Frazzled by: Peggy

FRAZZLED
Like all parents, when the kids were young, we were BUSY! Gilbert worked a lot of overtime and I worked part-time, so life could get overwhelming at times. But it wasn’t until one of our son’s birthdays that I realized how frazzled I was.
We always tried to make the kids birthdays special, and would celebrate with the extended family with a birthday dinner. But we also would try to have a kid’s party for them. David was born in April, so it was a great time of year for a kid’s party. Boys like to run around outside, and we lived in a place with acres of ground. The plans were made for a Saturday afternoon party, and Jim was staying home from work that day to ride herd on the outside activities. I remember shopping for the party bags and decorations wondering: what do you put in party bags for 8 year old boys? Girls are easy: play make-up, stickers and all that glitters. But boys? As I was wandering through the dollar store, I came across a bin of little Swiss army knife-type thingies. I picked one out, and, upon close inspection, I found that as I opened this nifty little thing, each piece was actually a little tool. One stem was a little hammer, one a little screw driver, a little wrench but no knife or blade or anything. It all folded neatly into a compact piece with a chain to put on a belt or backpack or whatever. It was perfect! I couldn’t believe my good fortune, as I reached into the bin and counted out 15 for the party bags. I was set. Each bag would contain a little tool thingy, a hackie-sack ball, and all the sugar I could stuff in to send them on their way. I was also into cake decorating in those days, so I made a cake shaped like a football jersey, with a big number 8. I got streamers that said “Happy Birthday, eight year old”, and I blew up a lot of balloons, then cleverly took a magic marker and wrote an 8 all over each one before hanging them all over the house.

The party bags were filled, the house decorated, and everything set to go. Gilbert spent the morning outside mowing the grass, getting the baseball diamond ready, clearing the basketball court, and making everything ready for the posse of boys who were ready to descend for the festivities. I looked around the house, quite pleased at the way everything was just falling into place. My mother promised to be there about a half hour ahead of time to lend a hand, and all was ready when she arrived. I can still see her coming in the door. Now my mom was the coolest woman alive, but she was a chain smoker and always had one lit. She walked in, cigarette in hand, and looked around and surveyed the great job I did decorating. She looked at everything, the balloons, the streamers, the party bags, the cake. She took a long drag of her cigarette, looked at me, and said “ **expletive**, Peggy, why do you have an 8 all over everything? He’s not 8, he’s 7! This is his seventh birthday. What the **expletive** is wrong with you?”
Ummm… what? Seven?!?! You mean to tell me this kid is only seven? But he looks like an 8 year old, right? Oh, wait a minute-it was my nephew who was 8… Dear God, she was right. My son, the one I gave birth to, was turning 7, not 8. How could I make such a ridiculous mistake???? What was wrong with me?? Mom immediately went to work ripping down streamers, popping balloons with her ever lit cigarette and blowing up new ones, mumbling under her breath the whole time. I went to work on the cake, scraping off the 8 and making more icing so I could pipe a 7 onto the shirt. Somehow we got it all together as the boys arrived. They all had a blast, and I was very happy to hand them all their party bags as their parents came to pick them up.
My mother was still shaking her head as the last of the boys left. She said to me “You’re frazzled—go sit for a few minutes and I’ll start cleaning up”. Gilbert was still outside with David and my nephews, who were spending the night. I went into the living room, and sat down next to the open window, enjoying the smell of spring wafting through the window, listening to the sound of the boys outside playing. The sound of “ swoosh..THUNK!, swoosh…THUNK!” followed by the sound of boys saying “YEAH!” Wait a minute: “swoosh thunk”? What was that?? Gilbert was in the shed but must have heard the same thing I did. My mother came out of the back door at the same time. With curiosity/fear, we approached the boys from different directions. They were huddled around an old tree stump, and in their hands were the handy-dandy tool-thingies that were in the bags. Except they weren’t tool thingies. They were knife-thingies. Pen knives? Where did you get those? “Aunt Peggy/Mom: they were in the party bags!” WHAT!?!? “Yeah, Aunt Peggy—these are the coolest gifts ever! Our mom doesn’t let us play with knives at our house!” I guess there was only ONE tool-thingy in the bin at the dollar store—all the rest were pen knife- thingies. Yep. I sent 15 boys home from my house with weapons. Right about then, the phone rang, and I knew that I knew it would be a mom questioning my sanity. My husband started laughing uncontrollably. My mother took another long drag on her cigarette, looked at me with disbelief that I was her child, and shook her head. I went in to answer the phone and start calling the other moms to tell them to take away the party bags before their sons killed someone or started carving things into the coffee table. They all asked me the same question:   “ You mean you just reached into the bin and pulled them out without opening each one to be sure of what you were getting?” I wanted to scream at every one of them “That’s right, super Mom! This psycho mom only opened one—I didn’t open them all, so if you’re smart, you’ll get off the phone and hunt down your kid before he pokes his eye out!” Geez…  I didn’t say those things, I just apologized profusely and begged for forgiveness. They were all very gracious and no one called DYFS on me.
It was at the end of this long, long day that my mother’s words struck me. “You are frazzled”. Up until that point I didn’t realize how true that was. I was getting through every day, hoping for the best. I would wake every morning and pray for safety and protection for the family as I ran around packing their snack-lunches. But I never really took the time to pray that God would order my day or help me set His priorities. I realized on David’s first eighth birthday party day, that I needed to rest in Him a little more. I honestly had no idea how to do that. I was too busy.
Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Ps. 143:7&8
Knowing that something definitely had to change before the next kid’s birthday (she would be turning 3, right?) lest I mistakenly buy bazookas or something, I set about trying to spend some real quality time of meditation and reflection in the morning. It wasn’t easy to get my mind to settle down, but eventually, I overcame. I would read the Bible and pray. It was in those times that I learned that God was truly my friend. He was always there. In my happy times, He is there smiling with me. When I am overwhelmed, He is there to settle me. When I am sad or grieving, He is there with comfort. This, I can say, was the beginning of a true change in me as I learned that I could truly rely on God to be there, right where He said He would be (with me to the end of my days).
It is an on-going process, this resting in His presence. It is here that I find Him. He gets me. He understands that I sometimes have a..um…let’s just say “unique” sense of humor. He helps me overcome the urge to cry and snort at weddings, and the urge to laugh and snort at funerals. He watches me fall, and then helps me get up. And I am not as frazzled. I am busy. I am exhausted. I am starting to feel my age. And He is here through it all. I’ve had people say to me that they don’t understand how I can talk about God as if He is my best friend. I say, how can you not? I get great comfort in my prayer time—my time of talking to the Lord. Sometimes the time I spend is short, sometimes longer; sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy. I am ever-learning how to work with Him, rather than let circumstances dictate my life. Today, I challenge you to spend some time in the Savior’s presence and in His Word, and let Him teach you how to follow in His footsteps of purpose, passion and peace!
“Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28,29 MSG)

