Fear & Dread

On the Monday morning 1 week after I returned to Jakarta from my vacation, I awoke feeling nothing but fear and dread.  I had spent the day before, Sunday, doing a little shopping, and watching movies all day, as well as trying to get myself mentally ready for the 4 classes I would have to teach on Monday.  That didn’t work; I wasn’t at all ready.

This wasn’t the first time that I had taught 4 classes in 1 day, so I was surprised and puzzled by my feelings.  After I thought about it for a while, I realised that I felt that way because I was tired and anxious.

The day I had returned to Jakarta, I had moved into a new room that was vacated by someone who moved to a different centre that day.  I moved because that room is a single room and there is absolutely no way that it can be shared.  This eliminated the prospect of me having to share with unknown people at some future point.  Big check mark.  Along with this move came my using a different bathroom that is not roach infested (different part of the house). HUGE check mark.  Also, there are fewer mosquitoes in that part of the house so no getting bitten while I’m sleeping.  Another big check mark.  Seriously, when I moved I thought I had landed in a relative paradise.  But 1 week later I was extremely cranky and I couldn’t understand it.

It came down to a terrible mattress.  I was sleeping on a positively awful one.  At first glance, I didn’t think this mattress would be worse than the bad 1 on which I had spent a few weeks in Aceh while my ceiling was being repaired, but it totally was.  The thing was so sunken in the middle that there was no way to sleep comfortably on it and I’m still puzzled as to how the girl before me did it for months.  I tried putting another mattress under it – didn’t work.  I tried turning it over – didn’t work.  I tried putting a pillow under my back for support – didn’t work.  Nothing I tried for 1 week worked.  Every night I went to bed and slept for 6 or 7 hours, which should have been adequate, but my sleep wasn’t at all restful because I just couldn’t get comfortable.

On top of that, I was again carrying anxiety about my future, and being tired wasn’t helping me keep calm.  I have 3 or 4 months left in Indonesia and at this point I have no idea what my next step will be.  I feel like I’m back to the same square 1 I was at last year, with no job and no safety net (married women may not understand because they have their husbands as their safety nets at times like these – well, in theory, anyway).  As a 40 year old single woman who has had a job since I left university at 21 years old, this can be an anxiety-inducing situation.

So that Monday morning, I awoke and knew that I couldn’t continue that way.  I was having such negative thoughts – I was muttering in my mind about everything, just complaining and whining about my current situation and my uncertain future, and this is really unlike me.  These thoughts ended up manifesting as fear and dread, because I just didn’t feel up to tackling classes (or life) that day.

Funny how poor sleep and tiredness can affect my whole outlook and attitude.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I should have remembered what happened to Elijah when Jezebel threatened him; he was overcome by fear and dread.  This powerful prophet of God who had just seen the power of God manifest, who had, in fact, been a part of that display of God’s power, fled from 1 woman and prayed for death.  Why?  Tiredness.  He was exhausted and because of that, his mental attitude took a turn for the worse.  Some good sleep and rest plus rest a couple of good meals set him right again.

So that Monday morning, I tried to figure out what I could do to alleviate my crankiness and misery.  First, I prayed about it because that’s what I try to do with everything in my life.  Then I figured out a new solution to the mattress situation – I switched it for another 1 of the same size from another room.  And finally, after drinking the equivalent of 3 small cups of cappuccino from 7-Eleven so I would make it through the day without falling asleep or needing a nap, I started being proactive about what I should be doing once I get done here, instead of just worrying about it.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I felt much better.  The mattress change had worked and I had gotten a reasonably restful night’s sleep.  Plus, I felt good about the decisions I had made about what to do on the work front.  Thank God, fear and dread had left me.  All because of a good night’s sleep.

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