Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Worn-out?

You all know how much I love to read.
And if you don't...
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE TO READ!
There...you do now.
My sister gave me something a few months ago.
We were in the beginning stages of our move and she had come in for the weekend.
She had bought a present for me, then had lost it, therefore never gave it to me.
She found it on her way to my house. It had slid under the seat of her car and she never saw it.
To my excitement, I was very happy that she found it.
She handed me a card first.
I read the card and my eyes filled with tears.
Then,
she handed me the present that was wrapped neatly and tightly.
(Oh yay...it was in the shape of a book!!)
I opened it and grinned, while trying to act surprised.
(I think she was on to me.)
And then, I read the title:

She smiled in delight as I opened it, then said,

"I saw this book and immediately thought of you. I thought it was a perfect read for you."

I was quickly offended, thinking to myself,

"I'm not worn out! Do I give that vibe to people? Have I complained to the point where she thinks I can't handle things? Am I not the witness I need to be and my spirit seems hollow and empty?"

I hugged her and said my thank yous, still feeling attacked in some way.

Almost beaten up.

I've always taken being tired or worn out for weakness.

I don't do weakness very good.

I do not want to come off as someone who is frail, weak, broken...worn out.

I want to be, strong, full of life and energy all of the time.
I placed it on my desk, until she left the next day.
I had no plan on reading THAT book!
Nope!

I tucked the book away in a box that I had begun to pack for the move to our new life.

I forgot about it.

I forgot about the offense.

A month or so later, we were unpacking and I came across the box with all of my books. I began to take them out one by one, and place them on the newly stained bookcase in our new home.

I grabbed the book.

As I read the cover, I sighed in complaint.

I went to put it on the shelf, and tuck it behind a bigger book, so I wouldn't see it, then I stopped.

I flipped it over and looked at the back which read,

"There are more than 60 million worn-out women in the U.S. today. If your're among them, this book will be like a retreat for your soul. One short chapter at a time, you'll find simple steps to bring back the joy and energy of a rich life. What's more, you'll finally understand and learn to manage the sources of your exhaustion--perfectionism, guilt, unrealistic expectations, and difficult people--in a healthy way."

Mmmmm.

I could use a retreat...especially for my soul.

I've missed the joy I once had.

I'd like to get it back.

Energy?

Yes...I need more of that.

Exhaustion...oh yeah.

I've spent most of my life struggling with perfectionism, guilt, unrealistic expectations and very, very difficult people.

Oh, who am I kidding?!

I am one worn-out woman!!

If I didn't know any better, I would think that the authors of this book were following me with little tiny cameras strapped to their heads, watching my life for the past few months...or better, the last 38 years!

I began to read the book a couple of weeks ago, and I can honestly admit that I am better because of it.

It is filled with life changing phrases and scriptures to match each one.

Knowing, that God's word says it's okay to be worn out every now and then, is comforting to me.

And yes...it is a sign of weakness.

But, being weak is a good thing.

It shows God's strength!

And, that is exactly what I need. What we all need.
In our weakness, we are made whole.
II Corinthians 12:9-10
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I just read this exerpt from the book last night and it spoke to my tired, worn-out soul:

Give yourself permission to make mistakes.

*Expectations of a mistake-free life are heavier burdens than God would ever place on us.`

Accept your weaknesses and failures.

*Have the humility to stop pretending you have it all together.

Set realistic and reachable goals.

*Do what is doable and give yourself credit for each day's accomplishments.

Aim for excellence, not perfection.

*You can achieve excellence in some areas but perfection belongs to God.

Listen to God.

Trust Him.

Obey Him.

Be guided by His expectations.

He is the One who knows all things, understands all things, and can help you through all things--the only One who can keep the octopus of expectatons off your back.

What a God!

What a relief!

Wow.

This brought joy to my prideful worn-out heart.

You know what?

I can't handle everything by myself.

I don't think I can even handle a third of it by myself.

And there are times that my soul feels empty and hollow.

As I swallow my pride I can say...

I'm one worn-out woman, being held up by the strength of my perfect God!

I need Him to fill up my soul...daily, and sometimes hourly!

These past few months have been hard, unbearable at times. On some days and in certain moments, I only had enough strength to barely clinch my two fingers around a thread of God's shirt tail,
but, you know what...it was enough.
Because it was His strength I needed, not my own.

It's His will, not mine.
It's His direction, not my way.
It all belongs to Him.
It's. All. His.

II Corinthians 13:4
For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.
Psalm 73: 25-26
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail.
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

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