I turned 26 in the midst of a 12 hour workday filled with fires to put out, stress, and a bit of exhaustion. It wasn't particularly fun or special but I found myself uplifted by the outpouring of love from friends. I got over 200 posts to my facebook wall, tons of phone calls, thousands - I mean literally thousands of texts that forced my phone into error about once an hour, and literally a mailbox full of letters and cards and packages everyday last week. I was humbled by your love.
Hear my heart as I share with you what is so hard for me to say. In the last few months but especially the last few weeks I have struggled with the balance of desiring to do my job with excellence and the rest of my life with the same. As my job has recently demanded more of my time, my energy, my passion, and well, me - my personal life has needed the same. And my heart felt heavy as I wondered - am I really doing any of it well anymore? I felt so ripped apart by trying to be too many things to too many people all at once.
One of my greatest fears is failure and as I got in the car to head to the airport Thursday afternoon, I hung my head and cried. My poor coworker who was driving me was a bit shocked - most of you know me to be strong, upbeat, positive. I'm sure my meltdown was a bit overwelming to her but I finally choked out - 'why can't I do anything right anymore? I have nothing left to give'.
Don't worry, most of that was just the exhaustion of a very long week coupled with anxiety about balancing family and work over an event weekend in my parents hometown. When I fall, I fall hard - but I always bounce back stronger.
I share this with you because it came to a bit of head over the weekend when my Dad was sharing with our dads and kids at the event and he said about fatherhood, 'we cannot fail at this, it's too important'.
I managed to spend a few meals and one very early morning driving my Dad to work - catching up with him and I hope encouraging him. I spent a morning/afternoon shopping and catching up over starbucks with my Mom. And I managed to work in there two event days full of work and feel good about the work I put in there. The one thing I didn't get enough time for was friends, but lucky for me - they understood this trip needed to be about family.
After a long, crazy, but wonderful weekend I hopped a plane back to Tampa late Sunday night to prepare to leave again this Friday for our Vikings event and I kept asking myself, 'what is too important in my life to fail at?'. That friends is where I remain.
Not one to wait around to take action - I came home and let go of some commitments right away. I knew which ones didn't fall into that 'too important' catagory and I said goodbye and opened up a few additional nights in my week. Because the too important to fail list includes my family, my job, my friends, and above ALL else - my relationship with the Lord.
Hear me clearly when I say that I have been humbled by feelings of failure - some warranted and others not. I know more than ever my need for a Savior and for a godly support system I find in my church family and my friends. I serve a gracious God, I tell ya. He gave me exactly what I needed to take me from 'I have nothing left to give' back to feeling my cup overflow. I sat last night and wrote out a long letter to a sweet friend in New Jersey about all the Lord has been teaching me through my study of Ruth and now in 1st Samuel.
If any of you feel caught in this kind of place I offer you this verse that has been on my desk the last few weeks and constantly on my heart:
'But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint' - Isaiah 40:31
I see now more than ever that this holds true in my life. The Lord is where my hope is, and he has given me strength I can't explain in words.