Faith, personal

Work and Rest are a Surprisingly Difficult Balance.

My entire life exists in extremes. I’ve felt like this for a long time. I’m either working myself to the point of exhaustion or letting my life just stop.

I don’t know how to just exist anymore. Maybe I never have?

I’ve spent a lot of time stopped in the last two years. I fulfil my obligations, just enough to get ‘high functioning’ printed on my list of diagnoses, then I collapse into my bed, pull my covers over me and let my world end. Go to work, go to class if enough people bug you about it, try and make an appearance in front of your parents every few days. Never do anything because you want to, never more than just surviving.

Then things will start to look up again. Wow, I’m an actual functioning human being. Now I have to do all the things. It was in a moment like this two years that I actually originally started Brittsinthesky.

Do all the things. Work, study, be a big sister, be a good friend.

Live.

I mean, generally, this time is pretty good. Being able to manage your mood is fantastic, less panic attacks, brilliant. A good time for all involved.

Except I forget to rest.

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I’ll admit I have some issues. I also probably hold myself to an impossibly high standard. I’m working on that.

‘Working on that’, emphasis on ‘working‘, probably overthinking, definitely over complicating, obviously not very good at yet.

How do you even rest? How do you take the time that you’ve got and make the most of it without running yourself into the ground? How do you not use excessive productivity to mask the fact that you’re a lot more broken than you want to face?

Oh.

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I had a conversation early last year about my study. I was convinced I could do it all. I was going to work and work and work. I planned to study four units, work part time, and complete my youth work internship.

I could feel that I was getting bad again, that the high was wearing off so I was going to fight it the only way I knew how: denial and obsessive work.

I didn’t get my way.

I only passed one unit, and I didn’t manage to get a job. I also had a breakdown, got temporarily kicked out of home, and had quite an extensive identity crisis.

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Maybe the periods in my life when I am literally too depressed to move is some sort of equivalent to when as a kid I’d fight falling asleep with everything I had until I would basically collapse wherever I was standing.

An over simplification, yes, but perhaps not entirely inaccurate.

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I like the concept of seasons.

I think it’s kind of funny how God has this way of revealing himself bit by bit in kind of weird ways. Eventually, you see a bigger part of the picture and it all starts to click together.

At the start of this year, the idea of seasons kept turning up all over the place. I picked Ecclesiastes 3:11a as part of a project for church and then people just kept mentioning it and the rest of the chapter. Like all the time. I could have just been noticing it more, the way you do when suddenly everyone has the same new car as you, but I kept thinking about it.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Maybe it was comforting to me because I was in a pretty crappy place. When you’re in a crappy place, there are few things more comforting than the promise that said crap is not forever.

So seasons.

In this season I think I’m supposed to be learning how to rest. Not in the same way I was a few months ago when I gave up on job hunting even though I needed the money. That was different. I have two jobs now and I’ve started writing here. I’m doing a lot that I love, which I think is good.

But I can feel the pressure building. Not from anywhere but myself, but it’s there.

Honesty moment: my wise mind is exhausted right now. She’s having a hard time, folks.

My first reaction is to fight back. I may only be five four and currently anaemic, but I will fight you. I will not go down easy.

I have to do all the things. 
Everything.
All of them.
The best.
I’m not struggling.
I’m fine.
Look at me, I’m overloading myself because I’m fine!

The response to this from some part of my brain that actually hates me is that “fight fight fight” chant that happens in every movie about high school drama. And then it is on.

Fun fact: when fighting my disordered brain in disordered ways, I always lose. But I’m stupid, so I go ahead and do it anyway.

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Rest.

That word keeps coming back to me.

Oh my gosh Britts, for the love all things good, please rest.

Stop doing things for the sake of doing things. Stop doing things because you feel like you have to.

Just be.

Tomorrow will worry about itself.

Please.

Sit and be still.

Sit and watch a tv show without the crippling feeling that you’re not working hard enough. You don’t have to be running every day if you don’t feel like it, it’s okay. Stop carrying burdens that aren’t yours to carry.

Just sit with God. In the quiet. Let him hold you when you are afraid and tired and way too overwhelmed. Rest.

No one who actually cares about you wants you to burn out for the hundredth time.

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I don’t really have any advice or profound statement to finish on. But I think that’s okay.

All my love,
b.

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