Wow! Where did the month of May go? Honestly, I feel like I haven’t had a second to sit down and catch my breath. The Dude and I have been running around attending to new responsibilities while trying keep track of the plates that we already had spinning. At times I have felt extremely overwhelmed. This week I had a chance to get away for a few hours at my hometown zoo with my best friend from high school and her kids. It was a really refreshing break from it all. There is a series of buildings at that zoo featuring different landscapes and the animals that dwell there. In the Forest building we came upon a cavern to explore. The cavern started out with a wide opening, then got smaller and darker as we continued on. There was a section that remained wide for those of us pushing strollers, so I stayed on the main path and sent my three small children through a smaller opening to meet me on the other side. My friend warned me that it was pretty dark in there, but Monkey’s shoes were the kind that light up when she walked, so I thought they would serve as a flashlight of sorts and encouraged them on. About 20 seconds later they all appeared back at the opening saying it was just too dark. Okay, at least they tried. Monkey could not let it go, though. This girl does not like to be conquered by anything. She asked all the way through the remainder of the building if I would accompany her through the dark part of the cave. I finally agreed, left the baby stroller with my friend and started back with Monkey. Bear and the Little Dude realized what was going on and followed along. Now I pride myself a little bit on not really being afraid of anything. That’s not to say I have never been afraid, in fact I was a pretty fearful child. And I’m also not implying that I never worry about anything. I’m just saying the normal things that make a 20-something girl squeamish don’t really affect me. Would I cuddle up with a snake or a spider, no. But I don’t mind shooing them out the door. Okay, back to the cavern. I was leading the way with three of my littles huddled up behind me, the cave growing darker and smaller. I reached a point in the cave that was pitch black. I could not see anything. Small ripples of panic starting sweeping over me. I began to feel around the cavern for the opening and could not find one, just cold, fake rock. Trapped between what seemed to be a dead end and three small roadblocks, I was moments from a full on freak out. Just as I was about the trample my kids for the entrance, my hand felt an opening. Small, tight, and invisible; but accessible. Once we turned the corner we could see the light at the end of the cave, literally three feet from where I had felt so desperately trapped moments before. For those of you who know the zoo I am referring to, you probably think me silly and dramatic. As do I. Once you have gone through the small part of the cavern it is no big deal. I have laughed at myself several times this week at just how scared I truly was. Spiders, I can handle them. Snakes, no problem. Small-confined-pitch-black-spaces-with-no-escape, apparently a crippling fear of mine. I have another fear that is slightly less tangible, it’s called the fear of man. Fear of failing, of letting people down, of not being able to accomplish everything I have signed up for. There have been times this week that I have felt trapped in a cave of responsibility. No way to move, too cramped to see my way out. When it seemed like I couldn’t handle the pressure for one more moment, I felt an opening.
I can’t get out of this cave on my own, and I don’t have to. Why am I trying to do this all in my own power, anyway? For God did not give us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7
God uses these periods of stretching in our lives for our good and His glory. I didn’t run around signing my name on every committee around town. Most of my current responsibilities were given to me. I joyfully accepted them because I like to be busy and useful and creative. Perhaps God loaded my plate to remind me that I need him, that he wants me to surrender to his power. He doesn’t want Elizabeth there, he wants someone there whom he can work through to accomplish his purposes. As I try desperately to maintain my schedule, the walls begin to close in again. Frustration and fear darken the path. The more I humbly surrender to the Lord, the lighter my path, the easier my step.
I’m linking up today with Ruth at Gracelaced.