As I recovered from Covid late summer, I drew a few lines. Some lines represented an end point. Other lines represented a beginning point.
I moved away from social media for almost four months. I didn’t miss anything. When I came back to it, I found that social media lives best as a memoir to share and a gateway to ideas and people that I don’t know in person.
I didn’t read or write a single thing for about two months. Not even the word of God. I had enough word stored up in my heart and enough awe to be still in the presence of his voice. It was a slow road back. I started by coloring scripture. That was the most I could mentally do in that season.
Later, I picked up the second half of the book that I had previously started before my winter season began. I highly recommend that you read Growing Slow by Jennifer Dukes Lee. She helped me understand that winter is a valuable season to be in. God often does his greatest work in seasons where it appears nothing is happening. Enjoy her unhurried list. I carry it with me, actually, literally.
More Lines in the Sand
Being so ill caused me to have a regimen pointed toward health. God showed me how strong my mind, soul and spirit are, but how tired and worn out my body was. My body bears the weight of the good works that I so dearly enjoy. My body now has a voice that I am learning to hear. Not an easy task, but I continue to shift my priorities toward her well being too.
These lines are similar to the boundaries of the sea to the sand. Take a few minutes to read these four verses. Think about the roar of ocean and the lines that the Lord has set for it.
What comes to mind? Are there people you are pleasing over doing what is right for your life? Are there events or activities that you are saying yes to that rule out your opportunity for rest, fun or growth? Is there anything that you truly miss because the roar of the ocean washes away your commitment or love for that thing?
A Few Key Questions
- How do you stay in awe?
- How do you stay in the still?
- How do you know the difference between the glitter and the true work God has called you to?
- How do you let go of the habits and grasp of your old ways?
- How do you acknowledge unsustainable productivity and choose a soul serving pace?
- How can you stay in the routine of self care?
- How do you know the difference between kindness and people pleasing?
- How do you adjust your desire to make plans when you are asked to just be still?
I write to you for two key reasons.
Sister, sister as my friend Christina V says.
1. I want you to know that I struggle alongside of you.
I get sucked up by the worries of this world. But, like you, I come back to center.
I make mistakes that feel heavy, and sometimes hopeless, as I wait for God to come in to free me.
I want so badly to know the answers for my children. I want to clear the way for their path. I want to labor for them. I want to be more than God’s instrument in their lives. But then I obediently recall that his plans are better than mine. His ways are higher than mine. His goodness is better than mine.
2. I want you to know that you should also do the thing you love to do.
You can wait until you think it’s perfect. Or you can simply begin. I write imperfect letters to my friends. What will you do? Or what are you currently doing that you can share with others?
I am confident that your thing is worth sharing. It’s worth sharing with the few probably more than it’s worth seeking to share with the many. Your thing is worth sharing. Your people want to hear. They want to know you more than they do today through sharing the thing that you love to do.
You are a Masterpiece
It’s been a while since I embraced Ephesians 2:10. There is no work in winter. Perhaps in winter we remember that we are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus – – minus the good works. Perhaps we must take a break from good works to rest and then decipher what good works God actually prepared for us before time began.
I’m wrapping up my summer revelations. I’m thinking of the questions I shared a few paragraphs ago. I’m thinking how easy it is to lose awe as the feeling of the landslide gets a little harder to recall, as time passes.
When you are watching the landslide come down, it is a soft heart that invites the new stillness, new landscape.
When the landscape settles, it’s a soft heart that receives the new garden in all its palm tree-daisy-vine glory.
A soft heart walks the new garden, learning its ways.
A soft heart is mindful of the weight of the old ways.
A soft heart puts one foot in front of the other in the fields of the new landscape, even when the worries and pressures of this world seek to bury her.
A soft heart recalls that she has been rescued in her mistakes and difficult circumstances before and she will be rescued again.
A soft heart allows the holy spirit to run free in the lives of her loved ones. She smiles at the thought of being an instrument instead of a conductor.
She tells herself the landslide came for a purpose. She reminds herself that her desire for output is the very thing that shuts out the stillness. She acknowledges that the speed of this life will eradicate the awe if she lets it.
Sister, what will you tell yourself as you examine your ways?
I have asked a lot of you the last few weeks. I’ve asked you to be still and trade in your linear thinking for the awe of Jesus. I’ve asked you to shed some things that you are attached to. I’ve asked you to quit things and give up things. I’ve asked you to acknowledge that you already have more than enough. I’ve asked you to look to the glow of the moon over the fields that you have been faithfully planting.
These requests make up the landslide that became my life these last several months. You give me the gift of sharing. I hope to give you the gift of imperfection and an invitation to vulnerably share the gifts God has given you.
The Simple Prayer of Shed & Shift
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May you pursue stillness and awe. May you live as he speaks rather than in the plans you think are best. May you remain an instrument instead of a conductor. May you know that I struggle with you, alongside of you. But not without the hope, joy and freedom of unmerited grace. I love you sister sister.