as a badge of honor. I mean after all, I had so many great things going on and was still surviving "by the grace of God".... I look back at how I used to think and get a little nauseous... You see a couple years ago, it all caught up to me. I was overwhelmed at work and my personal life. But more than that I was at a place where I realized something was seriously wrong with my heart and the way I understood God as loving. I could not longer ignore the fact that I had lived under a blanket of shame as long as I could remember and distrusted everyone. I had literally gone through life always expecting the other shoe to drop and had wrongly assumed that God was orchestrating the pain because that was how He was going to get glory through my life. So God, in His loving way, in all the chaos and overwhelming circumstances that had culminated to make a perfect storm of "too much", brought His gentle touch to a wound that had been inflicted on my heart a decade before and I crashed. Literally, for 3 days I disappeared from the world and holed myself up with God, my Bible and the book Redeeming Love. I knew that something had to changed. Although this ushered in some hard months, they always come when we stop ignoring what's going on inside of us and allow God to bring His healing touch to the broken places of our heart, I am so thankful for these 3 days. As a very wise friend once told me, too many people go from spiritual high to spiritual high when what they need is to crash... And during that time crash I did. I was broken and overwhelmed to a point I couldn't fathom but in the midst of it all, on December 7th, 2010 to be exact, when I was at my most broken and pouring out my pain to my Creator, all I can say is it felt like something in heaven snapped over me. I don't know if that makes sense, but in one moment, I knew it was going to be ok. That I would one day feel ok again. That I would laugh again and that I didn't have to live with the baggage I had gotten used to carrying for so long. It was a long recovery and still daily I have to take my heart to God and allow Him to show me where it has been assaulted by the world and the enemy of my soul. But... When I find myself in busy, busy times, and I seem to be living overwhelmed, I forget to stop and sit in my Heavenly Daddy's lap and listen to His heartbeat and let my heartbeat align with His. I forget to take my heart to Him and let Him show me what's really going on... So when I start to feel overwhelmed I know I must stop and retreat to my quiet place. With coffee in hand, and the familiar smells of home, I MUST sit with my God and allow Him to show me whats really going on in my heart. Not out of duty, but desperation because I know what happens when I keep going in the chaos. And this morning is one of those days... I've been able to work a lot lately, plus I am finishing up my class at Grace Ministries International, and am able to work with some amazing at-risk high school students through Teach One Lead One. Also I'm getting more involved with my church with an phenomenal small group, helping with the parking team, and this coming Sunday helping with the new session of singles Gatherings. On top of everything, my parents are moving closer to the beach next week... All that to say, God has been so good to me and I just love my life and am as happy as a clam, but if I'm not careful all this great stuff will lead me to being overwhelmed. Overwhelmed is not a place we want to live and is tolerable for a season, but not at all how God intended for us to live. When he told Paul that His grace was sufficient for him, I don't think He was saying, "suck it up and deal with it.", but rather I think He was inviting Paul to lean into Him. To breath deeply the presence of God and sit with The One Who Knows Him Best and allow Him to carry the weight that, if we let it, so quickly becomes overwhelming. And today that is our invitation from our Heavenly Daddy. Before the chaos sets in and becomes overwhelming, we can rest in His arms...