Sleep depravation causes me to run… not to run a 10k like my friend Beth did this fall, but to run away from what comes out of the depths of my soul in these tired days. I think I’m annoyed because the living room is messy or the table still has crumbs on it from last night or one of the kids isn’t obeying (or sleeping!). But I’m really annoyed because I can’t hold it all together. And, “annoyed” is just a nice way of saying angry.
Tuesday morning was perfect example. By 7:45 A.M. I was “annoyed.” Dave and I were looking on-line at buying a second scooter for the kids and they were clamoring all over us and giving us their ideas: “But I like the purple one.” “Ack ue one. Ack ue one.” (Translation: “Jack blue one.” “Jack blue one.”) I’m pretty sure the baby was fussing, too, and ready to go down for her morning nap. Yes, her morning nap. She got up at 5:15 A.M.. I plowed through and ordered a blue one as Dave and Lexie headed out the door for school. That blue scooter is what caused me to start running.
I ran to my phone each time it buzzed with a text. I ran to switching the laundry. I ran to a harsh word when I was “interrupted” in what I was doing. I ran away from the feelings of failure that churned in my soul.
It wasn’t until the next day that I flipped my Bible open to this passage, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26: 3,4). I picked up my pen and started writing…
Keeping my mind on You has been hard as I’m confronted daily with my shortcomings and failures with the kids. Again, ‘no.’ Again, a sharp word reprimanding. Again, guilt for not “seizing the moment” or ‘making the most of the Tuesdays of my life.’… Cast off the condemnation. Run from the Destroyer and run to Him. Freedom is at the foot of the throne. It’s not on the throne that I find my place of rest but in the posture of a servant seeking mercy from He who’s on the throne. Enter that Holy Hall of smallness and place yourself before He who frees. Frees our soul from the bondage of guilt, disappointment and our ‘not-enoughs.’ Cry out, ‘Jesus!’ as your feet (and soul) slip down the debilitating slope of condemnation. It was for freedom that Christ set us free.
Ahh… that’s good for the soul. Jumping back to Tuesday– I have to share the sweet, soft note that the day ended on. Dave was working and the baby was tucked in her crib for the night (and actually sleeping). I was ready to keep running and not lean into the last moments with my kids before bed, but thankfully my little guy called over to me from his box of trains. “Mama, ‘ome.” (“Mama, come”). Those words and the look on his face softened my heart and motivated me to leave the rag on the table and go sit with him. We built a great train track and soon his big sister was joining in sharing the two little trains we had. At the end of our train game, they joyfully helped me clean up the whole living room. Lexie even said, “Mama, what else can I do?” Wow. Thanks. Given the day we had, it was a real gift. I can’t say I’ve now mastered my anger and have stopped running. In fact, Thursday was worst than Tuesday. But I think it’s God’s answer to my prayer to not leave me like this. I want to taste greater freedom. And when I run, I want to run a 5k and not run from the throne of grace.
“I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you’re doing.”
― Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat