life, My Faith

A troubled heart

It’s 4:35am or so says the clock on the top of this screen. I’ve been trying to go to sleep for a solid 3 hours at least. I’ve tried all the things. AC is on polar ice caps. Noise machine on rain storm (even though there’s a natural rain storm outside). Weighted blanket. I can’t catch hold of that sleep thing.

Admittedly there are several factors weighing in. I’m 5 weeks into a 6 week night shift stent, so as of this time yesterday (and the day before) I was working…hard. I also slept until about 4:30 this afternoon because night shift so my body isn’t tired again…yet it is. I have a respiratory illness with a cough that rattles my inner being. And the kicker….I made a bad decision tonight. I decided at around 8pm that I should have not one but two cups of coffee….yup. Normally that wouldn’t phase me but I swore off coffee (and most caffeine sources) about 45 days ago so it’s like a fresh look at caffeine.

But all this factored in, my heart is unsettled. It wants to run ahead. It always has. Even my physical heart has the penchants for trying to take off on me. (Oh SVT….I hate you so.). I’ll just be minding my business and…skip…skip….wham….from 60 to 180. If you’ve ever felt 180 beats a minute, it’s not fun. It feels like you’re going to die. Be still my heart…no but for real.

The irony is my metaphorical heart wants to skip ahead too. I want to know the end goal. I want to know what comes next. I want to matter, to mean something in my world. I want to make a difference. I want to reach my potential now…not later…now. Please? Hello, God? I said please. But He says wait. And I try. Then I become like the child in the backseat.

“Are we there yet? God, are we there yet?!”

But we’re not. Even if I swear I saw the exit sign. We’re just not there. And I’m terrible at waiting.

I struggle in the messy middle, the part where I watch people around me figure their lives out. The part where I get frustrated because I see a path that I think is it. Because I’m sure this is where God would have me to go. And then the door slams. The door gets padlocked and superglued and all the things.

I think the place where I’m most unsettled currently is work. I see a path I want to take, I pursue that path, and the path is a dead end. I try to be content and then someone dangles another path in front of me and says I think this would be a good path but before we go very far, it turns to be a dead end as well. Why? I need a new adventure. Maybe a small change…or a big change.

And then something happens…a long hug and a thank you from a family member, an opportunity to pray with someone before surgery, a little light of purpose in a mundane day and I can breathe here in this place again, but for how long? It’s like God says, I still see you here in this place. I know you want more. I see you. And I can use you even here.

Oh my heart, though. It wants something greater. But maybe here I’m learning contentment in the hard. Maybe the lessons are not learned yet. Maybe for all the battles we’ve walked through, we still have a war to win.

This week has been hard. Sickness has taken its toll. News of things around me have taken their toll. Life has taken its toll.

My therapist asked Monday (we were talking about decisions but it applies), how do you know when something is right? I said, it just feels right. I’m terrible at decisions but when they feel right, it’s easy. I don’t know how to articulate what that means but it just feels right.

But right now, here in this place, nothing feels right. Staying the same feels wrong. Changing feels wrong. It all just feels wrong. And I think it’s because my heart feels wrong. My heart is troubled. (In a lot of ways as it does some flippy flops in my chest even now).

I don’t know the future…I hate that so much. It’s a major source of anxiety for me (that and a love for being over analytical….who me? Surely not. Just kidding). I need to learn to be still and let the future worry about itself. I need to learn to give it to the one who holds the future. But why is that so hard?

I see a snowflake and suddenly there’s an avalanche sending us all to our deaths (metaphorically speaking) and yet it’s one snowflake that doesn’t even stick to the ground.

One of my people says often, “God’s got you.” And I cognitively know that’s true. But it’s hard for my heart to grab that truth.

But what I am trying to grab to, squeeze tight, to lean into, here in this middle, is that the story matters as much as the ending. My life matters here even if I never do another thing. The world is better because I’m in it. That sounds so weird to write but I think we need to speak that over our lives more. In a quest to make a difference, in a quest to be significant, in a quest to matter, I do. You do! I inhabit this particular space in this particular time for a reason. Even if I never do anything great by the worlds’ standards, my life matters because of the little ways it touches those around me.

And the same is true for you, friend. So if you’re struggling with identity, with hopelessness, with feeling like you don’t belong in your own story, remember you’re here for a reason. God picked out this place for you. He knows what happens. Don’t let the enemy tell you your story is worthless. Don’t let him tell you you aren’t making a difference. Don’t let him steal the joy and light right out of your life. Don’t do it, friend! And I’m speaking those words to myself right now as much as to you.

My heart mattered to the family looking at mortality in the face yesterday. I got to encourage and love on and pray over some folk in the darkest part of the night. My heart mattered to my elderly neighbor struggling with the trash whose grandson normally does trash day but for whatever reason didn’t. I got to meet an interesting lady across the street and pull her trash bins to the curb so she didn’t risk falling down, (which only happened because I’d forgotten my own the night before and was quickly pulling them to the curb after work and noticed her struggle).

God can use us in the little ways. We all matter. Hold to that when it doesn’t feel like you do and I will too.

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