Pushing At the Boundaries

It's been a rough, exhausted, frustrating week, though vey slightly liberating. I intensionally tested my physical limits, and found out how much I can do on pretend energy when I'm already exhausted, if necessary, and how much I shouldn't do unless there really is necessity. Pretend energy is just the stubborn will to ignore my body's depleted state, something I can only ignore at times if I don't relax.

I've spent a long time trying to understand my limitations with chronic fatigue syndrome. When I came home from college, I couldn't work (or not much). I had no real responsibilities and no one who needed me, no one depending on me for anything. I felt useless. It was hard to remember what God told me when I first started feeling that way: that I was still valuable to Him. I had so much difficulty figuring out what my real limitations are, because they shift and go back and often appear to be what they are not.

I've grown a lot since getting married. For the first time since graduating, I've had someone who depends on me for something. I am a housewife (and an unpublished writer) and I love it. I have failed many many times and not only from being fatigued, but also from having to learn how to live a wholly different life from what I had during the limbo that CFS had banished to post-college. For anyone, getting married is a huge shift, unless you are already living together. However, I don't think there's a way to adequately explain the difference for me without expending many hours, words, and personal details - which I'd rather not share with the entire world. Relationally, getting married only shifted things for the better, the deeper, and the sweeter. In every other way, it also shifted things for the better, but better was challenging. During the first few months, even though I loved my new life, I cried in mental and physical exhaustion more than once over dinner and cleaning. Ethan has been incredible, always taking over things and not letting me exert myself when it would be too much for me, always pouring grace on me and serving me, always considering everything - supporting us, the cleaning, the cooking - his responsibilities that I just happen to help him with, and never expecting me to do more than be there when he comes home.

I've struggled and found my footing. Routine is highly underrated. Routine is a significant part of what makes life so manageable for me now. The less I have to think about the minutiae of everyday life, the less energy I expend, and the more I can do.

Ethan said, a couple of days ago when I wrecked myself testing my limits further than ever, that I've spent the last several months figuring out my boundaries and then pushing them, expanding them, making them broader. He said that that takes determination and courage and that he's proud of me. I may still be more physically limited than normal people, but I've got the sweetest man ever cheering me on and making life easier. That makes all the difference in the world.

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