Standing by the elevators, watching the numbers slowly flash from 6, to 5, to 4 (long pause as all the financial consultants board for their smoke break), to 3, to 2, to 1, I can feel it at the back of my neck, pressing up my spine, clouding around my head.
My coworker can see it as she steps out of the elevator – “Are you OK? You look…worried or something.”
Wry smile – “Yeah, I’m kind of stressed out.”
It sits all day, right in between my vertebrae – gnawing me, pulling at me, pressing my skull right in-between my eyebrows, and hunching my shoulders over. I feel harried, like someone is yelling at me, forcing me. Every phone call is a rude interruption, every question like an angry horn in traffic. I feel frazzled, over-worked, pushed and stretched out.
Finally, it gets to be too much. I can’t handle it any more. Pushing away from the keyboard, I go and crouch in the bathroom, shutting the door on the computer screen and the phone calls and the coworkers.
In the five minutes of quiet, with the door locked, I say a quick prayer. And in the first few words, I realize, It’s been so long! I can barely remember the last time I prayed!
The first couple sentences are all complaining – I can’t handle it, God. I feel so tired, and pestered and I just don’t want to be here.
And then I remember that I’ve been shutting Him out, just trudging along and doing it on my own. For days now, I’ve been caught up in the activity and the work and getting it all done. I’ve been pushing through a to-do list on auto-pilot and swallowing entertainment like cartons of orange juice.
All I’ve done for the past three days is consume.
And just quietly crouched there, I’m frightened by how yawningly empty it is. God, it’s all so chilling and EMPTY without You.
And that’s what I’ve been missing – just Him.
And all of a sudden the pressure lifts, and the clouds clear. And grace comes flooding down.
And I remember, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
And that’s all it is, really – just coming, just letting Him back in. Just coming with an expectation that He can help and fill, and soothe, and give you real rest.
And that was it. Just His presence, and all the darkness inside was turned light, and all the weight turned into wings.
Stepping back into the office, the phone was still ringing, and the problems didn’t go away, but the crouching, harrying, clawing burden was gone. Worry and stress and the work day that never ends turns into Him working all things for good…