It was a difficult day.
Actually, it had been an unyielding week. The rain and cold weather had been infiltrating my bones to the point that I didn’t even want to get out of bed.
On top of that, I was feeling annoyed at almost everyone. I mentally made a list of all the things that I needed to talk to my daughter about. She was falling short in numerous ways and I needed to correct her. Everything I thought of presented a problem that needed to be addressed.
My husband and my friends had also fallen short. Each of them was doing things to annoy me. They were not being kind. They were not listening to me. They were being demanding. I wondered why everyone was being so difficult. Somehow, each person who crossed my mind was not measuring up in some way or another.
Of course, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. I needed my friends and family to be helpful and sympathetic, not irritating and thoughtless. But perhaps I just needed to tell them how I was feeling. I resolved to tell each of them at the right moment.
In the early afternoon, I started feeling physically worse than ever. I was trying to explain what it felt like but couldn’t find the words. The closest I could come was likening my fatigue to having a hundred pound lead suit on my body. Everything I went to do felt like a monumental effort. And every step I took brought a fresh round of pain throughout my body.
For someone whose idol is productivity, feeling pain and exhaustion is doubly debilitating. Not only can I not do the things I want to, I feel guilty and overwhelmed by the things that are being left undone.
Sometimes I handle this well. I am able to see that God is in all my circumstances and that He is for me. I am able to accept whatever comes from His hand.
But other times, I become frustrated and irritable. My outlook on life is negative. I feel sorry for myself and just want the pain to end. And I am convinced it never will.
After crying for a while, I was ready to start my day’s work. I sat in the chair at my desk and looked at my long list of things to do.
I also looked at my Bible and journal. They were sitting there as well. But I didn’t want to open them. I had missed my quiet time in the morning because I had gotten out of bed late and getting dressed was arduous. In the interest of productivity, I determined to jump into my work to make up for my lost time. Besides, I was in no mood to read the Bible.
So the Bible just sat there and I kept glancing over at it. I went back and forth between feeling guilty about not opening it and telling myself that I shouldn’t be a legalist.
I checked off a few things on my to do list and tried to write. Nothing was flowing.
Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible. It felt forced and I was tempted to put it down almost immediately. I was reading the words on the page but my heart and my thoughts were elsewhere.
But as I read, I knew I needed this.
I know that when I feel my lowest, I need to force feed myself Scripture.
Even when it feels like eating sawdust. Dry. Lifeless. Tasteless.
As I read, I prayed, “Help me to see You in this. Meet me here.”
I was reading the second half of Zechariah. So many prophecies about Jesus that I hadn’t realized before. So many confirmations that Christ was a saving King, who was pierced for us.
I pulled out my journal reluctantly and started writing. I wrote down the verses that I was drawn to and wrote them in red pen. For a few minutes I pondered and jotted down what the Lord could be saying to me through them.
There was nothing earth shattering, but I kept reading and writing.
Then I wrote down how I was feeling. All of my frustrations. My irritations. My disappointments.
I chose not to filter these pent up emotions but rather vented them all to God. I felt the freedom to tell the Lord how I was feeling. The Psalms taught me that. They taught me how to honestly lament.
As I was writing, and voicing my disappointments to God, rays of hope started squeezing in between my words. Words of Scripture made their way onto my page, recollections of memorized truths. Just like sun breaks through the clouds, God was breaking through my heart.
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:1)
I needed this. To be cleansed from my sin and unrighteousness. Things were hard, but at the same time I saw, as I had seen in Zechariah, a glorious picture of how things will be one day. On that day, living waters will flow out of Jerusalem. On that day, there will be no more darkness. On that day, the Lord will be king over all the earth.
My suffering is not forever. It will end. But the glory of the gospel is unending. I need to keep looking at the cross.
Slowly, my irritation started to dissipate. Through nothing in particular but the cumulative effect of the Word flowing over me, my focus moved away from myself and onto the Lord.
As I reflected back on my children, my husband, my friends, I realized the problem was with me. Not them. I was the one being irritating. But it was easier to fixate on their shortcomings than my own.
I find it’s always easier to fixate on other people’s shortcomings than my own.
And unless I take the time to reflect on what I’m feeling, I can’t see the log in my own eye.
I become entrenched in my own position, convinced I am right. Everything I am saying makes sense. It usually does when I am at the center of the universe.
But when I sit alone with the Lord, He gently shows me what I need to see. And my perspective on life changes. My world is bigger than just me.
I finished my time with the Lord full of hope. My situation was unchanged and yet God had met me.
He is ever faithful, even on wet miserable days when all I can think about is myself.