Frazzled by: Ronda

“Frazzled” sounds like the title to the latest Disney movie…oh yeah that’s Frozen. I haven’t seen the movie but I can guess there may be some analogies that can be made. Frazzled is a state of existence, maybe even being for some where you are simply going through the motions of life, barely existing because you are tired, burned out and just plain worn out. Your life source has fizzled…you aren’t running on empty you are running on the fumes!

Ironically or maybe unfortunately this term is most associated with women. We tend to be more prone to stress and being overworked than our male counterparts. Interestingly, I googled “Frazzled” and there is a book and movement called “Frazzled Female”. I haven’t read the book and I don’t know much about the author Cindi Wood…other than she is a Christian author. Needless to say, I can relate to the concept of “being” frazzled, “living frazzled” and thinking this is just the way life is for me…daughter, sister, wife, mother, business owner, student, advocate, counselor, doctor (healer), prayer, minister, and the list goes on for most of us. We women wear many hats and play many roles in the lives of those we love.

This frazzled female realized that I could not exist in the chronic flow of stress, tension and depletion of energy. It took a health challenge several years ago to MAKE me change the way I was living. At that time I was homeschooling 4 children, two with special needs, running a retail boutique with a partner, an elder in my church and overseeing ministry. I was suffering from symptoms of MS. After an MRI and an appointment with a wise neurologist, I accepted the truth. My symptoms were “psychosomatic”, his words not mine, and “my demon was stress”: his words not mine. It was interesting he said “demon”. He calmly told me, “you can’t be all things to all people” and I had to stop. I listened. I put my children in public school, released my half of my retail business, resigned from my eldership at church and began to recover myself. It was not easy. I am sure I went through phases of depression.

In order to recover myself I had to start in prayer. I had to begin to bring spiritual disciples into my life that would help me maintain some level of balance. I had to realize that life with children with special needs could present varying levels of stress on a daily basis. It was not good for me to add onto these stresses by filling my life with unnecessary obligations; especially if those obligations didn’t serve as life-giving additions to my life. Matthew 11: 28-30 (MSG) helped me then and continues to remind me of the “frazzled” self I must resist:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
There is much I could say to expound on this scripture, but I will allow the Holy Spirit to speak. Those bold portions are my reminders. Selah.

