Rest...Let go...Choose joy.

My days are marked by a cyclic cycle consisting of praise Jesus hallelujah coffee, morning alarms that never seem to shut up, eight hours of being a wolf geneticist, tennis/biblestudy/movies/dinner with friends, continuous calendar checking and worry to make sure I'm not missing an appointment or meeting with someone and the minimal amount of sleep to stay functioning.

To be completely honest, I love having a bunch going on. It makes me feel important, special, popular and gives my life more meaning. It's a selfish passion that hurts me more than helps me... as I am painfully realizing.

Resting is not my forté. On a regular basis I hear the comment of 'Oh Emma you look really tired.' I pride myself on acting like everything is ok, that I'm fine and can keep putting my body through the craziness that I commit myself to every week. I struggle with taking time for myself and taking care of myself because I feel like my job is to take care of others and be there for them 100% of the time. Whenever I take a moment for myself to read, exercise, or just think, I am paralyzed. I think how I could be spending that time with others and how my time could be more productive and efficient. I fear that as soon as I take a moment for myself, those around me will think that I am less committed to them and do not care about them.

Back in March, I dealt with extensive anxiety because of all the things I was trying to do without taking care of myself. I foolishly thought that God would continue to sustain my body on 5 hours of sleep, minimal exercise and an inconsistent eating schedule. God, in his graciousness, allowed me to be plagued with pneumonia during the time when I thought my world was going to come crashing down because of all the things I was trying to support in my life, just by myself. After that, I realized that taking care of myself is crucial and that I'm going to be a less efficient witness if I am consistently run down and trying to catch up - even if I'm run down doing good things.

I say that I realized taking care of myself was important, but to be honest, I'm right back where I was in March. Thankfully less affected by anxiety, but I'm tired, run down, in need of sleep, and just a less effective version of myself. Ultimately, I'm realizing that the root of this recurring occurrence is an idol of control. I struggle with control and I've struggled with it for as long as I can remember. My efforts are spent trying to control everything from my schedule, my relationships and my future. I wonder why I run myself to the ground and the answer is literally staring me in the mirror. I struggle trusting that God has a plan for me that is better than what I could ever dream. I doubt the truths that God has so clearly laid out in Scripture. Ultimately, I lack trust in my Savior who chose me, redeemed me and is sanctifying me. This morning I woke up distraught over what God has been showing me in my heart. Even when God shows me parts of my heart that need pruned, I want to fix those problems quickly and on my time and control even what only God can control, my sanctification.

Right now life is difficult, but God reminded me this morning that I have been called to "rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12). Even though I am walking through a spiritual valley, I am still called to be joyful and thankful for what God has placed in my life. Instead of focusing on my problems, overthinking and trying to control, God has called me to live a life marked by faith, a life marked by joy in every circumstance and ultimately a life marked by love for those around me. The lessons I'm learning are not without pain, but I'm thankful for a God who pushes me, challenges me and leads me further towards Himself. I am striving to focus on today. To rest, to let go and to choose joy because Christ chose me.

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