God I look to you. You're where my help comes from. I won’t be overwhelmed.
I keep telling myself this truth, yet for some reason it isn’t sinking in. I do feel overwhelmed this morning, completely and fully consumed with a heaviness that will not subside.
I am supposed to be developing stories of my time in Iganga and of the exquisite children that I met and fell in love with there, but every time I try to dig in and get something in writing, a feeling of paralysis sweeps over me. My heart starts beating furiously and my eyes well up with thick, salty tears. “I can’t do this,” I think.
But that is a lie. I can do this. I will fight for this. I will go forward in this.
So I will start with why I feel overwhelmed. It’s not merely the stories themselves and how heartbreaking/ beautiful/ redemptive they are, but it is how many there are. It feels like there was not enough time to hear them all. It feels like I will not be able to portray them all. It feels like too large a task to tell them all.
This sentiment takes me back to the evening after my first day at the children’s home. I sat on my bed, legs crossed and heart heavy, waiting for specific vision of the story that I was to tell. Nothing came. I hated that. Instead of sitting and remaining still, I let the overachiever in me rear her ugly head and tell me that I had better come up with something good, something really big and impactful. My mind raced. If it’s not big then it is not worth it. A small story is not as worthy. If I miss it then I am worthless. Am I worthless? Am I even worthy to be telling these stories? Am I worthy of being here? Is this whole thing worth it?
Stop Jacki! In my mind an emphatic, firm voice tells me to stop. And once I do, a still, small voice asks me where my worth comes from.
In that moment, instead of hating that I had no specific vision yet, I started hating that I hated that. I want to be a woman that waits and listens. So I did and my answer came.
Where does my worth come from? My worth comes from the One who created me, not from what I am able to create or not create.
Only once I accepted this, was I able to hear from Him. You see, when I wait on the Lord and listen to his truth, rather than racing ahead and listening to lies, something really sweet happens. He puts my mind at rest, he quiets my soul, he stills my anxiety, and he gently speaks to me. “We are intimately linked in this harvest work. This is a large work I have called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t miss out on a thing.” (Matt. 10:40-42 The Message)
Thank you Jesus. For inviting me into your work. For encouraging me and commanding me not to be overwhelmed. For telling me it is ok for it to be small. For reassuring me that I will not miss out on a single thing.
And I didn’t. I didn’t miss out on a thing. God was so faithful to weave a story together and to deposit confirmations along the way. He was faithful to use me. He was faithful to fill me with love for these kids. He was faithful to build relationship. He was faithful to unite our team. He was faithful to show me things about myself and change me. He was faithful to teach me. He was faithful to come through. He was faithful to reveal. He was faithful to heal. He was faithful to restore. He was faithful to redeem. He was faithful to show me where my worth comes from.
I am still pondering all these things and waiting on him to continue to reveal facets of the story, but for now let me just say that I am worshipping him. Whole heartedly, with reckless abandon and full devotion. I love you Lord my strength, my shield, my rock.
If you have not yet please check out The Archibald Project the incredible organization I went to Uganda with. The Archibald Project exists to document stories, advocate for orphans, and inspire people to action through imagery.