It would be wonderful to say that I never contend with my “frazzled” self, but it’s just not the truth. I have learned that as a type A personality I am prone to overextend myself. I have learned that when I am suffering from chronic stress it will manifest in my body. I have learned that I must be diligent to DO those things the LORD has revealed to me to do…come to Him, recover my life, learn the unforced rhythms of grace and keep company with him…in order to keep Ms. Frazzled from ruling.

Earlier I mentioned the book Frazzled Female, I haven’t read that book but two books that I would recommend are: Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent and Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. I have read several books by both authors and their practical wisdom for women has blessed me tremendously. Both authors encourage silence and solitude as spiritual practices just like prayer. I absolutely agree with them and have practiced both as a result of their wisdom. My ministry, Spirit Soak, is the fruit of my spiritual discipline to keep company with Jesus. Soaking is all about communing with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is about “being” with God and not “doing” religious activity.

Most recently, I have been compelled by the Spirit to observe the Sabbath. It is interesting the number of Christians who do not observe a time of rest. The Sabbath is a holy day that our Father consecrated as an appointment with Him. For several months the Lord commanded me to rest. It was imperative because I was again faced with a health challenge. I thank God for the victory but I earnestly believe my obedience to His command was instrumental in the outcome. The book Hebrews says that there remains a rest available for God’s people and we must be diligent to enter into it (Hebrews 4: 9-11). The truth is living a frazzled life is not God’s plan for us; His plan is Sabbath rest. A life of complete total dependence on His goodness and grace to lead, guide, protect and provide for us in every situation and circumstance.

Finally, my transition into a new career as a personal trainer and wellness consultant is also a result of my own revelation of living “frazzled”. We women spend our lives pouring into others and rarely discover that we too need to nourish our own souls. My commitment to encourage women to live lives of wellness is because I know how detrimental chronic stress can be. I know of what I speak.

Friend, we will all encounter our “frazzled” self, such is life. However, the best news is that we have a way of escape. We have someone who has invited us to learn His rhythms of grace, He will teach us. He wants us to keep company with Him and He has promised not to pressure us or put obligations on us that don’t fit who he created us to be. He is our Source of life and His name is Jesus. Leave “frazzled” and learn to live freely and lightly. Our journey continues.

 

Frazzled by: Andrea

Frazzled

I personally believe that in a Christian’s life, there should be authenticity. It is far more important to be honest with ourselves, God and those around us, than it is to make a good impression. In fact, if we make a good impression while the truth would be otherwise; it may be personally damaging and spiritually corrosive. Eventually, what happens is the facade becomes more important than the truth. The consequences accumulate their damage, until the day when we either fall under the weight of our own myth or we answer to the Lord for our lack of faith.
I often share my personal life, not due to being self-absorbed. It is simply I have learned there may be a more suitable way to grow in faith than to overlook my shortcomings. In sharing, there is the hope of others avoiding the snare of insincerity. If I avoid authenticity because of pride, it undermines the very reason for doing this blog and taking the time to confide how I’ve learned to minister the grace of God in my own life.
I am reminded of the biblical story of Mary sitting at the feet of the Lord, hanging on his every word as opposed to Martha, who was trying to feed them, comfort them and care for them as was expected of a good hostess.
(MSG) Luke 10:38-42:
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and it won’t be taken from her.”
Unfortunately for myself and those around me, I have always identified with Martha. Life tends to overwhelm me and when that happens it becomes about me. Clearly, Martha was doing what needed to be done and she had an expectation of her sister helping her. Think what would have happened if Martha had not focused on the kitchen and had been so in love with Jesus that she and Mary would have been at His feet. We may have had another loaves and fishes story in the bible? We will never know because Martha was probably frazzled! I am a ‘Martha’. For example the day I got the word for our blog I was getting ready for a prayer meeting, snapping at my husband because he was in the way and had the audacity to expect dinner…LOL.
It might sound harmless but in actuality being hurried, anxious and angry has done more damage to my marriage then any other personal failing. There is nothing Christ-like or spiritual about being ‘frazzled’. In fact, if I could find a one word antithesis for Galatians 5:22-24 it would be ‘frazzled’.
Gal 5:22 “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

Fortunately, this subject brought up a few heart warming conversations with my husband about how sorry I am for my temperament and how much I appreciate the fact that he does not respond ‘in kind’ but remains gentle, patient and steadfast. Sometimes he too experiences being ’frazzled’ but for the both of us, it fizzles out quickly. God is good and as long as I bring my shortcomings before Him, He is faithful to forgive me. Thankfully, my husband does too. I am a blessed woman even while imperfect and all too often ‘frazzled’.

