It is still hard for me to be in my grief. I'm a recovering control freak who wants instant gratification- a bad combination. Feeling uncomfortable and sitting in my pain is really difficult. I want to fix it. I know it is a process and I am doing everything that I can to grieve in a healthy way, yet I don't want it to take so long.
I think I'm making progress but then I wake up clenched and tense from head to toe. My body is telling me that there is a lot under the surface and it is starting to manifest itself physically.
This morning I was thinking about all this again. Something I do way to much - analyze and think. There are so many things that I want to do and they are all good things, but I simply don't have the time or energy to do it all, especially with the high expectations I put on myself. I recognized that the stress I'm feeling is self inflicted. No one else is putting pressure on me - it all coming from inside.
This morning, as I made breakfast, ate, and then prepared things for dinner (huge progress since last weekend when I made three recipes simultaneously) I realized that I really want to be able to do all these things (have energy for my husband, family and friends; volunteer work, work, exercise, cook, ministry, etc.). However, if I continue to put so much pressure on myself now it will catch up with me in the long run.
I think my body is telling me in a physical way that it is too much. I have to slow down and ease some of the pressure. The expectations I put on myself are so high that they are unrealistic – especially for someone who delivered a stillborn baby 3 months ago. It is insanity.
All the things that I want to have energy and time for are good things – but they aren’t the best things. If I continue the way that I am I will crash and burn. My body can’t handle it. Life is all about choices. Every choice has consequences – some good, some bad. The consequence of me focusing so much on my To Do List now is that it could very well take 5 years off of my life. It is too much for a person to handle.
Balance has always been a struggle for me. Maybe this is where the control freak and instant gratification issues become most evident. I want it all – in my power – right now. Life just doesn’t work that way.
Losing Chloe is an example of the fact that I do not have control over everything in my life. And yet, just a few months after her death, I feel like I’m trying to control everything again. Maybe it is the natural response to try to grab tighter for control when you feel as though you have none.
All I know is that it isn’t working. Busyness isn’t helping my grief – it is impeding it. I have to slow down and be still.
That is so hard for me. I don’t know if I’m afraid that I’m going to miss something or if I think that the world depends on me for my contribution. Both are lies and distortions of my purpose on Earth. Yet, I constantly find myself battling to get a clear and true perspective.
This is all so familiar. I wondered if I had shared about this battle in prior posts so I went back and found a post I started on June 22 but never finished. As I read it again it encouraged me. Grief is a journey. Life is a journey. Life is hard. God is good.
Here is the post...
My women's small group recently finished reading Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. We started it before we knew we were pregnant. The first night with the book, our leader asked us to write down our expectations of the study. Here is what I wrote:
Better know and understand who God is at a "heart level."
Establish a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.
Hear Him when He is speaking to me.
Identify His work in my life.
Believe Him and that His promises are real and for me too.
Adjust me so that I'm more like Him.
Better see what He wants to use me for in my life.
Experience God more and recognize the experiences I've already had with Him.
He has been faithful to meet every expectation. But the truth is; I had no idea what I was asking for when I wrote those words. I didn't know I was pregnant. I didn't know that my life would change forever before we even finished the book.
Through our journey with Chloe I have experienced God like never before. And I truly don't know how I could have gotten through it without Him. Many people have told us that we are doing well in our grief. It isn't easy, but we aren't denying it and we try not to let it consume us. The only reason we are making any progress in our grief is because of God. He has been holding us up every step of the way. He has made Himself so real to us in the last few months.
I've known God since I was in the second grade. I know hymns, children's worship songs, some scripture, the books of the Bible, etc. I haven't always walked closely with the Lord, but I've always known that He was protecting me and watching over me. I've often struggled with God for control. I would give Him frequent vacations from my life, "Don't worry about me, God, I'll take it from here. I've got everything under control." I would work so hard to try to keep everything together. I would get exhausted from operating in my limited strength instead of inviting Him to walk with me and help carry the load.
For two decades, I did it over and over again. I would get so tired from seemingly carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders that I would finally ask God for help. I would finally let Him take the reins instead of me trying to run the show. When I allow Him, He is able to guide me through my life with more ease than I can ever achieve without Him. He would prove that truth to me over and over again, and yet I would still send him on vacation.
I have had several deep experiences with God where I felt His presence and power in my life. Not at a distance, but close. In and around me. Although I wish it wasn't like this, I had to be at a place of brokenness and vulnerability first. I had to have the proper perspective. He is God. I am not.
This post was the reminder that I needed. I need to keep in mind what is most important and what I want my life focus to be. It is easy to get distracted. I’m thankful for God’s grace, patience, and goodness as He gives us just what we need when we need it. All we have to do is be still for a few minutes to hear His voice. I'm going to hand over my heavy load to the One who is stronger than I. Again.