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’s initial reaction 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.

{2024 edit: the above statement revealed a different tendency. The tendency to discount myself and assume I was wrong if I spoke or acted against what anyone in authority said I should do. If I didn’t acquiesce, I took responsibility for being in the wrong rather than the possibility that I simply had a different perspective. This thought process was unhealthy and would later unravel.}


Photo courtesy of Dave Sutherland – Flickr


“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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