So today as I lay out my shortcomings before you and my Lord, I have an expectation of healing and growth. Many years of walking in faith has demonstrated to me the shortest route to healing is through the path of truth…

God Bless, andrea

Frazzled By: Barbara

Which one of us has not been frazzled at one time or another? Can any of us honestly say they have not found themselves in this condition. I sure can’t. A number of the meanings of “frazzled” are: the state of being emotionally and physically exhausted, nervous fatigue, stressed, frayed at the edges. I’m almost humiliated to say I found myself in this state of mind many a time. The truth is being frazzled is a form of anxiety. The Lord tell us we are to be anxious for nothing. If Jesus tells us this and we know that Jesus in not a liar then we have to believe in faith that this is feasible. How do we get to this place where we do not become frazzled? Well I guess the best thing to do is tell you the circumstances that had me frazzled and then explain how the Lord dealt with me.
The first two testimonies coming under the meaning of “frayed at the edges,” nothing major but a nuisance. Years ago, I had a bit of road rage. Mind you, I never got out of the car screaming at anyone but I was incredibly fluent in the one finger sign language, and spewed out the vocabulary that went along with it. To answer the question you may have, yes I was a Christian at the time but as the saying goes “God was not finished with me yet.” I remember one particular summer night, I was on my way to a Bible study. On the seat of the passenger side of the car was my big black Bible. The windows of the car were wide opened and I was approaching a fork in the road. It was two lanes, drivers had the choice of either bearing to the right or going straight. The driver in front of me obviously could not comprehend which lane he needed, as a result, he was weaving in and out between lanes and he really had me frazzled. Bellowing at the top of my lungs, I screamed “would you make up your blank blank blank mind!” Instantaneously, I heard the booming laughter of a group of teenage boys in another car. To say conviction came upon me is an understatement and I came to the opinion that I was the biggest hypocrite that ever lived. I put my Bible on the floor as I would be utterly mortified should anyone see it. Sadly, I didn’t understand the concept of Grace* back then so I beat myself up needlessly.
Tailgaters were the most frazzling. I would put my windshield wipers on to spray water on the tailgaters windshield. Seeing the driver putting on their own wipers to remove the sprayed water made it a little less frazzling and oh the satisfaction that came with it. The Lord began to work on my heart about this and He convicted me in a loving way, whereas I felt no condemnation just a desire to change. The Lord provoked me to ask for His help and I did. Tailgaters are now a dilemma of the past. One of three things happen and it is almost immediate. The driver will either pass me, make a turn onto another street or last but not least, right before my eyes, I see them backing up at a safe distance. What is nothing short of a miracle is that this has been going on for two years now, each and every single time. All I say is “Lord, please get them off my tail.” I can’t help but wonder what is going on with the person that is backing up. Is the Lord telling them to back off or are they seeing fire or something coming from the car? When I say a safe distance, some of them back up about 2 and 3 car lengths if not more. One of these day I hope to be able to get out of the car and ask them why they backed up so far. I no longer get mad and I will ask the Lord to bless the driver. A relapse occurs now and then when a driver almost causes me to have a accident but I am no longer using sign language nor spewing out obscenities except possibly to call them an idiot but again I feel the nudge of the Lord and once again His perfect peace comes and I pray a blessing and a prayer of protection over them and of course thanking the Lord for His hedge of protection over me.
The next testimony comes under the meaning of ” being emotionally and physically exhausted.” My husband, Lou, lost a very good job through no fault of his own. The company was fighting the unemployment benefits even though it was his right to collect. The battle was going on for weeks and there was no way my income would see us through. There weren’t many times I was able to put into practice the words of the Lord, “be anxious for nothing” so many times my nerves were shot and I found myself imagining all kinds of horrors if the benefits did not come through. A lawyer was consulted and his fee was three to five thousand dollars and that was even if he did not win the case. Meanwhile, I had already planned a trip to South Carolina with one of my best friends. We were going to a Christian conference and Lou and I agreed I should still go. We would make up our minds about retaining the lawyer when I returned. The conference was amazing with anointed worship, great teaching as well as an awesome time in the Lord’s presence. During one session we were asked to just go up to people and pray for them. I met a man there and though we had brief conversations, he knew nothing about my circumstances and I did not tell him anything before he prayed. He began to pray over me but then he declared, “I will be your lawyer, I will plead your case.” He meant the Lord of course not himself. I knew without a doubt, I heard the voice of the Lord through this man and I was NOT to hire the lawyer and I was determined to stand on that word. Once I got home I told Lou about the word that was given to me. He was shaken but he also decided to stand on the word. You see, he was saved but I was saved quite a few years before him and he saw too many miracles in my life to discredit it. When my friend and I came back from that conference we came back different people and we never been the same since. I learned more and more about trusting God. This did not mean that everything would go my way but I trusted that my Daddy God knew best no matter what it looked like.
