You know those days. The days you keep trying to push through even though your body or your mind has had it. The days you’re upset with yourself because your brain won’t do what you want it to do. The days you’re upset with everyone else because they don’t understand what your going through. The days you’re upset with God because He won’t make life easy.
I had one of those today. A month of Emergency rotations followed by a busy week in Community Practice and then an 8 hour drive to a weekend long job interview left my body saying it had had enough. Probably I should have called in sick. It’s hard to decide whether its better to force yourself to function through the fatigue and the brain fog and spend the day constantly feeling like an idiot or beat yourself up all day feeling like you’ve let everyone down and have to make up the day later. And when you’re trying to make that decision your not in a great mental place to be making decisions. Plus I think when you’ve been sick for years you get so used to doing things in spite of your illness that you don’t realize how bad you are actually feeling.
Anyway I chose to show up and do my best. My best wasn’t very good. Thinking through cases took longer than usual. My answers to questions were muddled. Interacting with people took more energy than usual and I had less of it. Instead of improving throughout the rotation I was told I was backtracking.
My feelings of discouragement and failure made my depression spiral downward. What was I thinking? I can’t be a vet. I can’t even express anal glands.
Those are the times I have to remember that it doesn’t matter what I can do. What God can do is all that matters. And He can do anything.
There is no way I could make it through vet school on my own strength. The battle against spirochetes on top of the vet school battle of intense days, tsunami of new information, long nights and weekends on-call, and mountains of paperwork should have burnt me out months ago. The only explanation I have for how it hasn’t is that God is carrying me through because He has a plan.
I found this treasure in Job today:
“Behold, I go forward, but He is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive Him;
on the left hand when He is working, I do not behold Him;
He turns to the right hand, but I do not see Him.
But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.
But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back?
What He desires, that He does.
For He will complete what He appoints for me,
and many such things are in His mind.” – Job 23:8 -14
So often its hard when life is tough to feel God. It feels like He has left. It feels like we have been left to figure things out on our own. But Job says God is still working when it feels like He is not. We are safe in His hand the entire time. And if we persevere we will come out stronger and more able to be used by Him to help others. And then Job finishes by saying that nothing can get in the way of what God has planned for us. Which is scary in one sense, but comforting in another. Scary because God often plans hard things for us, so that we can grow and to keep nudging us back to Him. Comforting because the plans God has for us, the things like jobs and relationships, we can’t mess up. It’ll never happen that God will be like “Well, this is where I wanted you, but boy did you mess it up when you had that bad day in clinics and couldn’t do anything right.
Keep pressing on, friend. And if you need a day off take it if you can. Pushing through is not always the best decision.