Autumn Anxiety

My autumns have a rhythm. I tend not to see the cycle until its to late. Thankfully, not too late to miss the blessing.

Every year at this time I work and I work hard. No matter how much I have planned ahead for the fall, the unseen variables always crest the first week of September, like an ocean swell. Its a force of nature that has the power to remove me from my footing and rob me of all sense of control. There is always a brief moment, with my head still above water that I think, “I got this.” Then reality hits.

I don’t got this.

It is always more than I can handle. There is never enough hours in the day. Never enough time or energy to serve my kids as well as I would like. Never enough volunteers or answers to the difficult necessities. With each day that passes I spend more than I receive. Depleting my emotions, stretching my intellect and burning the midnight oil. Sadly, I do this until I reach that inevitable breaking point. The point where I become overcome by my own insufficiencies and inabilities and concede defeat. I give up. Im never going to be enough.

There is a peace that comes after I realize that I am not enough; that I am finite. It’s a relief. It’s freedom. Freedom from my own internal law and task master. A freedom that has come because that law within me has died gruesomely under the crushing weight of my failure to be all things. Accompanying my sense of relief is my disappointment. As happy as I am to no longer be under all of that pressure I still grieve all of those ideals, plans and desires that I had for this year. I grieve that they wont happen because I couldn’t make them happen.

Earlier this week I hit this point. I was feeling all of it; this weird mix of contentment and despair. I had given up, which felt good; but deep down I still wanted to see these ideals come to pass. As home and work appealed to me, hoping I could remedy their situation with some brilliance (which is rare), make some decisions or at the very least, offer some wisdom; all I had to offer was dramatic groans, long sighs, and frustrated face rubbing (which I picked up from a close friend). After exhausting not only all my resources but my propensity for personal drama I finally began to do something helpful. I started deferring to Jesus.

Each new question that was presented, I used the only thing I had left; Him. At first I did as a way of escaping. “Jesus, you are going to have to take care of this. I got nothin.” Which surprised me when it started working. Soon, I would ask specifics of Him and explicitly and intentionally transfer the weight of my responsibilities to Him. If He had not clearly already given me the means to accomplish the task I was forced to either go to Him for the means or trust in Him to be the means. This is His definition of work and the recipe for the miraculous.

The beautiful thing about seeing the miraculous when you are in this heart state is that it is all about Him. As the needs get met and the pieces come together I cannot help but laugh and sigh. Laugh because of joy! Joy that He is both good and capable. Laugh at His patience and willingness to lovingly let me reach my end. And sigh. Sigh because His rest goes deep and it feels good. I was made to depend. And dependance feels good. Not just good but right. Healthy. Healthy and fruitful.

“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom he has sent.” -Jn6:29

The most responsible thing you can do with responsibility is make Him responsible. And me, well I’m going to do my best to do my job; believe in Him.

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3 Comments

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  1. Thanks Ryan, very well put and an encouragement for me this morning.

    Like

  2. Powerful capture of the truth of so many hearts. Thank you for your willingness to go back to Jesus.
    Thank you for being a vessel that Jesus flows in and out of to others.
    I’m one of those others.
    I am blessed by Gods love for me thru you.

    Like

  3. Thank you Ryan – and add a descriptor to your list … friend. You are a very good friend.

    Like

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