During the waiting period for the benefits and after the conference, the Lord began to show me that if I wanted to continue to grow in Him it was imperative that I spend time with him. I got up very early in the morning to do this and to be truthful I did not feel it was going well. In fact, I actually got mad at the Lord as it felt like a waste of time. I considered it a one way conversation with me doing all the talking but I persevered. Why was it like this? I have an though on that. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He wanted me to seek Him with all that I had, to make me hungry for him. To make me realize how much I wanted Him. After pursuing Him for some time and learning how to just listen, things began to change. I don’t remember how long it took but He showed up. Well actually He was always there but He finally revealed Himself to me. His presence filled the room, and I said, “Jesus you just walked in the room didn’t you? With His presence came the peace that passes all understanding. It is not like this all the time but after doing this for a few years now, I have to say it is more than not. The wait is not long, I just sit there with my cup of coffee to meet Him on my living room couch and I feel Him there. This is also when I spend time in His Word and He speaks to me through it. It is glorious. Just to be clear, spending time with Him does not mean countless hours on your knees. There will be times when we may need to pray like that but I always meet Him in the morning, in my PJ’s and as I already stated, a cup of coffee. I know some may find that offensive but keep in mind I am having real fellowship with Him!
So what you may ask does life look like without being frazzled? Well for one, even though the battle for Lou’s unemployment benefits went on for weeks afterwards, I did not have the anxiety anymore and I knew it would be ok. Lou did receive the benefits, and even when they ran out the Lord kept us and since then he found another job, not like the other one but the Lord continues to see us through. I also found I was no longer frazzled over other situations and one was most devastating. 2013 was a difficult year. I lost my mother, sister and an older friend in a 5 month span. Realistically it should have been a state of being emotionally and physically exhausted, frazzled to the extreme but I wasn’t. I know they are all with the Lord and that gives me a peace that passes all understanding. I got to be with my sister and witness her leave this life, into Glory and I will always be thankful for that. If I did not have the relationship I have with the Lord today, I’m not sure I would have gotten through it. Yes, I did mourn for a season but I’m ok, moreover I am at peace. I realize that everyone deals with the death of a loved one in different ways and that is normal just don’t go through it without the Lord. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) comforted me and He will do the same for you!
A lesser example. My daughter loves to travel. She takes a big vacation almost every year, out of the United States, in addition to a couple in the states. This consists of lots of flying. I found myself checking the flight landing status continually and became frazzled waiting for the time that the plane landed safely. When she was in another country, I was a total mess until she got home as I anticipated all the terrors that could befall her and her friends. Sleep was out of the question. “Lord PLEASE protect them” was my plea. I was begging. Oh my, it was pitiful. Presently, I do not get frazzled at all. I have peace whether she is in or out of the country. As far as checking the flight plans, I may look at it a couple times but for the most part I just tell her, “call me when you get there. I do pray Psalm 91, the prayer of protection, knowing that she is in the Lord’s hands. Oh and I no longer have a fear of flying.
Even my driving has improved. I was terrified of driving in the snow. Grant you, I still do not enjoy it and would rather not but I am not getting frazzled over it anymore and this winter certainly gave me a lot of experience.
I do not look at circumstances around me any longer as I know my God is faithful therefore I feel his peace. I’m also filled with the joy of the Lord and I am hardly ever in a bad mood. I can honestly say it takes a lot nowadays to get me frazzled. Do I have any areas where I still need victory? Yes! I have a difficult time being around people that are always negative. No matter what their circumstances, they can’t see the good. Yes I pray for them but I’m yearning to stop thinking about smacking them at the same time. Annoying people (thorns in my side) can at times get me frazzled. I have come a long way in this area. I keep in mind they are the Lord’s children too and for the most part I can ignore them instead of flipping out like I once did. Victory is coming so please pray for me.
In conclusion, I have learned, through trials and tribulations that having peace that passes all understanding is feasible. For me though it took developing that relationship with the Lord to get to this place and it is so worth the time. If we want a friendship we must spend time with that friend and it is the same with the Lord. Don’t worry about how much time. All our schedules are different but I suggest you just start out with 15 minutes a day if you can. I also like to add that some of the best conversations and experiences I had with the Lord were in my car on the way to work. He is always there you just need to make yourself available.
*Grace: If you do not understand the concept of Grace please see my article “Cocoons” on this blog.