This song was birthed out of drought and burn out. With the last fumes left in my body, I cried out the Lord and exposed my heart to Him in this vulnerable song. In my life, I seem to go through cycles of driving hard, then falling apart, then driving hard again. I don’t live in a world of “balance”, and the word itself has never sat right with me. “Balance” has at times felt a close relative of compromise. Nothingness. Not hot, not cold. Dare I say, perfectly balanced on the fence?
I know that might sound offensive to some, this is just the way I am, and I have had to resolve that this is the beautiful creation God made me to be. Intense, hard-core, drive, run, burn, and fall apart sometimes. The cycle always brings me back to my knees, crying out to God to help me get back to first things first. A resetting of my priorities and anchoring on my first love again.
Search Me, O God
So, in this place again recently, I began singing the all familiar verse, “Search me, Oh God!” See, I actually have a pattern I have created having gotten to know myself well. When I feel burnout approaching I start up my prevention path. I try to get more sleep, go on a fast, and re-read The Way of the Heart, by Henri Nowen. So, I am reading my favorite part of the book, on compulsions… and there it is, Nowen says something to the effect of, “Compulsion is the reward of the busy man.” Ouch! (Well, thats how it hit my heart)
Oh Father, expose my heart! I am so busy with so many things! (sounds like Martha, right?) But at the end, what will I have to show for it? Is my busyness unto anything eternal? If I am taking precious time away from my children and relationships, what fruit will I see at harvest time for all that seed and water? What is it in my heart driving me? Is it Jesus?
I sought the Lord, asking to expose hidden crevices of my heart, and I found something. Something I knew was there and had ignored. There had been a fear in me, a very childish fear. It resembles the child who doesn’t want to go to bed at night because they are afraid of “missing out”. It’s a fear based on past experiences. Being too late, too short, not making the cut, - good enough, but always second best.
I asked the Lord, “What is that?” Haven’t I dealt with all of these things? I mean how many sozos can a girl have?"
I heard a whisper... “It’s the fear of regret”.
The Fear of Regret
It is vulnerable for me to admit this, but I know much of my busyness is really fear that my time will slip away and I will not have been a good steward of it. In other words, I need to get the most out of life, so I need to do as much as I can.
This is what keeps me from being able to relax and enjoy leisure quite often. (Another GREAT BOOK on this topic if you are struggling in this place with me is When I Relax I Feel Guilty, by Tim Hansel)
The clock, staring at me, ticking, reminding me I am in my forties now. Much of what I thought I would do in my twenties and thirties never happened. Will that be the story of my forties and fifties too? Will I be a woman that my children will want to be like when they grow up and move out? Will I have been a friend and a mentor that built strong leaders around me for the next generation? Will I have chosen my relationships I have sowed into well? Will I have made the right choices with setting my children up in an environment where they will grow in God and have the best chance at being healthy and happy? And what if I choose wrong? What if I choose the wrong church, the wrong relationships, the wrong ministries, and the wrong neighborhood to raise my family in?
All of that pressure weighing on me all the time, metaphorically, like a pressure cooker. The steam is bursting, but it’s too late, it’s too hot, I can’t open the pot or I’ll be burned. I must turn off the burner and let it cool, and wait. And wait. And wait. When it’s cool enough, I can open and the lid and hope everything inside cooked right.
I picture myself in my mother’s kitchen, with the pressure cooker on the stove in front of me. I turn of the burner. And I just sit on the kitchen floor and sing these words;
Oh God, bring me back to the place where we first met. I find you on my knees again, at the cross where I came face to face with Jesus. Where I’m trusting, believing, hoping, and at rest in it all. My joy is full, I am not robbed. You have given me perfect peace. In that place, I repent of anxiety, stress, and fear. I take on your yoke again. Thank you, God.