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In the midst of striving without direction, Lara Patangan seeks rest from her self-imposed efforts to get God's attention.

I woke up late. Stumbling to get my coffee, I hit my shin on the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinet that was carelessly left open. Seconds later, my middle finger slammed in the freezer door while I was trying to get milk from the refrigerator (trust me, I know that makes no sense). Then, I jammed the mascara wand in my eye and all the inky goo, which moments before sat like wet paint on my lashes, smeared my skin in a splatter of black reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting.

All of this happened before 8 AM leaving me bruised, late, and with a fresh pile of black Q-tips in the trash from the mascara massacre. And I was mad. Can’t anyone see how hard I am trying, I thought. I am not sure who I thought needed to see. Everyone in my house heard me when I slammed my finger. I don’t think they needed to see me to know I was angsty and adrift.

Even I couldn’t say definitively what I was trying so hard at or for. I just knew that life felt particularly hard. Small things. Insignificant tasks. To-do lists of my own tyranny. All of it made me think of God. Did He see me? Was any of it His will for my life? Did He command me to color my light lashes dark with a surgeon’s precision and a two-inch wand?



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It is me trying to make a difference in the world that sometimes becomes a distraction and a disservice to my relationship with God. #catholicmom


My knee-jerk reaction was to do something drastic, like move into the woods to hide from the world and all its raucous want from me. But I don’t even know where there are woods anymore. Instead, I considered evacuating to an abandoned strip mall. There are more of them, and fewer bugs too. Yet it really isn’t the world that wants from me. The world is more indifferent than it is demanding.

I am the demon of my own disaster, the one who is trying so hard to make the moments count with my kids. The one who is scheduling and schlepping with the good intentions of bettering my family, myself, and those I encounter. The one who stretches and pushes and bends to be the kind of person I want to be. It isn’t the world. It is me trying to make a difference in the world that sometimes becomes more of a distraction and a disservice to my relationship with God than the delineator of His love that I long to be.

It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil—all this God gives to his beloved in sleep. (Psalm 127:2).

Sleep sounds really good to me—not so much the kind I planned to do under the shelter of the abandoned strip mall. Sleep from striving. Sleep from scheduling. Sleep from the self-imposed spin of bettering. Sleep in his loving, divine arms so I can begin again. This time, letting God lead.




The human heart plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

I don’t know where He will lead – maybe into the quiet of the forsaken woods, or right back to where I began, only a little slower and a little softer than before.

Wishing you the peace of Christ’s sleep, my friend.

Copyright 2022 Lara Patangan
Images: Canva