November 11, 2013


This summer I met my own insecurities.  Writing about it sends shivers down my spine and makes me feel queasy.

I tend to overbook myself.  That is an understatement.  I have a hard time cannot say no.  I don't even need to be asked for help, I just offer.  I hear the words coming from my mouth and think about how I shouldn't be saying it, but I can't help myself!  Label me as codependent or weak, but I have always preferred the word 'compassionate'.

I heard an old pastor say, "Cram a quart of activity into a pint of time".  That would be a fitting motto for my life.  If it's at all possible, I'll make it happen.  After 36 years of living a life like that, this summer it caught up with me.

Pulling onto the interstate with my children in tow, my van packed to the gills for a camping trip, and husband out of town, I finally felt like I could breath.  I had exchanged breakfast for three cups of coffee while furiously packing and corralling the dog and children.  The kids were ecstatic about the week ahead, yet I was pensive. I had three days of mandatory training scheduled for the end of the week.  I also had two dear friends that planned a camping trip--moms and kids only--for the week.  Mistakenly, I thought training was close to the campground and gave a hearty "yes" to all activities.  Then I realized that the training was an hour and a half away from our campsite.  Enter my go-to reaction, I can't let anyone down so I'll run crazy and make it all work.  But, for the first time in my life, I felt uneasy.  I guess it was a warning.

It was there that I found myself driving on a beautiful morning to meet my sweet friends and their kids for a relaxing week of camping.  I decided to call another friend about our upcoming trip to New England, just as I merged into traffic.  I believe I was speaking quickly, and running solely on caffeine, when she said, "I can't even understand you."

Right then, the truck in front of me seemed to balloon out, like a bubble, my ears started ringing, and I hung up the phone.  I was on a bridge, which always strikes terror into my soul, and white knuckling the wheel, praying that we could find somewhere to pull over.  My mind wasn't right. 

I survived that week.  I wasn't sleeping.  I wasn't eating.  During the training one day, we had tornado warnings and had to seek shelter in the halls along with all of the children.  The next day, Josiah cracked his head open during lunch, blood seeping from the gash, and I barely held it together.  But for all appearances, I was fine.  So calm, "Wow, look at Apryl, she's rock solid.  Her kid just cracked his head open and she's just chill about it."

I was pretending.

I lost seven pounds that week.  After I got home, I kept thinking that I needed sleep.  I had worn myself out.  But the headaches and ear ringing...I called my doctor.  He was very concerned and ran tests.  All turned out fine.  Then he asked if perhaps I had 'burned out'.  To which I replied, "What would that look like?"

And, why in the world would I 'burn out' now?  At this time last year, I was planning a trip to Ethiopia, collecting blankets to bring, organizing a statewide reunion for our adoption agency, beginning a new curriculum, and teaching courses using that curriculum to families paying me.  This year doesn't come close to what I was going through last year.  I guess. 

My doctor made me hyperventilate and that was exactly what I was experiencing during these 'stressful' times.  It's as if my mind felt fine, but my body knows the truth.  My breathing altered a little and then I began to experience the symptoms of hyperventilation. My mind would race and suddenly even the simple things in life seemed impossible. 

This would be me falling off of the pedestal on which I'm sitting.  I'm not even falling gracefully.  I'm head first-wailing-arms swinging-cracking my forehead on the linoleum-falling. 

It is ugly.

This is reality hitting me hard.  God showing me that I can't do everything.  I shouldn't do everything, because that makes a person proud.  Hearing compliments often enough, and even I was convinced I had super powers.  But superwoman didn't need God, and I really do.  No other lesson has been so brutal.

1 Corinthians 1:27 kept coming up:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty...

God used foolish, weak things to confound me.  I felt wise and mighty, most of the time.  Now, I don't.

1 Corinthians 1:29 is where I am now.  "That no flesh should glory in his presence".  Keeping myself in check, because this life, the reality that Apryl lives in now, isn't possible without the strength of God.    Humility is a hard lesson.  But, this is my new reality.  I am not a superhero. I'm not even a mildly successful woman, unless I'm asking God for help.  I can't fix everything that is broken in this world, I can't even fix what's broken in my own house.  And I need to be okay with that. I've been stripped completely bare, and He's building me up slowly with a better foundation than before.  A true reality, knowledge that everything that is done in my life is done by Him.  

As Paul wrote, "His strength is made perfect in weakness."  I am now weaker than I have ever been before, yet I experience the strength of God more than ever before. 

1 comment:

kellygriffiths said...

It's difficult even to comment on this-- except to say that I saw you in the midst of this experience, and even then, thought you were superwoman. It makes me wish I'd hugged you then! This glimpse into your heart is the most poignant, raw, transparent writing I've experienced in ages. Thank you so much for the reminder of what is truly important. I identify with so much of what you posted here. I intend to re-read this every day for a week to make sure I've got the message... before a breakdown. ;) Love you!