I naturally function doing 800 things at one time. I have ADHD and I’m unmedicated. This means that I always have a ton of projects that are half done. I’ve learned to use it to my advantage so that instead of just sitting still and resting, I’m constantly working on something. Even though it is hard for me to sit and see a project through to the end before focusing on something else, everything eventually gets done. I focus better this way, but it is also chaotic.
The past few months of my life have been especially chaotic. In May, I finished my Master’s Degree in Counseling (hallelujah!) and I finally thought I would have time to slow down. I did at first, but then everything started picking back up. I had to get all of my licensing information through the board (which is much more difficult than it sounds; ask Kalle, she will vouch for me), begin interviewing for jobs, and start making any money I could by selling pottery while waiting on my counseling license. In the midst of all of this, my seventeen-year-old sister was diagnosed with cancer completely out of the blue. She had not had any symptoms, so it was a huge shock to us. Her doctor (I thank God for this woman) happened to feel a “thickness” in her neck, which was then diagnosed as thyroid cancer.
I immediately dropped everything I was doing and bought a one-way plane ticket to my parents’ house near DC. During this time, my counseling license came through quicker than expected and I was hired at the job I really wanted. These were great things, but it meant I had to be in Charlotte and begin working. I continued to travel to my parents’ house as often as I could in order to be there for my sister’s surgery and big doctor’s appointments. I quickly felt run down. My expectations of an easy post-grad lifestyle had completely blown up.
Throughout this time, I felt God telling me, “simplify.” I wanted to yell back, “How do I simplify this? This is all stuff I need to be doing! I can’t let anything go.” As I began to dwell more on this, I realized all the expectations I was putting on myself—that I needed to have a spotless house with everything put away, work out 6 days a week, bake homemade goods for events, host dinner parties, and do a bunch of other things that took up my time. I realized there were so many things I could let go of—not because they were bad, but because I needed to simplify during a stressful time in my life. I had prioritized these things above my own mental sanity, and the thing is, God doesn’t want us to be worked beyond our limits. He even created an entire day in which we are supposed to rest and enjoy Him (Exodus 20:8-11).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8
These verses don’t say, “Keep doing more and you’ll eventually get there,” or “You shouldn’t be overburdened by all of this because there are people who deal with much more than this.” No, they tell us,
come to God and rest, whoever you are and whatever you are going through.
I’d like to say that I really understood this and implemented it, but I think I’m still in progress. Admitting it is the first stage of recovery, right?
We live in a culture that says, “Do more. Work longer hours. Have more projects.” I don’t want this anymore. I want to draw close to the things that are really important. I want to draw near to God, to family, to friends. I want to let go of ridiculous expectations I have of myself. I want to simplify.
Oh, and P.S. my sister is officially in remission!