I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Psalm 105:4
My breaking point was reached this last weekend. Wikipedia defines my experience as the moment of greatest strain at which someone or something gives way or breaks down and cries. Yep. Sums it up well.
When I look back over my life, I can remember some pivitol (above the norm) times when my patience and self control was used up and my breaking point hit. Hard. And what followed the breaking point was intense tears or a severe lashing out to someone nearby in anger. Here are a couple of those:
My Breaking Point Doosies
- College happened: Play over study mixed with taking an overload of credits meant I was stressed beyond stressed at Midterms. I couldn’t keep my head above water to memorize and remember all the science facts and figures. My Mom called simply to check in and I couldn’t take one more conversation that day. I was unkind and let my anger get the best of me as I blamed her for calling me-Stress had got the best of me and my breaking point hit.
- Marriage happened: My husband and I were in our first year of marriage. One particular week I told my husband I NEEDED and DESERVED a new outfit for the fall, he said, “No, we don’t have the money.” The next day at the movies I asked if he could get us a drink and popcorn and he said again, “No, we don’t have the money.” I ALWAYS got to have those things before, why not now? The rage machine showed up and instead of lashing out I gave him the silent treatment for the rest of the time and car ride home. The anger eventually came out as I let him know he wasn’t the boss of me. Not my shining moment-Selfishness and greed had got the best of me and my breaking point hit.
- Children happened: People always said children would test your patience like never before and they couldn’t have been more right. I remember literally singing my 50th round of “Jesus loves me” at 3am to my first born daughter to get her to go to sleep. Weeks into being a new Mom I realized I wasn’t strong enough for it. The next morning my Mom had left to go home, my husband was at work and I was left laying on the couch, completely exhausted with a newborn crying. Not sleeping. Again. I wept. A constant stream of tears were getting myself and my child soaking wet-A lack of sleep, patience, and an out of control feeling in this new left me at my breaking point.
My breaking point last week came unexpectedly like these ones from my past, but created new questions in me. (Mainly about my sanity.) The recent lack of morning sickness (in this pregnancy) has recently allowed me to perform more of my regular housekeeping “to do’s”, as well as be more involved in my Mom role of playing with/ transporting my girls to parks and activities. So that is better. But we are finding we are in a season of many current and upcoming changes: We are helping start a church plant, our girls are soon starting brand new schools, my husband is on Sabbatical in his job, we are expecting a new baby in a couple months, my husband is coaching both girls soccer teams and my family has recently moved to our city. (I think I got them all.) So obviously since our house is running at 40% we should get a puppy. And we did.
I could tell my husband’s patience was wearing (My husband graciously gave me permission to write about this). This so rarely, if ever, happens with him that I wasn’t sure how to handle it. It seemed all our crazy had finally taken him down (when it had already brought me to tears many times before this point). But instead of praying for him and asking what I could do to help him, I got angry. I was angry because he wasn’t the immovable rock for me he had always been in the past. Bottom line-it was a selfish anger. Which quickly turned to an overall attitude of self pity. And I lived here for awhile. With quiet tears on and off. Until by God’s mercy He lifted me from the pit, comforted me, and allowed me to see how I could pray for/help/respect my husband, while at the same time giving me strength for the day.
All these past “doosie breaking points” will ever be in my brain. They came unexpectedly and I had a choice whether to let them get the best of me or allow these low points to propel me to the loving arms of Jesus. They forced me to either change my attitude or ways, ask for help, lay down my pride, or let the anger/bitterness rule. So ultimately, the breaking points were gifts. Gifts of growth. In choosing the ways of the Spirit over my fleshly reactions. Does this mean the knowledge of life through the Spirit equals no break downs in the future? Almost assuredly not.
But maybe next time a break down befalls us, we will turn more quickly from our self pity perspective to God’s life giving, mercy encompassing, massive forgiving, wisdom inducing, wholeness healing, and love overwhelming ways. Maybe having experienced where our true strength, help, hope and peace comes from, we will say His name, “Jesus” more often.
And no matter if we are able to say His powerful name before the breaking point or after the breaking point, He. Is. There. In love, forgiveness, patience, and peace. So let’s choose to say “Jesus” in the moments today where life seems too much. Giving Him praise and glory for how He showed up big time to help us in our time of need.
© 2012 Standing on Peace