“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

Some days are just tough.

From serious health problems affecting people close to me, financial stressors, friends (who are basically family) dealing with some of the most challenging and broken times, and other personal matters of my heart…it’s been a whirlwind of emotions, and the extreme feeling of mental and spiritual exhaustion.

And several weeks ago, when it all finally accumulated into a long, draining, over-thinking, empathy-induced sleepless night of the most anxiety and depression I have felt in a very long time, I realized something very acutely about myself: I was wrongly internalizing and taking on everyone else’s burdens and areas of brokenness, instead of giving it all to God.

Who was I to think that I could possibly, in my humanness, solve any of these situations in my own strength?

It felt like I was racing solo. Pressing harder and harder into feeling for everyone else and wanting to understand what was happening in their lives or figuring out a solution, instead of slowing down and pacing myself. And all these months of trusting God and careful marathon  running turned into a wild, amateur-style sprint that left me breathless, exhausted, and unable to take another step. False thoughts about myself and others kept me locked down, and unchecked words spilled out from the broken, vulnerable places of my own heart.

Thank Jesus for grace, mercy, and compassion, right?

Reminding myself to breathe, rest, and take stock of each emotion was crucial. Why am I anxious? What am I fearful of? Is this situation mine to internalize, or is it my job to simply pray for the person going through the situation? Is this relationship or friendship making me stronger or tearing me down? Is this something that deserves my attention, or merely an awareness of a feeling and learning to release it?

All the good stuff that stretches and strengthens; all the broken things that come out when we are trying to do this life in our own wisdom and understanding.

Over and over, I am pointed to the Psalms. Praise in the storms, being real with God about how you’re feeling, opening the door for analyzing the wounds and being okay with what you might find, because it’s an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to heal. Being honest about your weakness, your worries, the things that weigh heavily on your heart, and knowing that God hears you. Knowing who you are, and whose you are, and living in that God-given confidence and quiet courage.

Does it ever feel like you are learning the same lesson repeatedly, but with different circumstances to apply the lesson? I always think I’ve gotten a handle on something, and then I’m right back to facing it all over again. Everyone has their “something”. I think it’s a never-ending process of trial and error; we are fragile, desperate people who are loved by a grace-giving, unfailing God. He surrounds us with His protection and His sovereignty, continually bringing people into our lives who need us just as much as we need them.

Sometimes we are in this race together for only a season, but I’m so grateful and blessed by the ones who are in this with me for the long haul…the ones I can count on in the hard times and the best times. We weren’t made to run solo. Don’t sprint ahead or opt for a seat on the sidelines. Life has moments of feeling lonely and discouraged, but it’s a marathon we were meant to finish with Christ by our side. Someday it will all make sense. Until then, even in the darkest of nights…keep your head up, and keep running.