It was colder than the arctic when I stepped out for an evening walk. I needed space to breathe. Life was anything but balanced; I felt disrupted and tired. Layered in clothes, I resembled an irritated woolly mammoth roaming the frozen tundra trying to figure out which way is north.
I don’t do well with ambiguity and was hoping a walk would provide clarity.
Order and Clarity? . . . Ha!
Just to be clear, balance has never been simple for me. I’m captivated by those who . . .
- Keep orderly calendars
- Have nine children
- Wash the sheets weekly
- Change the oil on time
- Never lose socks in the dryer
Finding my keys without turning the house upside down is a huge win. So when I’m unsettled internally, I try desperately to figure it out and fix it.
Attention deficit disorder and I have a close relationship, and my family is aware of this challenge. I struggle with being orderly and having clarity. They also know when I’ve crested and fallen way past the tipping point because they talk quieter, vacuum, and clean the kitchen.
My daughter called a few minutes into the walk. I didn’t want to talk about being irritable, so I tried to keep the conversation about her. The problem is she’s so intuitive, and I’m terrible at hiding my feelings. She’s onto it every time.
After about 40 seconds of chitchat, she asked what was bugging me. I glossed over it by saying I was fine but tired. She didn’t buy it: “Mom, this is not your ‘fine’ voice. You need to talk.
You know what Bubba always says . . . ‘thoughts disentangle themselves through the lips and the fingertips’ . . . so get it out.”
When the kids pull the “Bubba [my dad] says” card, I can’t argue. Tears of frustration warmed my cheeks as scattered thoughts spilled out like disconnected puzzle pieces. She listened quietly and thoughtfully for a long time.
She then mentioned something my dad would be oh so proud of because it’s related to the Marine Corps. She said, “Mom, welcome to the suck; it’s part of life.”
“The suck? What the heck is that?” She explained that the saying surfaced in the Marine Corps sometime during the Vietnam War. Marines in horribly difficult or dreadfully complicated situations would say, “Welcome to the suck.”
Naming it helped them endure, and acknowledging circumstances they hated reminded them this bad situation wouldn’t last forever but just for a time.
“Mom, for whatever reason, you’re in the suck, and the Lord has you there. You’re going to have to wait it out with Him. It won’t last forever.”
I hated that answer because I’m terrible at sitting still and waiting for His perfect timing to unfold. But the truth is, we can’t know all He is doing—the people and pieces He’s bringing together at just the right time for His will to be accomplished.
While we wait, He also works in us. It’s a win-win if we’re willing to sit in the suck for a while and worship instead of getting knotted up with worry.
Our tendency is to focus on our discomfort, try and control life’s timing, and offer the Lord a little help by trying to fix what we think is broken.
Some of us are called to sit in the suck for a long, long time; it’s part of a bigger story that only God can unfold at the appointed time. Putting our hands and hearts into God’s work makes a massive mess, so it’s best to sit in the suck trusting it won’t be forever.
Dealing with the Suck
I’m learning what it means to sit in the suck. Maybe you are sitting in it too; maybe someone you know is. Maybe you’re waiting:
- For the doctor to call with your test results
- For your adult child who has given up all faith in God to come back around
- For the pain to subside
- For your child with disabilities to fit in SOMEWHERE and be loved
- For your boss to lighten up and listen
- For money to come in so you can feed your family
- For grief to lighten its harsh grip
- For some word of hope that things will be okay
What is your suck? How are you dealing with it? I’m learning to deal with it, though some days are better than others. Here are three things I’ve come to learn. I hope they encourage you.
- Be silent. Silence is an active practice. Spending time in silence can reveal areas God may be calling us to change. It shuts out the noise of life so we can focus on reading His Word and hearing His voice.
- Be still. If that is uncomfortable, ask God why. Stillness forces us to examine our schedules, alter our priorities, heal areas of hurt, and be fully present.
- Be sincere. It’s okay to wrestle with God as a Christian. He loves for us to run to Him and be thoroughly truthful. An authentic soul has nothing to hide, nothing to gain, nothing to do but trust that He is at work. Because we can’t hurry God, learn to commune with Him honestly and sincerely.
Let Me Hear from You
We wait through hard stuff better when we have companionship.
I would love to hear what you’re going through . . . what do you hate, what do you feel, what do you need?
Let’s talk about that this week.
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