Death By A Thousand Cuts
Two o’clock in the morning and my head is still pounding from a migraine that has dogged me since early the prior evening. I tried medicine, light and sound deprivation and sleep; nothing helped. I get migraines occasionally but very rarely do they hit this hard and take so long to resolve. The house was quiet and dark as I made my way to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. I stood leaning against the counter for a minute, but the magic of hydration did not help as fast as I had hoped.
Making my way back to my bed, I stepped over the boys who must have snuck into my room at some point and made themselves a small bed of blankets and pillows. The pressure in my head was still intense enough that it felt like my eyes would be pushed right out of my head. I began going back over the day before to see if I could discover the cause of my migraine, but that only brought up the things I was stressed about:
the email from Will’s teacher letting me know that he wasn’t doing well at all, the realization that I forgot to RSVP for the basketball banquet meaning Evie couldn’t go that night, the projects still needing attention at work, paperwork due to register Ronan for school, taxes, and well, the list just continues to grow from there.
As I sort through what I can, the quiet and the dark reveals a clarity that I can’t seem to find during the activity of my day. In my head the following conversation took place:
“Why do you persist at doing these things yourself?”
“I don’t do these things myself; Paul has the other side of this list.”
“But it’s more than the two of you can handle. Why do you have such a tight grip on these things?”
“Who can I ask for help? I have no family here and all my friends are just as busy.”
“Let these things go.”
“And FAIL! Let everyone down? No thank you!”
“Who said ‘fail’?”
And then relief, relief from the migraine that chewed away at the inside of my head, relief from the responsibilities far greater than my abilities settled the anxieties in the night.
“How do I let go, but not fail?”
“You know the answer.”
How relief and shame can share the same space is always a mystery contained inside the realization that God, who walks beside you through all of the emails, the phone calls, the bills, the meetings, has been politely extending the answer the entire time. How long would I go on ignoring it?
Without God these things multiple and to your heart, soul and mind they are death by a thousand cuts. Each cut allowing a little of your sanity and confidence to escape and threaten to part from you forever. My shame and misplaced pride responds, “Not those little things God. I can have this cleaned up in no time.” The Truth, “If you could, you would, but you can’t so you have not. Did I not say, ‘cast ALL your cares’?”
There is nothing so small that God can’t help you with and there is nothing so small that a thousand of them would not turn into a crushing burden. It took a migraine, a quiet night and a soft word spoken to my heart that I am not enough, but He is and He wants to carry all of it.