Knowing your breaking point.

Hi everyone.  Carla here.  Same gal, same place. (I’m as awkward in person as I am on opening sentences on a blog.)  Is there a manual on how to begin a blog post?  If there is, let a sister know.

Anyway, enough of that.  It’s been a busy April in the Stinton household.  Appropriately, I titled this blogpost Knowing Your Breaking Point, because I feel like it’s something I’ve preached for a long time but haven’t necessarily lived out in my own life.  Not everyone has the option to listen to their breaking point, or in my case – quit their job when they’re feeling stressed out. By no means, practically speaking, do we, as a family, have that option either, but I made it one and took it.  (My parents always said I was a where there’s a will, there’s a way kind of child… I guess they’re right.)

Anyways, (back on topic) I definitely saw my parents work hard so somewhere I created a belief system that said “Carla, you have to work hard.”  There is totally nothing wrong with that, but when working hard starts to look like not taking care of yourselfthen we have a problem.

Or, at least I had a problem.

Brené Brown talks a whole lot about this in one of her TEDTalks, in basically saying how women fall under this expectation of having to do ALL things PERFECTLY and never letting anyone see them sweat.  Huge paraphrase, so if you want to watch the actual TEDTalk, click here.  It’s worth every minute of your time, so go watch it!  After having watched that, I realized I’ve put that exact expectation on myself.  Sidenote: I feel like once you’ve discovered your need and how to get it met (healthily) then that’s a whole new level of adulting.  The good kind.

Moving on, back in January when Matt and I moved to Portland, ME, we both kind of sat back and asked the Lord to define our season.  Why are we here?  You tell us.  What should we be doing?  You tell us.

For a lot of us, we define our own seasons without realizing it, and in doing that, we can sometimes end up more tired than the Lord actually wants for us.

Up until this past February, our travel schedule had nothing on it, so (in my worry and maybe my own defining) I decided to get a job.  When I got the news that I had gotten it, we both gave sighs of relief!  I would be a Behavioral Health Professional here in Portland, working in the public schools with students with behaviors.  I felt up for the challenge (this is what I’ve done all my life, so I just expected to be able to handle it!); until around week 3… cue: my breaking point.

In a few words, I was coming home in tears, emotionally and physically strung out, never enough time for our marriage (can we still claim to be newlyweds?), no energy to cook dinner (which I admittingly enjoy) and having just started getting things organized at our church, I found I had 0 energy to even think about our worship community.  Recipe for disaster, right?  Matt and I discussed options, and they all wound up in the same area: I need to quit.  I don’t look at my quitting as a sign of weakness, rather a sign of courage because, really, who listens to themselves enough to actually do something about it?  And also, I had never quit a job before, so it felt like uncharted territory that needed conquering.

Over and over, especially in times like this, I look to Matthew 11 where Jesus so clearly spells out, “…and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Running on my own strength has left me feeling exhausted and this next season that I’m entering just feels like a whole lot of waiting on the Lord.  Isn’t it better to be carried by Jesus than trying to carry the stuff we were never meant to carry?

To know and believe that in our tensions, we are not alone and that He is more eager to help us than we give Him credit for.  He is ever present in our time of need, and this was one of my “ever present” moments.  I decided to leave my job and within 24 hours, I had one of those realizations… Oh, this is what it feels like to live without that heaviness.  Did I miss the Lord in taking that job?  I feel like I could waste a lot of time trying to figure that one out, and what really matters is that He has made such a promise to Matt and I that He would take care of us.

And for the first time, probably ever, I have a complete trust put in Him in this area of my life… it’s equal parts terrifying and equal parts exciting.

 

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