Apparently, crying in the shower is a common way our bodies tell us that our lives feel overwhelming. I’m not usually a cry-in-the-shower girl. In fact I can only think of twice in my entire life when I’ve done that: 1) When I had to wake up at 4 a.m. for my first job in a bakery as a 16 year old, and 2) After Russell was born and I experienced “baby blues” to be a real phenomenon of out-of-whack hormones. On both of these occasions, I cried out of the overwhelming feelings of new responsibility coupled with a very real fear of inadequacy.
In those vulnerable moments, crazy and extreme ideas can run through your head, like, “Who am I?” or “Surely I am not enough for this task?” or “Of course they will stop accepting me once they really know me.” In looking back over past experiences that overwhelmed me, I see them as gifts in life. If we never do anything beyond ourselves, never do anything that scares the pants off of us, never do anything that feels gut churning , then how will we ever grow? How will we learn what it feels like for God to work through us?
When I read stories about Moses, David, Esther, Ruth and other great heroes of the faith, I wonder if they ever cried in the shower (or the ancient middle-east equivalent)? Like us, they sometimes faced the challenging combination of new responsibility and fear of inadequacy. It’s ironic that we tend to refer to those characters in Scripture as “heroes” of the faith because they really aren’t heroes at all. They are just ordinary people with apprehensions, reservations, complaints and resistance. The real hero in their stories is God. For example, in Moses’ story, God is the one who shows up and leads Israel out of slavery even though Moses is too scared to speak to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go.”
I don’t know whether Moses cried in the shower, but I am grateful that he and others did not turn away when faced with challenges way beyond their ability or confidence.
And I hope you and I will soon have that sacred combination of new responsibility & the fear of inadequacy in our lives somewhere-because right there is where we become dependent on God, not in an intellectual way, but in an actual way. My prayer for you when you do find yourself in that overwhelming position is that you won’t settle for comfort or convenience, but that you’ll remain and allow God to be courage, power and strength in you and through you.