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  • Samantha Patschke

The Dark Night of my Soul – April 8th, 2023

Like a new moon, it is dark, but you know He is out there. Is he waiting for me to get over my pride? Is it the chase of things of this world that has me tired and blinded? Do I not spend enough time with Him? Although spiritual dryness leaves me unmotivated and lonely, I know the promise of a breakthrough only comes as I continue to walk. I love to write. It helps me clear my mind and organize my thoughts. It helps me connect and understand others. It strengthens my faith and pushes out doubt and fear. I have not written in a while because I had nothing to say. Like a person who lost their voice, I wanted to share but the weight of the vulnerability silenced me. I need to write. Not for you, but for me. God has been outside my door; knocking softly; waiting patiently. He has always been there.

Let’s talk about it.

The pressure of responsibility of a home. I am a single mother. I raise my two boys on my own. I work three jobs to pay the bills. I am working towards my masters. I have friends and family that need me. I have a ministry that is growing. I have values and beliefs that add to the sense of responsibility that I carry around. I have a home to clean. Meals to prepare. Lunches to make. I wish I could go to church more. I want to exercise. A never-ending to-do list. Something about listing to this list makes me feel ashamed. There is nothing to complain about. What else would I like to be doing? What else would make sense? The only aspect of my life that is shameful is that I feel a need to complain about it. I am blessed. I am blessed to have my kids all to myself. I can raise my boys without interruption. I live in a stable home. I don’t worry about my next meal. I am invested in the time it takes to uphold my beliefs and values. I love my friends and family. They are most definitely worth the time. My masters is the next step on my journey to my professional goals. I am soothed by a clean house. I enjoy watching people appreciate my meals and school lunches are my specialty. So where is the pressure coming from? Complaints. When I allow time to be invested in this unnecessary waste of a behavior, I poison my own heart.

The stress that drains me at work. I want to do things right. I want the kids in my classroom to feel heard, loved, and safe. I want them to have fun and enjoy coming to school. I want them to learn, grow and evolve. With these expectations I have put on myself, the stress drains me. My intentions are pure, and my effort is undeniable, but what makes that determination turn into stress? Expectations. My hope and wait must be in Him. My soul waits in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. (Psalm 62:5) There is nothing to expect because I am not driving this ship. Everyday that I share with my students and my co-workers I learn so much more about who God is and who I am. I miss these lessons as I drown in expectations.

The lack of grace I give myself in accepting my human flaws. I am fully human, not one hair of god on me. I do not know why I demand 100% efficiency, 100% productivity, 100% accuracy. I just can’t do it. I think I need to start aiming for 70%. Not even as a minimum but as a goal. Reminding myself that anything over is just as bad as under. As my effort inches toward 100%, I need to remember that there is always things being left on the side lines while I fight for the impossible 100%. I have always tried too hard. I never forgive myself. I understand grace for everyone except when it pertains to my own person. Why isn’t 70% enough? Grace. Walking down the middle of the road gives you the time to move out of the way. It gives you the opportunity to eb and weave as life throws you curve balls. It makes you adaptable and flexible.

The struggle to find peace in the lack of control. I like to understand what is up next. My mind works that way, and it is part of my nature. I serve others better. I am an improved mother. I am a competent teacher and friend. But at what point does the control I want, control me? There is a delicate line between being in control of yourself and being in control of others and your surroundings. I can’t control you. I can’t change the weather. I can’t make a choice for a neighbor. I can’t take a test for a student. I can’t say no in your life. I can’t even fully understand who you are. How do I keep the control I enjoy in check? Pray. An open and honest relationship with God, a conversational dialogue that guides, helps me stay in control in all the right ways. It also aids in letting go and letting God take over in those areas that I cannot control.

This week I am going to complain less, fight the urge to create expectations, give myself a little extra grace and pray. I let you know how it goes.

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