It has long been a fatal flaw of mine how easily downtrodden I am by failure, or the simple disappointments of living. I don't have a lot of what the psychologists call resilience. I think maybe neuroticism runs in the genes. And lately, more than ever, I can't shake (transcend?) this self-assessment. That teenaged angst is back. And today especially, I feel like a basket case. For whatever reason, today I am overcome by dread, by fear, by defeatism. When I came home I crawled into bed and let the tears I've been holding back all day just sneak out of the corners of my eyes. Today I'm longing for wholeness but feeling so decidedly crooked. I feel as though I can see the tunnel looming ahead. I feel the warning, to hunker down, to take cover, to anchor myself, like a rheumatism lending those first aches before the rain comes. (And, I mean, that's the kind of thinking I keep freaking myself out with.)
But the dull defeat of today unwittingly gave me a wish list, or maybe more appropriately, two fervent requests, things that I want so very much, with new realness and sincerity.
The first? Gimme grace. Though I feel like a pansy for being overwhelmed in a life that is just so great right now, the reality is that I am overwhelmed. I'm going through a lot of change, and change is stressful, and there's grace for experiencing that. I'm back from a year in a new culture that changed something inside me. I'm starting a new job and a new school in a beloved but still mostly new city. I'm carving out a new routine and looking for new housing. Is it all great? Yes, I cannot suffer you with a complaint, it is all such a huge privilege. It's not that I'm justified in feeling stressed and overwhelmed. But I do feel that way. Does that make me a wuss, okay, maybe, totally. But so what? I'm a wuss. I am. It's okay. There's grace for that.
Which brings me to the more significant point: gimme Jesus. Though my pride howls, my regenerated heart rejoices in the steady revealing of my weakness. Because I am reminded, oh precious and painful reminder, that I need Jesus. I need Him. I want Him. I want Him so much more than when I feel whole and capable and together. In my wussiness I frantically root around for someone to bail me out, and who is there but Jesus? And oh fickle heart, what joy I have to know that wanting, that panicked and desperate desire for the only One who loves me so unwaveringly. The storm that rumbled around me today crept into every moment, and so in every moment there also was my life-line: Jesus, You are near, thank You for being near.
Lying in bed with the tears leaking out sucks, honestly. I don't like being a wuss, I don't like being neurotic, I don't being so easily buffeted but things that are so insignificant compared to real suffering. I don't like this frailty. I don't like this grim anticipation of a stormy season. But as real as this angst and stress is, so is the trust that it cannot overcome me. I need not fear. For when I am my own worst enemy, His faithfulness will not cease.
Trouble is always on the horizon, if we're not already in the thick of it. Maybe I'm cynical, or maybe it's true. But, dare I bless the trouble? Dare I thank Him for the angst that has me clinging to Him? As Keith Green sings, "Up comes the strongest wind that He sends to blow me back into his arms again." And so there is peace in the calm before the storm, not that the angst won't ache and not that the darkness won't be difficult, but in the promise that my weakness doesn't change the fact that He loves me and He fights for me and He will never ever leave me.
Gimme more of that Jesus.