I'm Out of Control
I’m out of control. Not in a “my life is spiraling” sort of way but in a quite literal “I’m out of things I can control” way. I have no more control to chase after. I have reached my limit for trying to “buck up” and “soldier on”. I am overwhelmingly exhausted… physically, mentally and emotionally. I have come to realize that I’ve spent most of my life striving. Striving for perfection, striving to please, striving to not cause troubles and to not have any. I’m independent by nature and hard headed as a rock. I’ve moved furniture alone, taken on just one more project when my plate was already full and kept pushing through to do just a little bit more no matter how spent I felt. I’ve always had a plan and a list… even if they didn’t always turn out the way I’d hoped, I’d figure it out. I was theoretically in control… until recently.
If you’ve been around here for long you know that I’ve been convicted in the past of not being able to rest. As I’ve always said, Psalm 46:10 is one of the hardest commandments for me. Being still wasn’t always in my nature. Asking for help makes me feel like a burden. Just resting without a true reason like being really sick made me feel guilty. I actually made a comment to a friend a couple of months back that I felt the Lord was trying to slow me down and while I laughed in the moment it kind of scared me. I know the Lord loves me enough to break me down and I wasn’t sure how that would go. Well, it didn’t take long to figure out. The last nine to ten months have slowly become out of my control. Once again, not in a life spiraling way but in a “your hard head isn’t going to be enough to get you through this” kind of way. I think I’ve finally accepted that I’m at my limit. Actually, coming to terms with having to function in a new way in less than a year is decent for my hard headed self, I guess . So what has brought about this change? Many, many things.
My prayers and desires… There are things I’ve prayed over for months, years and decades, that are quite literally out of my control. I trust the Father and He has given me many beautiful promises and wisdom along the way but as of now, His answer is wait. Like Sarah, I understand wanting to rush the Lord’s plan but His timing will not change and trying to trudge forward only creates exhaustion and possible heartache. So, I fill my soul with prayers for my worries, keep Isaiah 60:22 on my heart and move when God calls but it’s out of my control. I can’t speed up God’s timeline and believe me, I’ve tried.
My practical needs… I’m learning that the mundane everyday things can lead to spiritual truths. I have saved and saved for a new house. I was at the point of purchasing and then BAM, whatever this hot mess of an economic situation started its downward spiral with no signs of stopping. Could I make a poor decision that I’ll regret in a year just to get satisfaction now? Yes. Can I work harder, worry more and strive my way into a new home that will be a blessing? Nope. I can pray and trust that God was not surprised by the upping of our interest rate, the timing of this or anything the future may hold. I just can’t control it.
My physical body… It took me about three migraines in high school to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to put on a brave face and keep going like I did when I had a cold or sinus infection or the flu. I remember being out with friends having the inner dialogue of “Just act normal. Don’t throw up. You don’t want to miss out on this. Why are you like this?”... only to come home and vomit my guts out. No amount of willing myself to feel better was going to make it true. I learned I was either going to stop or I was going to be made to stop by my body because sometimes we need to rest but I would only concede to that if I was truly sick. Well, this lesson got a little more real recently when I realized I had not felt “good” or “normal” in months… Maybe longer… definitely longer.
At first I blamed it on teaching during COVID. That’s exhausting, right? Then on not sleeping well but why can’t I sleep? Then I blamed stress. Then food. Then my sinuses. Then being sore from workouts and more until I realized I was out of things to try and fix on my own and I wasn’t getting better. In fact, I felt worse, so much so, that I willingly went to get blood work done, which is a huge fear of mine. In my mind, I was going to get my answer and solution and then I was going to work really hard to get back to normal. Only that the doctor said everything was normal, I was incredibly healthy and “all of this” was probably normal for my body.
Ugh! There was the answer I feared. “See, nothing is wrong so you just need to figure it out and work harder to get back to normal” which is exactly what I tried to do for over three months until I literally felt I couldn’t take another step forward. I’m not kidding… I was walking up the stairs and had to stop halfway through because my body felt like lead and I couldn’t imagine how I was going to move one more inch. I’d “powered through” to the point of being overwhelmingly exhausted and I realized I had to get help. I couldn’t change the way I felt or make a difference without someone there to guide me and no, I was being a troublemaker or burden by finding a doctor that would listen. So, I found a new provider and an actual diagnosis… an autoimmune disorder. You know you’ve been feeling like garbage when you could cry with joy after being diagnosed with a disorder.
So, I got my answer and meds and everything’s back to normal, right? Nope. I guess I’m not done learning to rest. The meds are working on paper but not in my daily life. Turns out my thyroid might not be the only problem. Some days all I can do is go to work and come home to my bed. I bet I’ve slept more in the last three months than I have ever in my life and I’m still pretty exhausted most days. It’s like having the flu forever while being drunk and your hair falling out and yet, somehow you have trouble sleeping. More importantly, it’s something I can’t control and definitely something I am past the point of “powering through”. After running from it for so long, I’ve been made to rest.
In a weird way, I’m thankful for this season of forced compliance because I can already see how it will benefit me in the future. I’m learning to let others help me which is a huge improvement for this non-delegating woman. I’m learning to say no, even when I feel guilty because doing everything at 10% isn’t helping anyone when my God-given purpose should have my focus. I’m learning to enjoy the stillness and silence. My mind has always gone 90 miles an hour thinking and overthinking about 20 things at once. In a strange way, silence felt ineffective which made me feel wasteful and guilty. Now, I’ve learned that silence is a beneficial gift and necessary tool. Remember, God was found in the whisper not the earthquake.
And I think that’s the biggest gift yet. I have come to a place where any progress, from my health to the economy to my relationships, will only be from my Father. I can’t do anymore to change my situation on any front. I'm can't even pretend like I have any control. If you listened to the Hey Y’all episode on our words of the year, you’ll know my word for 2023 is “expectation” tied to Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I watch in (expectant) hope for the Lord, I wait (expectantly) for God my Savior; My God will hear me.” (AMP) Little did I know, when we recorded that in December of 2022, what a lifeline and battle cry that verse would be for me this year.
So, I’m out. Out of striving. Out of control. Out of energy. What I’m not out of is hope, prayers, expectation and obedience. In the oddest, round-about way, I’m excited for what’s to come. Will I be back to normal? No, the Bailey controlled days of endless energy and just pushing through seem to be pretty gone but the unpredictable, God-filled moments are just as present as ever and in that I can find beautiful rest.
UPDATE: For those who are curious, it has gotten better and I've found my new normal (and accepted it which is a different struggle entirely). I still have flares or bad days but nothing compared to a few months ago. And yes, I'm starting to rest by choice NOT force.
***If you'd like to hear more about how choosing intentionality in your health can be a spiritual discipline, check out season 1, episodes 10 & 11 of Hey Y'all: The Podcast, on the above tab or any of your favorite podcast platforms. You can also check out the episode on Rest from season 2, episode 5.