Life seems to be addicted to just being plain crazy all the time. You know the feeling? Get up at 5:30, shower, snarf something down, and for goodness sakes, don’t forget to brush your teeth before heading out the door at 6:15. Fifteen minute drive, park in town. Restock cups and lids and straws and sweeteners and cup holders, get the coffee brewed, pray, flip on the extra lights, and open shop by 7:00. Then it’s making lattes and freezes and americanos and serving freshly warmed muffins and cinnamon rolls and egg cups and Heaven help me if they ask for a breakfast sandwich! Mess up the cash register, fumble through a gift certificate, wash dishes, sweep, spray down the table that the eight-year-old and his big brother ate chocolate muffins at. Wash dishes, clean the counters, and close up shop at 11. After a few more dishes, it’s back in the car and home again by 11:30, just in time to catch a breather before I have to snarf down something for lunch, grab Noelle, and hop back in the car at 12. Thirty minutes on the road and ceramics class awaits at the end of the drive. Squish clay for two to three hours, try to be sociable, get clay on my face and all over the wheel and my apron (guess I won’t be wearing this outfit to work again). Clean up, scrub arms up to the elbows, forget to wash the clay off my face, crawl into the car and try not to fall asleep while driving the thirty minutes back home. Crash on the couch for a while, haul my tired carcass down to my room to speak Spanish into a computer program until supper time. And somewhere in all of that, I need time to do my devotions.
I’ll admit, some days it gets a little rough. In the middle of a part-time job, three college classes, and reading the Bible through in two months, I can get totally exhausted so easily. And I stare at the now-nine-year-old brother and wonder how in the world he could ever expect me to sword-fight him or build a fort. And I look at the mountain of dishes that it’s rightfully my turn to wash, but my hands are still wrinkled as prunes from washing a similar mountain of dishes at my job. And one of these days I ought to take my turn making dinner so Mom and Noelle don’t have to do it all, but I just can’t seem to work up the energy it takes to think of something to cook.
It does get a little rough sometimes. And as I get exhausted, I start falling back into the old habit of self-pity. “How can they expect me to manage to do my weekly cleaning and do supper when I have all this other stuff?” “They don’t make Erica cook supper, and I’m basically as busy as she is. Why is it they still expect me to do all the home-stuff on top of work and school when they don’t make Erica work at home?” Blegh. I hate it when that whiny voice in my head gets started. Because once it starts, it’s so, so hard to get it to shut its mouth! My old whiny sin-nature just wants to plunge back in and wallow in a pity party. And of course, it invites my depression to come and join it in the mud.
You could say that I don’t always have the greatest perspective on life. Sometimes I’d rather just stay tired and crabby and selfish and pout. But it was my choice to be this busy. I applied for the job. I signed up for college classes. I chose to read my Bible through every two months. I chose them. And I love every single one of them! So why am I sitting here griping about how tired I am when I chose do do them all? When I want to keep doing them?
I was talking with the shift manager at work yesterday as I was washing dishes, and she reminded me of something that I had let my tiredness and depression crowd out of my brain. She talked about how some of the Psalms start out and David is complaining about all his woes (and his were far more major than any problems I think I have), and as he keeps going he starts recounting all the things God has done for him. And by the end of the Psalm, he’s praising God. And she reminded me that when I let the depression creep in, I need to recount God’s goodness and His blessings (because He has heaped so many – so many! – on me). And if I do it enough, I will find it in me to even praise Him in the midst of being tired and blue.
What she said reminded me of a verse I stumbled (well, not quite stumbled) over in Hebrews. It comes right after the verses about throwing off the weights of sin and running the race set before us. You know, the ones that get quoted a lot. But I had never noticed this verse before, and it took me by surprise for some reason.
Hebrews 12:3 – Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Consider Christ – who underwent persecution, exhaustion, torture, and death, so that I may not grow weary or fainthearted? O…kay? But really. Consider Him – and all that He’s done for me, starting at the cross up until this minute. If I honestly stopped and counted every single good thing He’s done for me, I’d be here for days. And by the end, would I be feeling sorry for myself? I don’t think so! I may have a headache that doesn’t want to go away. I may not feel well because I keep eating things I’m allergic to. I may be tired. I may have to stay up late to finish my day’s Bible reading. So what? God is still good! Maybe my back hurts from bending over to wash dishes, and my feet are sore because we had a busy morning at work and had no time to put our feet up. What difference does it really make in the long run? God is still good! And I need to praise Him instead of pitying myself. And I wonder…could that be part of the cure for my depression?