That is a word I have been using to describe myself lately. It keeps popping up in my head when someone puts me down, makes fun of me, when I can’t get over my emotions, when I can’t figure out a solution to a problem, when my hair doesn’t look quite right, when I answered the question wrong in class, or when I come home on a Friday night to a disaster zone in my room from the busyness of the week.
I’m really starting to beat myself up on the little things.
It was never something I found myself struggling with very much; fortunately, I was one of those people who had a healthy level of self esteem and confidence her whole life. But right now, I am being thrust into a lot of new things that I am not feeling very equipped for. And I get very anxious with a lot of changes all at once.
What promoted this thought to the forefront of my mind?
Well, this week Jeremy and I started dialysis training for at home hemo-dialysis. As someone who has actively avoided all things related to needles, blood, and bodily fluids her whole life, this has presented itself as more of a challenge than I originally thought. I love Jeremy, and I want to be there for him and learn how to help him through this treatment, but it has been overwhelming me so much (and its only week 1)! And watching someone you love dealing with it is something I never experienced before. I truly never imagined that all this medical treatment stuff would become my life. I feel so stupid and dumb for being scared by everything. I feel completely inadequate to handle all of this. I want to; I so badly want to be all mature and cool about it (instead of turning pale and working hard to make sure I don’t pass out every time). And this pattern has morphed into the thought that I am simply not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough to support Jeremy through this, let alone be his wife someday. I’m so terrified that I am not a good fit for him. I feel very inadequate.
I am taking twelve units in early childhood education, and I am seriously soaking it all up. I love learning about how to be a teacher. But, as I am learning all the things teachers are required and expected to do and be, again, I feel very inadequate. I do not feel prepared to be a teacher, let alone work full time (and I start my job at the preschool in one week)! I have never worked a full time schedule like this before, and I have never worked with children outside of a faith-based program. I am so nervous, and feel like I am not going to be a good enough teacher.
As my schedule is starting to become crazier and crazier, I am getting more and more overwhelmed about my abilities to handle it all.
How am I supposed to work 9am-6pm, then go to class from 6pm-9pm? Plus do homework, support Jeremy at my absolute best (which is what he deserves), maintain proper nutrition (which I am terrible at), leave time for things that I enjoy (like writing, painting, embroidery), and continue searching for a church family to finally (after 6 years) get connected to?!?!?!
Plus, I’m going to still have no social life.
I have this idea in my head that I need to be perfect. Maybe it comes from people constantly making fun of me, or the fact that anytime I admit a flaw people back off, but this idea has taken root. I feel like I need to over prepare for everything, have everything figured out, and never make a mistake. I always feel like I need to prove myself and show everyone that I can handle everything and that I have it all together.
You hear people say this a lot, especially now that vulnerability has become the new “cool” thing, but I never really thought I would be the one ever admitting this. It has become such a real thing in my life.
But you know what? God sees me in this. I tend to forget that, but He makes a point to sweetly remind me.
I was attending a church last Sunday, and during worship, a woman came over to me and said she felt God had something to say to me that morning. She said, “God wants you to know that He is so proud of you. He sees how you genuinely try to surrender everything during this storm, and He loves that. He sees you and He’s proud of you.” She hugged me and walked away, and I let that settle into my heart. It had been so long since God spoke to me like that and I couldn’t help but let the tears stream down my face.
Last night, I was driving a classmate home after school got out (9:30pm! Goodness gracious!) and we got to talking about Jeremy. She asked a lot of questions and I told her pretty much everything that has been going on with his health and all that I am learning through it. As I parked the car in front of her house, she hesitated before she got out. She looked at me and said, “When I first met you, I knew there was something special about you. But after hearing all of that, girl, you are just plain amazin’. How are you taking four classes, working full-time, staying passionate about caring for children, committing to this man at such a young age through something super hard, AND you still take the time to drive me home after class? You something else, girl.” Then she said thanks, and got out of the car. I sat there, kind of stunned to hear all that come out of her mouth.
All week, I have been driving all over trying to do everything, but my mama has been home extremely sick. Since no one has been taking care of her, I wake up early in the mornings to do so and stay up a little later to make sure she’s comfortable. When I got home last night, she was laying on the couch, in a lot of a pain and feeling super lonely. I was supposed to go FaceTime Jeremy, but instead, I sat on the ground out there with her and talked. Then she said, “Ione, I am so proud of who you are.”
Words mean so much to me.
These words were used by God throughout the week to keep me going. Just the little spurts of encouragement were rooted deep within my soul and have helped to keep me grounded. And it was a good reminder for me that our God is a faithful God, and I can trust Him not only because He holds my future and knows what is coming, but that He will equip me and prepare me when the time comes. No matter what this next season looks like, I can rest assured that He will allow me to handle each thing as it comes, and a not a moment too soon.
“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:17-19)
The Lord is my help, now and always. When moments become overwhelming, and the cares of my heart are many, I can turn to Him and find a peace and a joy that will equip me for what comes next. I am learning that it is so important to keep Him near:
“You need me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My presence. However, there are pitfalls you must be on guard against: self-pity (lol @ me), self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice-deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled wither with problems or with My presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use my name liberally, to remind you of My presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete.”
As long as I continue to keep my focus on Him and saturate myself in the truth, He will equip me to do what it is He calls me to.
- He will give me the strength to love Jeremy and support him well each day
- He will prepare me each morning to go in to my classroom and make a difference in the lives of my students
- He will bring me a community of believers I can call family
- He will heal my family
- He will equip me to pass all my classes and bring me peace to handle a busy lifestyle
I have to make the choice everyday to believe this. I hope you do to. God is with us and for us; He will never forsake us or lead us astray.
“He [Abraham] did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promises of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4: 19-25)