Letters to self : to the weary one.



To the weary one,

Remember how you cried on the treadmill a few weeks ago? Not because you were sad, but because you remembered how your body pushed out a whole baby three times over and now you were running full speed like you did so long before all that? Remember the ache and the burning lungs and how the memory of what you've done allowed you to do the task in front of you? Remember the fire it lit in you and how then, when you got in the car, you gave a few wobbly air pumps to yourself and nodded at the holy moment that happened there.  You were weary then.

I want to remind you of a few things. I think you need the reminding. Let's keep going, 

Remember when you woke up the next morning exhausted? How your body screamed at you the rest of the day for your moment of glory?  Remember when you looked at the calendar and commented that this season was hard? and busy? and tiresome? and then your husband agreed? You both were weary then.

And remember how you loaded the dishes and did the late night grocery run and laughed at the kids jokes and homeschooled and scheduled the doctor appointments and fed the friends and told them you were doing fine because, you were doing fine? Remember how you cleaned up the dog and chased her down to the hwy more than once and went knee deep into the pond of that random neighbor (sorry neighbor) to get her and you didn't even say anything unchristian at her as she drenched your front in swamp scum as you carried her home? 

You were extra weary then and a little salty towards that stupid dog. 

(I love you, you stupid dog.)

But wait.....Remember how much you used to resent this work? How much you used to not be able to laugh at the absurdity? How much you used to grumble against the kids and the husband and the God you serve while scrubbing dishes?   Didn't he know your limits? didn't he know you didn't want a life like this? Didn't he know you were made for more than all these unseen lonely days?  Remember how you would sometimes scream at the ceiling?  Oh love, You were so terribly weary then.

And remember how your God was brutally kind enough to allow you to lose the life you worked so hard for but cherished so little? And remember how much he showed up in the heartbreak? in the weary of yesterday? Remember how you threw the things and cried red-faced and all the people you needed were there? And how they didn't look away? How they shared in the weary then?

These days you remind yourself constantly how 'it's not the load that weighs you down, but the way you carry it.' Recently you've decided that you've been saying it all wrong.

It's not the load that weighs you down, but who you think must carry it.

Remember how your Jesus says his burden is light? Why do you think he says that? 

Remember how your Jesus took naps? Stole away to the gardens? Allowed others to come to him? 

Why do you think he did that? 

and the freedom starts to grow, doesn't it? When you decide taking the nap is acting like Jesus. When you become okay with not keeping up for the approval of the friend and the neighbor. When you decide that the Lord is not so bent on your productivity or your performance as you are. When you step out of the race, out of the running. Let the other ones get the gold and the silver. When you embrace 'basic' as you jokingly report your newfound self to your husband.

You still find yourself weary, though. don't you? Because as we've said, you're still very limited. These bones and this flesh and this brain with its broken tendencies... ...Yes, still weary. Mostly because you've three kids in tow through lovely young years and a kind husband whose job requires much. You're still weary because your heart has always ached for the world and it still groans in its waiting for it all to be made right. You're still weary because Jesus hasn't come back yet. and family still dies and some friends take their own life and the hard just keeps coming up and there's always something new that's broken that you need to pray for. You're still weary because the life you've been given is beautiful but the thorns are real and cut deep. You're running along, but you've got a bit of a limp.

And so, weary one, let me remind you a few things, just incase you forget tomorrow. We both know the weary will still be there for you, but so will these truths: 

1.) Weary people still laugh. And they still dance and they still run. and they still rest. and they even hope for tomorrow. I know it because I've seen you do it and the Bible gives us permission to.. And the weary still show up to the work they get to do and if they can't get it all done, it'll be there tomorrow. There will be joy tomorrow, too.

Even in the garden there was work. Be mindful to not resent the work that came with the gifts your God has given you.

2) Weary and melancholy and ambivalent and all the other words that might fit your heart on certain days do not change the ever present reality that our weariness will soon lead to the fruit of a life poured out. These are momentary struggles. It's all fleeting, love. And the fruit of that labor will be sweet not for its results, but for the Jesus you're offering it to. Don't you see? You've already been declared good and faithful. Now you get to live the future reality in this present one.

3) The Lord knew that we'd have trouble-he guaranteed it. And yet he chose to still drench the world and our lives with beauty. Pay attention, please. The world is bursting with it. And if that weren't enough, he told us He'd keep us company through all this. Can you believe it? He doesn't ask us to perform for him, but walk with him. We don't have to worry for tomorrow, he plans on being there too. 

4) It isn't our job to steady our gaze on all the broken bits. There are plenty out there who spend their whole lives doing it. Many of your christian friends have sadly forgotten they bring good news, and have chosen to focus on the other...That's not your job. Pay attention to the true, good, admirable, profitable, lovely and the trustworthy. You're a 'go and tell' gal. Tell the good news, leave the rest to the rest. Find the Justice. Pursue the Mercy. Point out the Beauty and Count the fruit. We get to co-labor by speaking life and showing up. Your words count and your gaze becomes you.

5) You actually do have what you need to do the work that God has called you to. 
You are absolutely right that you don't have what you need to do the work of your neighbor. And as you gaze at what he/she has accomplished, it makes sense that you'd be found wanting. Question your focus if you start to find yourself in scarcity mindset. "Not enough time/resources/energy/money/beauty/charisma/education/material wealth" It's all wrapped up in the same misalignment. 

Be careful with that. The work that's yours to do is still there even as you gaze elsewhere and you're still called to be faithful to the gifts you've been given. If it feels like too much, measure what He's actually called you to. Does your Lord Require you to fret for the approval of others? Is the work that causes you to yell at the children and grumble at the husband the good work he's called you to? Are you so busy 'blessing the neighbor' that you're harming the ones living inside your home with your expectations? This isn't good, love. If you keep it up, you'll be joyless and weary, and missing out on quite a bit of magic in front of you. 

6) Get good at being okay with being unseen. I think it'll decrease the weary by much. I know it's not really true to your millennial-ness, but I think you'll benefit from it. The Lord is often in the unseen, don't you think? and I think you'd agree that you walk away from your time in those places much less hopeless than when you're producing proof of your work.  Don't fret. He already sees. 

7) Fruit can't be produced if the plant isn't rooted in good soil. It's a reality we all know well yet still need the reminding. Pay attention to where you're rooted, especially in these weary seasons. You have more needs spiritually when life is hard. Pay attention. Celebrate when you can see holy spirit work in yourself and in your people. Measure your life by it. 
Soon enough, we'll hang up the phrase 'weary' and we'll enter into forever rest. Soon enough we'll wake up and find as the Gray Haven's sing that 'the water we were drinking brought us back to life.' 

Until then, may we laugh at the days to come and remind ourselves of what we know is true. We know how the story ends.