Coming to the End of Me

Coming to the End of Me

Coming to the end of me has been a long, beautiful, terrible, difficult journey. Overseas life continues to bring me to this place of surrender, laying down the me I thought I was and allowing Jesus a chance to mold a new creation.

I wrote a post called “The End of Me” for Velvet Ashes. The moment I wrote about was during our last few months of living in France and just before our move to West Africa.

You can tell by the rawness of it that is has been a very real journey from the beginning. The process of coming to the end of me is one that I’m still walking.

I’ve rewritten this post to share here with you.

I’ll just say it at the beginning. I like knowing what’s coming for the day. I like managing and leading and directing. Multi-tasking is my favorite so those roles often fit my gifts. If you need someone to organize the grand picture of a project and manage how to get it all done? I’m your girl.

I love working with people, finding strengths, building a team, and finishing tasks quickly and efficiently. Thriving with lots to do while holding a big checked off list of accomplished things in a short amount of time. Smiling while digging into a large task that needs fixed, sorted and organized, knowing that the next day is prepped for more great things.

My heart is happy with a calendar, taking care of schedules, and planning events. Directing the details of our lives contributes to my peace of mind. I do love a good office with plenty of space to work.

I also like knowing how to do things. I feel most confident when I understand what is happening around me, can ask good questions, put everything in order and start a task.

Now, needing someone to take care of the itty bitty details? That’s not me.

Someone who can spend great amounts of time on one task, being okay with getting very little done in a day or digging through lots of red tape is also not me. The idea of starting a project and knowing it will take weeks to finish… SO not me. Realizing that nothing is understood or easy or at all in order is not a great way for me to live.

Those things frustrate me and cause untold stress because there is no check list to be checked, no list to throw away at the end of a work day and no way to predict the outcomes.

Unfortunately, overseas life tends to be those kinds of days. Days of unending tiny little details that never get resolved.

Overseas life can be cumbersome, one task a day and you might not even finish that one task.

It’s details that don’t make sense and paperwork and waiting and slow, slow, slow.

So, does that mean overseas living in West Africa is not for me?

My natural self screams, “This is not for you. This is SO NOT you!”

Satan whispers, “You did nothing today. You can’t accomplish anything here. You won’t ever have a finished list. You won’t thrive going so slow.”

My deepest thoughts about living overseas came boiling out one day before we left language school while on a run with my husband. These thoughts had been churning inside of me.

They were bright, flaring warning lights that let me know I was headed for trouble and about ready to slam into the end of me.

Partly because France was a baby step into where we were headed. Africa was looming bigger and harder before me.

Coming to the End of Me

In France, I was already experiencing some culture shock and transition. I didn’t have my minivan to quickly zip in and out, finishing errands and organize my day by where I had to go and what needed done. Everything was in another language. I talked like a two year old and felt frustrated at each turn. Life was hard on this list making, organizing, get-it-done girl.

But it was the upcoming move from language school to West Africa that had me frozen in doubt and seeing a huge wall in my path. I knew that what annoyed, frustrated and stressed me in France was going to double, triple… it was going to change my life and my way of doing life.

My control was gone.

The wall called “loss of control” scared me to death.

We were on a run before leaving France when I broke. Completely broke. The warning lights were blaring through my mind telling me a crash with the wall was coming. The thoughts of transition and change and failure all marched across my brain in quick succession.

Who am I without my lists and my freedom and my ability to DO something, to organize my day? How do you help your family, organize a schedule, and get things done when the days are so out of control?

I tripped on the sidewalk, bent over my knees, and tears flooded my eyes. I looked up at Jeremy, “I’m at the end of me. I’m at the end of what I can do. I don’t know how to do things in Africa. I don’t know how to cook or shop or drive or do laundry there. I’m at the end of me and I don’t know how to handle this feeling of complete incompetence. I feel lost and I don’t know how to do this.”

My sweet, perfectly made for me husband put his hand on my back and said, “We’ll learn.”

I cried harder, “I don’t know how to learn it there.”

That moment will forever be imprinted on my heart.

Coming to the end of me

Now that I’m here, in West Africa, life is pretty much as I figured it would be.

I really don’t know how to do anything here. I certainly can’t control much. Everything is truly out of my control. I can’t make sure a business will be open when I need to go there. I can’t make sure the workers will be at our rental house getting the things done and fixing things that are broken. I can’t force the power to stay on or water to enter our reserve tank.

I can’t even make a to do list because I don’t know what the conditions will be when I open my eyes in the morning. Planning ahead is some vague “maybe” because there are so many variables in a single day.

{all the enneagram 6s sigh with me}

I’m at the end of me. The wall has been hit. The crash happened.

Coming to the End of Me

What is the beauty of that?

Daily meeting Jesus face to face and needing him every single hour of the day.

The joy of seeing Him sweep in and meet a need without me having to organize any bit of it.

I’ve come a long way since I wrote that post and fell on that sidewalk. We’ve learned incredible lessons and grown in ways we never dreamed since we first arrived in Africa. We’re striving for health, personal growth, leadership and deep relationship with Jesus.

Our goals and hopes for each day are simple and small. We let Jesus direct the details and trust that he is working in all the things we can’t control. We laugh and find joy and walk the dusty paths.

I’m always learning to lay me down, to offer another layer of my gifts at His feet knowing He has promised to make something beautiful out of this season.

Have you been there?

That moment of complete loss of control, that place of realizing your gifts don’t really fit the task? Are there warning lights going off in your brain letting you know a crash of wills is coming, that the wall called “loss of control” is ahead of you?

I want to challenge you to hit the wall.

Tell God all about it. Let Him carry the doubt, pain and stress for you.

I want to challenge you to let Him orchestrate your days in the beautiful way that only He can do. Meet Him face to face, let Him sweep in and carry you through.

Resource: The End of Me by Kyle Idleman

One Comment

  1. I can relate! I wish all newer missionaries coming to the field would learn this before they arrive. I believe it would save a lot of heartache and hardship. Thank you for sharing.

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