“As the people stood in the distance, Moses entered into the
deep darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21, NLT)
When I was 27 years old, I walked into the darkest time of my life. I didn’t know at the time that in this darkness I would also meet God.
I was a young missionary, exhausted from living. My stomach constantly ached. Taking a shower left me feeling so depleted I needed a nap to recover from it. Deciding what to make for supper was harder than a calculus exam. I could barely concentrate on work. Suppressing my tears became futile and I often cried for no reason.
I was a missionary who didn’t want to see people. Frankly, I was too tired to really care about them. I felt adrift and alone. I couldn’t see anything beyond myself.
God felt distant and terribly silent.
Initially, I thought these were symptoms of depression. But as I consulted with colleagues and medical professionals, I realized that I had burnt out.
From a very young age, I felt an acute sense of responsibility to do all things with excellence. My parents were entrepreneurs. They taught me the value of hard work and productivity. Words like “excellent” and “conscientious,” scrawled on my report card, propelled my deeper need to justify my existence in the world. I strived to do my best in everything.
My parents also taught me about effective time management. In grade school, my mother made me extensive schedules broken down into half-hour increments. She’d list everything I had to do, from the moment I got home until bedtime.
I continued this practice in university. There were no smartphones or online calendars yet, so my day-planner was my second Bible. I would use extra fine point pens to cram as much writing as I could into each tiny square, taking pride in seeing all my appointments and deadlines colour-coded.
I wanted my life to count. I’d learned in church that Jesus had paid for it with His blood. And I felt like I owed Him back. Big time. So I taught myself to say, “Yes.”
Yes, I’ll join the youth group committee…
Yes, I can lead the worship team this month…
Yes, the meeting can be at my place…
Yes, I’ll take part in starting the campus fellowship…
I wanted to prove my love for Jesus. So I also said “Yes” to going to China for two years to be a missionary. This meant cramming the last three courses of my undergraduate degree into six weeks. No breaks. No rest days. No holidays. And barely any bathroom breaks!
I figured I would rest when I got to Heaven…
[Click here to read the rest of this post at SheLoves Magazine.]