This month has torn through here like a whirlwind. A lot of it has been awesome. Heshan and I got to vacation in the Hudson River Valley with Steph and her husband, my younger brother landed on my couch for 4 days to celebrate his 30th birthday, and in general this summer is carrying with it a lot of the fun things that summer usually should. But it’s also been busy. Even when we’re just going through the daily motions of it all, Heshan and I are finding ourselves worn thin.
Last week he asked our social network to let us lay low for a bit and recover from all of the excitement and upheaval that comes from having friends and family in town. I knew how badly I needed it, but I didn’t realize how badly I needed him to protect that time for me. When it finally happened, I felt like I could collapse under the weight of it all… I haven’t even read Bonnie Gray’s Finding Spiritual Whitespace yet, and I can already tell you I need what she’s selling.
I’ve been sharing about how Jesus called me to follow Him this year, and how so much of that starts with kissing people-pleasing and the ways of this world goodbye to follow Him into fuller life. It sounds catchy when I say it that way, but I’m still peeling off the layers of each of these things. I’m pulling them back only to find more layers of abuse and self-neglect that go back as far as I can see, and I know God is inviting me into a deeper place of rest and healing, of confrontation and renewal.
I know insomnia is just the tip of the iceberg of everything in me crying out, it’s time for a real change.
The deeper I look, the more I can see that I am more than one foot in and one foot out when it comes to serving two masters. I am like 75% immersed in that riptide of cultural expectation and baggage and everything else that tries to occupy in the place of Christ, going as far back as the day my parents didn’t lift me up and say, “This child shall be protected for the Lord and we’ll do what we can God to keep her safe but You do the rest and carry her into Your kingdom.” (Yep, praying that over my kids some day if we ever get the chance to have ‘em, and the Lord knows I forgive my parents for not knowing it was even an option because bitterness never brought anyone into fuller life.)
And I’m so over it.
Intellectually I know the truths. I know we’re here for one reason: to share the hope of Jesus and to help each other through this world until He comes again. Period. End of story. And honestly, I know that the more I get caught up in the distractions this world throws all around us, the more I’m contributing to all of us failing. Because when it comes to sharing hope and help, we’re failing as a human race. Our doctors are failing, our leaders are failing, and our churches are failing. We are failing. We’re living like our number one priority is figuring out what I need to be when I grow up (really?) and like our faith somehow intersects with the great race to be the next big thing. We’re white washing our American Dream with Scripture and calling it good, and all the while people are floundering for someone to share hope and someone to help.
We are categorically way too busy. And in it all we’ve missed the point. We’ve missed the big flashing signs with the neon arrow shouting “This way! Your purpose is right here!”(or here, or here, or here.)
So I’m stepping out of the scene – whatever threatens to occupy my time and attention in place of my First Love. For 40 days. Maybe for 90. We’ll see how long it can go. The hope is this following Jesus away from people-pleasing and the ways of this world will change me forever.
So what does that look like for me now?
1. Granted it doesn’t take much beyond going to work and coming home again for me to feel like my plate is already full. So I’m starting by saying no where I used to say yes.I’m stepping away from the world’s request to do way too much without doing anything of eternal value or significance at all, because in doing that everyone around us is missing out on hope and help.
2. And I’m acknowledging, because maybe we all should, that God has placed me in one place, with one sphere of relationship and influence and industry, and that’s where I should stand to share hope and help. That’s who I need to be available to before I go stretching myself thin.
It’s about how in being available to our families, we’re available to God.
And you know what? I’ve sucked at that pretty bad. On an average weekday I have two and a half, maybe three hours at home. I’m protecting those fiercely.
3. Instead of looking to always do something, I’m talking to Someone. I’m remembering that God has given me the great privilege and power of lifting all things up to Him in prayer. That He’s not depending on me to take on more than one woman can handle. He’s capable of it Himself, and our greatest weapon is always turning in faith to Him.
He’s asking me to share His hope and His help in the ways that I’m able. Where I am – physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, and tangibly. Share it where I am. Then stop. Rest. Lift it all up to Him. Trust Him to move.
So that’s it. I’m starting with the Moses on the Mountain approach (I’m confident I didn’t coin that, but I love me some alliteration). I’m letting God water me where I’ve let myself run dry. And after that? We’ll see what doors God opens. My family first. My God always first of all. Big wide swaths of time with Him. And hands lifted high for the stuff that’s out of my control and for His promise to come back again.
Heshan and I have already started, so I’ll share updates as we go. We may or may not have razed our closet in our first zealous attempt at letting stuff go. And I can only imagine what the next 40 to 90 (to 365?) days have in store.
“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” – Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes (can’t wait to read this book)
So let’s chat, because God willing I’m not going anywhere when it comes to this space. Have you ever found yourself worn thin or in need of a giant time out? How are you following Jesus into less?