I feel like sitting down to write this I need to practice deep breathing first. I got to be honest, life has been very overwhelming. I wish I could say ‘lately,’ but it’s been a string of significant event after the other the past few years for my family; new job, rough pregnancy, third baby, two moves and the passing of my grandmother. But honestly, just my life alone is why I need to deep breathe… I have three kids five and under. Three boys! I homeschool, I’m a stay at home mom and I just flat out have a lot of responsibilities.
I’m overwhelmed to say the least. Actually, overwhelmed has entered my vocabulary way too many times lately. My husband comes home from work and it’s usually how I define my day; overwhelming. Or before he leaves for work, I’m begging him lately not to go; “but I’m so overwhelmed!”
I’ll be real with you all… I’m overwhelmed to the point causing daily high anxiety.
“Oh Taryn, you’re a mom of three! Of course, that is stressful, anxiety is totally normal in motherhood, these are just the little year’s it’ll get better.”
I usually get some form or phrase like that when I express/share my anxiety to others. That it’s quote on quote “normal.”
Or the question I get asked most when I mention I have three kids and homeschool, “I don’t know how you do it!?” In which I regularly respond, “I pray.” That’s seriously my answer! I pray often for wisdom, patience and grace.
I had a chance to have some quiet time last week (shocking but it does happen) in which I pulled out my bible and began reading John 5:1-15 (read full story here). Here is summarized, verse 3-9 – “Jesus went to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews… Here a great number of disabled people use to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him laying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’… Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
I always like to picture myself in the story. Imagine being paralyzed for thirty-eight years!? Your situation would become normalized, all you know, routine and just fact. After that many years (if not his whole life?), I think you’d become just accustomed to your way of life and how you cope with your difficulties and challenges.
You’ve got your regular mat to lay on, your blind and lame buddies beside you at the pool. Life is “normal” until Jesus walks into the party… (I like to picture a crowd around him, the ‘cool guy’ walks in, heads turn “Who’s that guy?” is asked). But he walks up to the man by the pool after learning his situation…
He asks, “Do you want to get well?”
When I think anyone outside of this situation puts them self in the story, if they were paralyzed, I feel like anyone’s answer would be “YES!” Why wouldn’t you want to get well? Who would want to be paralyzed? It seems like a no-brainer question and answer!
But I also put myself into the story, realizing this man after thirty-eight years is probably comfortable. Comfortable in his situation, comfortable in his spot on the mat by his friends. Jesus is offering full restoration and CHANGE of life.
But he asks, “Do you want to get well?”
I believe he continues to ask that question for you and me today.
What is it that you carry? What is it that paralyzes you? What is your mat that you are laying on? What have you just become comfortable in life as the stuff you just deal with daily? What is it in your life that you have just become accustomed to as “normal?”
“Do you want to get well?”
“Then pick up you mat and walk.”
I picture that paralyzed man hesitating. Laying there, maybe looking back and forth between his friends by the pool. Uncertain, afraid, and taking a deep breath before he stood.
“Then pick up your mat and walk.”
It seems so simple. Too simple… because it is. Jesus simply says to get up and follow him.
Now in verse 12-13: “So they (Jews) asked him, ‘Who is the fellow that told you to pick it up and walk?’ The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.”
Wait, hold on. This paralyzed man for thirty-eight years sitting by a pool with his friends, comfortable in his situation, had a random (to him) guy approach him and tell him to get up and he just did it and was healed?
This is a game changer. See for me, I’ve been following Jesus since I was 13 years old. If Jesus showed up at a party, I’d like to think I’d recognize him. If he said, get up…I’d like to think I wouldn’t hesitate.
The thing is, you don’t need to know Jesus to pick up your mat and start following him.
He simply says to just pick it up and walk.
I sit here today, having been following Jesus, walking the walk with him and I read the words, “Do you want to get well.”
Does this not apply to me today? To the things I carry; to my anxiety and feeling of overwhelmingness that I lay in daily?
I’ve been laying on my mat for far too long and it’s time for me to GET UP!
Anxiety has become too comfortable and too normalized in my life. I’m done carrying it. It shouldn’t be ‘normal’ to struggle the way I do and just be told to “wait till they get older, so it’ll be easier”.
I believe Jesus calls us to get up NOW. To start enjoying freedom, healing, restoration, TODAY.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been laying in your struggles. I mean that man was paralyzed for thirty-eight years. Jesus continues to ask you today, the offer extended…
“Do you want to get well?”
“Then pick up your mat and walk.”
Take some time, deep breathe, pray and ask yourself where you could get well in life? I pray you find freedom.
Feel free to read this prayer as you start to examine the parts of your life that you need to ‘get up’ from. Whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, etc.:
“Jesus, thank you that you offer me to get well. Thank you that I don’t have to carry this burden alone. Help me to see the things I’ve become comfortable with, become uncomfortable and give me the wisdom to understand and accept that I don’t have to lay on this mat anymore. I pray today that you would help me stand, help me to let go of the things I’ve been carrying. Would you teach me how to let it go, to embrace change, embrace all that you have for me in this life and to get up. Teach me how to follow you and walk, in Jesus name, Amen.”
*If this is the first time you’ve prayed, or would like to know more about faith or what it means to follow Jesus, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via any platform or via email for those who don’t know how to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org