Do you feel you have an extraordinary future? Some days, I dare to dream that. But most days I don’t.
Recently, I was more than a little down on myself. I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired. There was no dreaming of great things only slogging through the daily mud and grind of life and not enjoying it.
I was hungry because I was trying to stop consuming mainly protein shakes and start eating real food. But I didn’t have a real plan for that besides stopping the thing that was keeping me from being hungry.
I was really mad at myself and having a pity party because I hadn’t written as much as I did the week before. I was frustrated for allowing interruptions to guide my day rather than my intended values. Both the pity party and the frustrations were a not very well veiled form of anger.
When I get busy, I tend to become introspective which leads to a type of loneliness. I wasn’t taking time for deep, meaningful discussions because I was, well, busy.
I was getting in exercise but that was just making me more tired. I hadn’t gotten to bed as soon as I would have liked most nights. Again I blame busyness and looming deadlines.
I had all of the ingredients ripe for backsliding into an abyss. A psychologist I know calls this condition HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. He says these are ingredients for relapse into addiction.
I define an addiction as a place that I have gone that has given me an easy sense of comfort but has been impairing my life in some way. In the past, for me that has been overeating.
Here in lies the problem. Seven years ago I had a gastric bypass operation. I can’t overeat now. True confession: Right then, I would have overeaten if I could. I wanted a quick fix, a way to anesthetize the discomfort I was feeling.
My brain recognized this was not a good place to be. I needed a different kind of relief; something positive that would be long lasting and not life limiting. I began to think about someone in scripture who was in a similar situation. It took me awhile to search but I found what I was looking for.
“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 42:11, Amplified).
Right at that point, I certainly needed help with my countenance. No doubt about it.
Compared to all of my puny problems, David, the writer of Psalms, had much larger problems. He ran from King Saul, committed adultery and murder, faced national problems, surrounded by enemies, fought countless battles, lost a child as a baby and lost more children as adults.
Yet despite all of David’s problems and faults, he was called a man after God’s own heart.
I have been reading about Mother Teresa, a woman who is said to be one of the most saintly in recent times. In the book Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, Joseph Langford writes:
“Wherever we are, with whatever talents and relationships God has entrusted us, we are each called not to do what Mother Teresa did, but to do as she did —to love as she loved in the Calcuttas of our own life.”
I thought about my own “Calcutta” of recent weeks. My hungry wasn’t because I had nothing to eat. My angry wasn’t because I had no place to live. My lonely wasn’t because all of my family and friends had died of malnutrition. My tired wasn’t from begging in the streets of Calcutta.
Yet all of those Mother Teresa helped were in those situations. Its amazing that she was able to go on day after day helping the most desperate of humanity. She knew only the light of Jesus touching them could bring any hope into their darkness.
King David’s “Calcutta” was different. But there were times he was hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Just read the Psalms. His desperation is there, but also his confessions and his praises of an almighty God.
By comparison my “Calcutta” was ridiculous, really. Just thinking about it was, well, laughable.
It helped me re-frame my situation. It helped me accept where I was. It helped me own my life. It helped me want to reach for more, to be more, to embrace more fully who I am and who I am destined to be.
It’s a little like Reepicheep says in Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “Extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people. Perhaps you were made for an extraordinary future.”