Making Space to be More Me
A strange thing happened on my road to recovery... I wonder if you can relate.
Life got full again. In all kinds of good ways.
I'm busy helping my kids with homework. (It's funny what you miss when a job is taken away from you for a season.)
Busy with a mini-job. (Yes, I'm back in the workforce after a 17 year hiatus.)
Busy re-connecting with friends over coffee. (My current ministry.)
Busyness, even good busyness has resulted in a loss. I have lost a special acute sense of God's ever-present hand in the details of my life. The inability to do almost anything while I recovered left me with one thing to do constantly: think of things above. I'm grieving that loss now.It's weird, I admit. But while recovery was really, really difficult, it gave me an intimacy with my Friend Jesus that is hard to grasp in the day-to-day busyness of my healthy life. I want to recover some of that intimacy.
Have you ever been jealous of the disciples, with all that uninterrupted time with Jesus, walking from city to city or rowing across the Sea of Galilee? Or Martha, who had time to just sit at Jesus' feet and listen? Just listen. Or Moses on the mountaintop for 40 days with God? Do you ever wish, like me, that you could have that kind of focused time and space? Yes, this brings me back to SPACE.The past two weeks have been unusually hectic. I pushed myself because I knew it was just two weeks and I was serving my dear friends with my time and energy. But it took a much bigger toll on my body than I anticipated. I had no space to think deep thoughts. Hardly space to rest. Do you have times like this too? It's ok to push hard for a short time, occasionally. But I certainly cannot sustain that pace for long. Not anymore.
So, this week I spent more time resting. More time just being at home. Making space to read, pray, write, think. To dwell on the thoughts that my soul finally had space to think. And a funny thing happened, I felt I was right back in that intimate space with God that I had during recovery. When I stop to think about it, it's not that surprising. Time with God is my oasis. It refreshes me.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matt 11:28-30 (The Message)
This is what I want. It's not a thing. It's a physical and spiritual wholeness. By taking the time my mind and body needed to slow down and be still with Jesus, I began to feel like myself again. Not to make too much of it, but I truly feel more Me. More Me than I've been in, maybe, several years. Life has been hard for a long time. Adopting and homeschooling and learning how to parent in completely new ways just wore me out. Surgery and 6 months of recovery were like a hard stop on all of that. Now, after a few months of stillness, I feel like the Me God created me to be. I wish I could say that I had learned this lesson of finding space without surgery. But I didn't. Isn't Jesus kind to not waste any opportunity to teach us a lesson?
Now, to move forward with this lesson in my pocket, I have blocked off big chunks of time in my calendar over the next several weeks to just be me, at home, with Jesus, in a quiet space. Because that's what it's going to take. It's going to take putting space on my calendar. A date on my calendar is a priority. Space is now a priority. Honestly, I know my husband will be happy to see it on my calendar. My kids too, if they looked. Because when I'm me, I have more of me to share. I have more grace to cover the minor annoyances that come with raising little humans. I have more patience to breathe deep when it's time to be silent and let Jesus speak into their hearts, instead of me. I have more joy. More energy. More ability to make good decisions.
My dear college friend Andrea taught me a thing about setting herself up to make good decisions. She went shopping for an outfit to wear to her medical school interviews. I watched her get very dressed up, makeup perfect, hair amazing .... to go shopping. It seemed crazy to me. She already looked amazing. Go out to dinner! Not to the mall. But then she told me that when she dresses up to go shopping for a nice outfit, she makes better purchasing decisions. She took the time and space to set herself up to be her best, mentally and physically. (And she bought a killer interview outfit! Just one of many great decisions Dr. Harper made along the way.) :)
So, I'm setting myself up for the joy, the intimacy, and the good decisions I want. I'm making the space to meet God regularly and bask in the beauty of that relationship. Making space to enjoy being more Me.