About a year and a half ago, I had some pretty extensive dental work done. I had never been quite that numb before, and it was funny to me how my face felt detached from my body. What wasn’t funny, though, was once the numbness started to fade away. As the tingling set in, letting me know the nerves were waking up, my tongue began to throb excruciatingly. Apparently, during the time that I was numb, I had been chewing and biting on my tongue without any awareness of the damage I was doing.
Thought the numbness was gone within a few hours, it was several days before I could eat or drink or – heaven forbid – brush my teeth without extreme pain.
Numbness, as it turns out, is not the same as invincibility.
Here in the deep south, we’ve been seized by an ice storm this week, and as I type this, we expect that the power could go out literally any second. It has been flickering all day, and we have candles and flashlights at the ready should the flickering turn into a complete outage.
As I walked around the back yard earlier, I noticed a branch of our huge cedar tree drooping dangerously close to the ground, its main limb broken off close to the trunk. Closer inspection showed a thick blanket of ice around the limb and all of its branches, and it even seemed like the ice – though the cause for the breakage – was all that held the branch on, keeping it from detaching completely. Perhaps as the ice melts over the next couple of days, the weight of the tree branch will finally overcome the icy shield and it will fall to the ground.
Being shielded will hold off the inevitable for a time, but it cannot delay it forever.
I’ve been in something of a slump lately. Some of the slump, I am realizing, is of my own doing. I’ve had a lot going on, and at times it has felt as though I’ve been running from my own emotions. Running from stress….running from sadness….running from nerves and fear and the general anxiety that comes (for me) with having a lot to do. I ran and ran, as though if I slowed or stopped for even a moment, the full weight of the emotions inside me would catch up to – and eventually overtake – me. So on I ran, narrowly escaping my thoughts and successfully hiding from the things that could take me down.
Over the past week, though, things have slowed down. Several big projects I had been working on were finished, and with their completion, I had fewer things to distract me. My running slowed, and emotions caught up to me.
I’ve been sad, without really knowing why. Anxious, with my chest tightening and heartrate climbing. Fearful, though of what? Discouraged, and comparing myself and my journey to that of others.
As it turns out, I might have been running – voluntarily making myself feel numb to everything – but that didn’t mean the feelings weren’t there. Numbing my heart made it no less invincible to the things that attack it. The brokenness was there all along. The running just made it easier to ignore.
It has threatened to take me down, honestly. And more than once, I’ve thought about just giving up on my blog and my writing and all of this. I know, though, that to do so would just be lying to myself. It would numb, temporarily, the things that hurt, but would not fix anything.
I’m working on some things personally – in my heart and in my spirit – and hope that it will do nothing but strengthen my resolve to pursue the things God has for me. Would you pray for me, friends? I will be sharing more about my recent struggles soon. And please – let me know how I can pray for you, too.