I knew this day would come.
“You’ll figure it out.” “Trust God’s call for you.” “You can’t do everything. Something will give.” “You may need to let something go.” “How much does either your job or your dissertation mean to you?” “I could never do that to my child.”
I’m going back to work in a week. These are the comments I’ve gotten just in the last 10 days.
There were times in the beginning when this seemed years away. But now that our little unit has turned the corner with Bennett and a routine is inching its way into our day… I can’t make time slow down.
I have a ton of emotions about what this all means (most of it easily slipping into worry and fear):
- A part of me is excited to get dressed, have lunch in one sitting, and have adult conversations.
- A part of me is heartbroken to leave my son and would give almost anything to at least have a job that was part-time.
- I am worried how Bennett will handle a bottle all day every day.
- To be honest, I still hate my body. It doesn’t look like the body I knew and cared for for 32 years. It also won’t fit into any of my clothes. This is a vain concern, but it’s real.
- It’s hard enough to go back to work, but I am worried about finishing my dissertation. When will I have the time to do this? Where will I find the strength? Where will I find the energy? Where will we find the money?
- I have to go to physical therapy because pregnancy and birth caused some serious damage. How can I handle all of this with such a broken a bruised body?
- We’re moving (again) to our new home (if all goes well) in the middle of August. How will I handle this? That is more time away from my dissertation.
- I will now live a good hour away from work and 30 minutes from Bennett’s care situation. That’s 3 hours a day that feels wasteful when time has become even more precious.
- Where will I find the time to be a good partner now that I have three full time jobs (work, dissertation writing, mom) vying for my attention over my husband?
- Etc., etc., etc.
I’m not writing all of this to enter myself into the “I’m more busy and stressed than you” Olympics. Everyone is barely scraping by. Everyone is drowning in their attempts to be present in all facets of their life. I am also the first person to admit that I have help where so many others don’t. As I freak out about how I will make it, I am still bathed in privileges that millions of others don’t have to help me through this period in my life.
But as I sit on my bed, counting down the days until I leave my baby and clumsily attempt to start back in the real world, I am struck by how people of faith approach me and how I, as a person of faith, am “supposed” to move forward.
Here are the two that seem to bug me the most: “anything is possible when you have God” and “just lean on God and it will all be OK.”
I intellectually understand it. I do. God performs miracles every day. God has a plan. God cares and loves me. God can literally do anything, but these phrases makes me angry and resentful.
There are single mothers and immigrants and parents barely making ends meat every day who drown under the weight of the world and their responsibilities. If I have to quite something or I fail, does that mean that God doesn’t find me worthy to succeed? Do I sit back and just wait, hoping a pleading for God to step in and do everything? How am I supposed to take that sentiment? I don’t take it as supportive, but as a way to shut me down. I need something more material to grasp.
Conversely, what does a person of faith say to someone drowning? How do you bring God into a tough situation without making it worse by throwing flippant God talk to someone who is looking for a life preserver?
I am curious to hear if I am alone in this. I am curious to know if instead of feeling comfort, people feel anger when someone tells you: “God has a plan” when you’re overwhelmed by life, fear, pain, mourning, etc.
I want to invite God in. I want to feel comfort in my faith, but the options I have been given so far don’t provide that. Does that make me a bad Christian? Does that mean that another person’s faith is better than mine because hearing about God’s “plan” gives them calm in a storm?
Where is God for you when the world becomes too much? Help me lean into God.