I’m beginning to wonder if this week long head ache is the result of God hitting me upside the head. I know that’s not exactly God’s character, but sometimes the things in life do remind us to look to Him when maybe we’re a bit off track.
A few times I’ve mentioned how my brain feels like mud. Partially, it’s because over-thinking overwhelms me often. In this season though, it’s more than that. I am also physically and emotionally recovering as long-term stress has taken its toll.
I’m a recovering over-stresser, over-acheiver, over-thinker, over-doer.
During my first year of college I found out I was pregnant. I had a life altering choice to make, keep the baby or give it up for adoption. My parents didn’t know what to do with me or the situation and my dad put it to me as an ultimatum. That wasn’t really his intent, but it’s what I took away from his words that altered me.
“You can go to school or you can raise a child,” he told me. I could see his heart sinking as he watched his young girl’s future become forever altered.
Either/or, he said.
I chose both.
I have a tendency to process life through lenses blurred with emotion and etched with self.
“Why should this baby keep me from pursuing life? Why can’t I go to school while raising him?” I pondered. Truthfully, I had no idea how to do either on my own and felt internally motivated to move forward, without a plan. Just because.
Later came the searches for grants & scholarships. They would help me get through school without worrying my parents financially. WIC & food stamps would help me feel more independent, even though I’d only shifted responsibility.
What was already in me to be an over-achiever and to do what needed to be done was kicked into high gear. Life wasn’t just about me anymore.
Yet, these internally motivating factors spanned beyond caring for myself and my son. I was also motivated by the opinions of others, the mantra that “failure is not an option,” and an unrecognized desire to please God no matter the cost.
That’s godly right? Paying the cost for Jesus sake? Or…
School – finished with honors. Welfare – worked off of by graduation. Independence – granted w/ the help of Section 8 housing. Then – a move to TX for a guy I barely knew. Follow these with single parenting, a date rape resulting in another pregnancy & a full-time job in a state where I knew few people and was hundreds of miles from mom and dad, from any support system.
And it only continued. I spent years serving in a multitude of ministries, giving time to others, raising children. I operated a non-profit library for several years and then became mom to over a dozen MORE children in a short period of time.
Then, I collapsed.
I paid the cost in many ways.
When I put on a smile and live out of self-determined willingness there is no reason for anyone to see the deeper things in me, the deep hole in my soul from doing, doing, doing and not resting, relishing and revitalizing.
I need this to change. I need the quiet and the hours with the Lord. At the same time, my soul wrestles with the bazillion ideas I have to save the world. I lack the peace He wants me to know deeply.
So God nudges me. “I saved the world already. ” He smiles lovingly and I’m over it.
I’m over this over-stressing, over-achieving, over-thinking and over-doing. It took physical limitations to bring me to my knees and now I don’t want to get up. Not without Him.
Today I am resting. I am finding recovery from self. It’s a long journey to recovery and God continues to walk it with me.
Rather than over-thinking all the ways to not fail, I’m relaxing in the One who has never failed and never will.
As he graciously reveals to me what I’m stressing over, even if it really is through a head ache, and as he allows my over-achieving to hit road blocks, he reminds me that in the grand scheme of things – he has already paid the cost.
His redemption is the source of my recovery.
with love, Jolene
Are you an over-stressor, over-achiever, over-thinker & over-doer too?
Father – forgive me for all of the times I’ve relied on myself and not on you. Forgive me for not allowing the rest you offered to encompass my mind & heart, my body & soul. Guide me each day Lord to trust you above all else. Help me to remember that I really am over it. – Amen.
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Why, yes, I am! A recovering one, thanks be to God. I loved this post…honest, transparent, and full of the grace. Blessings to you.
Alright! Resting in Jesus with you sister. 🙂
“Rather than over-thinking all of the ways to not fail, I’m relaxing in the One who has never failed and never will.” Oh yes! Beautiful words!
Thank you sweet friend. 🙂
So, so good. Messy is beautiful.
Amen Liz. So glad He loves us in our messes.
Oh goodness this speaks right to my soul. Bless you, my friend, for your courage and faith. I’m excited to share in this journey of 31 days with you.
So glad to meet you online Sara! Thanks for joining me and for your encouragement.
This is good stuff. Good-soul-feeding words here, Jolene. Thank you for being real and sharing your story…because it’s not completely unlike mine or anyone else’s. I’ve certainly struggled to over-achieve…for family, for self, for God…and I’ve hit bottom doing it. I’m thankful right along with you that we have a perfect One to relax in and hand all our “mess” over to. Yes, I’m SO thankful for that because I need to do it daily. Bless you, sweet sister! xoxo, mb
Girl, you must have read my heart. I am Queen Overthinking. Lord can I torment myself. And….I am a firstborn. So sister, I get you! Thanks for baring your soul. I appreciate you 🙂
Thank you Carmen. So sorry for the delay in responding. I think my over-thinking went the other way…and stopped altogether! 🙂 Blessings fellow over-thinker.
I am most definitely an over-stressor, over-thinker, over-doer, & over-achiever…which is why I find myself with so many 12 hour days, hoping that I will find time at the beginning or end of them to remember to sit in God’s grace.
Thanks for the post & the refreshing honesty.
What an amazing story and obstacles that you overcame with the help of the Lord! It’s amazing how we can fall into that trap and become our own worst enemies, always striving to do better and be more. I love how God reminded you that He already saved the world and that you didn’t have to! Thanks for sharing your heart! I am sharing this on my FB page’s Feature Friday @Faith Along the Way! Blessings!
Thank you so much Sarah! I appreciate you sharing and appreciate your online connection. Sorry for the delay in answering. You are a blessing.
I really like how you said,”I have a tendency to process life through lenses blurred with emotion and etched with self.” Very creative!
Thank you for being brave + sharing your story!
Hi Jolene! I linked up after you in “Inspire Me Mondays” and what a good spot to be, because I needed to hear these words today! As you wrote about above, I experienced a headache today (only my 2nd one ever this bad), which sent me to bed with no choice but to rest. And it’s exactly what I needed both physically and emotionally. And also how you shared THIS: I’m over this over-stressing, over-achieving, over-thinking and over-doing. It took physical limitations to bring me to my knees and now I don’t want to get up. Not without Him”. Is a great reminder that even when we are completely down, He is with us and we can choose to only get back on – WITH Him! Thank you for this!! I’m so thankful to have found your blog and I look forward to reading more and connecting with you!
Wow, Jolene. Just wow. #meditating
What a beautiful post, Jolene! I’ve suffered from all of those ‘overs’–and it’s taken me a long time to get over them (but I’m recovering, through God’s grace). What comfort to know that God already saved the world (and thank you for the reminder 😉 ). Thank you for linking up your inspirational story at Inspire Me Mondays! Hope to see you again next week :).
I laughed out loud because I saw me, right up there in those words of yours, with God chuckling at me and saying, “I already saved the world.” I guess sometimes I must be thinking God missed a spot or something.
The older I get, the easier it is for me to let some of this go, and that’s a good thing. But I am always a work in process, and because of that, I’m so thankful God is so patient with me.