what to do when you feel down, overwhelmed, and kinda undone

When Aimee got up to the drive through window, she flicked her dark hair back, leaned out of her minivan and hollered kind to the girl behind the glass: “And can I go ahead and pay for the car behind me?”

Then she turned to me and said, this knowing, bright glint in her eye: “You know, it goes this way every time: When you give it forward — you get paid back the most.”

When David, just the other day, found Russell curled up on the floor, sobbing behind a ticket counter at the Reno-Tahoe international Airport, David kneeled down, reached straight through Russell’s autism, gently touched him on the shoulder and assured him that he’d try to reroute him, so that Russel could make his destination.

And then? David returned to rocking Russell— with the pilot of the possible reroute flight. So the pilot could assure Russell they would rearrange seating so that Russel’s autism had space to breathe, that the crew would safely passage him, that he need not be afraid.

Turns out that: When we remember that every single one of us is a member of the same team called humanity, we support all our hurting members and stop the dismembering of society.

Turns out: You show up and show the grace that you’re made of.

You get to stand apart from an overheated world when you’re understanding.

You give a rip — by giving a bit of your heart.

And then there was Kristina, who found herself a single mom, flat broke, sleeping on the floor of her kid’s room and filling her fridge with food stamps groceries. When you don’t know if you’re good for the rent, it’s easy to get thinking life isn’t good.

When you’re obsessed with your own despair — it’s easy to get depressed with your own life.

“When I kind of got obsessed with my misery — the only thing I could think of was: volunteer. Because that will make me think of other people.”

Sometimes the only way to get out of your skin — is to get into someone else’s story.

Sometimes helping other people — helps our own wounds.

Sometimes the way out of your misery — is to help someone else out of theirs.

It’s strange how that works: Volunteering can be a way of finding joy voluntarily.

The secrets of the world work in upside-down, unlikely ways because the Maker of this world is unlike anything we’ve ever known.

And then the Maker also has this wildly warped and holy sense of humour that you have to believe in: Every single volunteer place up and rejected Kristina’s free will offering of herself because no place wanted her hauling her posse of kids in with her too.

You know what your mama used to say when she was bundling your bruised ego up close —- Don’t we all know it: there’s no dejection like rejection.

When no one wants you, it can be hard to want to be you.

And laying there one night in bed, curled up and tears unfurling soundlessly down her cheeks, Kristina talked to herself — because the only person we ever have to talk to more than we listen to is ourselves. We always need to talk to ourselves more than we listen to ourselves, because our soul needs a truth-coach, or it will be a lie-factory.

“Even when I feel like a complete loser, is there something little, something tiny, that I am still good at?”

Even when we feel like we’ve lost everything — we always still have something to give — and this always gives us back joy.

And Kristina sat up in bed: “I know how to cook a great meal — on very little money.”

And this was the idea that Kristina cooked up: Emails to all the friends. With the announcement: “Every Wednesday night? I’m feeding people.” Widows. The elderly. Singles. The lonely.

Sometimes it isn’t important who’s in need — as much as we need to see them as important enough.

Don’t focus on what you can’t give — focus on who you could give to — and you will find something to give.

Kristina traipsed down to the Dollar Store. Used food stamps for anything that is on sale. No recipe in hand. Just with the vision: Make the greatest feast with the least amount of money.

Sometimes the least in hand — can make the greatest happiness in the heart. Because: Having much in hand doesn’t make much, like having much in heart.

When it looks like you naturally have nothing to give — you get to look to God and give the supernatural.

But then Kristina found the lie-snakes slithering into her cerebellum because if you don’t barricade the thought door shut on the lie-snakes, they will wile into your mind, wrap around membranes and hiss lies out like they are an assembly line of toxicity.

“Why would anyone show up your place? Why would you friends bring anyone to you?” When you’re depressed, you can feel like you have nothing to bring to the table but a mess?

But the truth is: Being broke or feeling broken doesn’t disqualify you from being a world-changer. It’s the broken who bust through indifference to empathy because they know the pain of brokenness, it’s the broken who bust through roadblocks to hope because they know what it’s like to be stuck, it’s the broken who bust through the impossible to make change possible because they know anything really is possible because they are still standing!

Wednesday at 6 pm?

“Complete strangers. Walking into my apartment. And letting me feed them. By the end of the night? I had fed a ton of strangers in my tiny little apartment, with my tiny little budget, with my tiny little kids.”

When you give when you don’t have a lot — God gives you a lot more of Himself.

When you give because you’ve claimed a stake in your Father’s abundant world, you get an abundant world of joy. When your giving and living debunks the myth of scarcity, you get the joy of intimacy — with God.

“I will never forget closing the door after the last person left — and just sobbing. But for the first time in a long time — I wasn’t sobbing tears of misery and desperation. I was crying like a broken, little girl who just experienced her first glimmer of hope and healing.”

It’s the broken who let themselves become healers who get to heal.

It’s the Givers and Gifters who get to recover from the hard knocks and hard roads, it’s the Givers and Gifters who get to take back their joy, it’s the Gifters and Givers who get to overcome whatever overwhelms, because Love gives and that’s how love wins, and our God is the Giver who loved the world so much that He gave.

Be a David, an Aimee, a Kristina, a Broken Healer, a Giver, a Gifter —

Be the bread so broken and given — that a hungry world yearns for more of the taste of such glory.



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