On a typical tug-of-war kind of day, I stay busy doing awesomely productive things in the morning that make me feel efficient and successful and grown up. Then those things are over, and what used to be filled with a never ending list of homework assignments to accomplish, is now filled with whatever the heck I feel like. This can be incredibly freeing. Sometimes I go for a hike, go to the gym, clean the house, organize something in my room (yes, for fun), read one of the SIX books I'm currently in the middle of, or even watch TV - shocker. It can also be highly emotional as I wrestle with the tension of just enjoying life and the desire to be productive and make my life appear a certain way. It's in the time that was slated for homework that it now seems the pendulum of productivity swings quickly to the opposite side and I'm stuck in a mess of, "What am I even DOING with my life???!!!??!?!" (yes, that dramatically)
|Taking advantage of the sun on Table Rock.|
How did I go from feeling top-of-the-world, loving life, so accomplished in the morning, to feeling like I must be forgetting a million important things I'm supposed to be doing? (aka, minor freak outs)
Well, I have a theory or two about this dilemma.
1. If I start my day focused on "doing", I may find my worth in that, and then have a real hard time when it comes to the dwelling part of my day, because I feel like I've lost what gives me worth. Make sense? It's a completely ridiculous lie, but pretty important to understand. The truth: I am not any less valuable when I choose to do fun things for myself or just rest from all the "doing".
2. "Doing" is tangible, physical, and visible to others. It's easier to show off how much we do, than how disciplined we are in just being with Jesus and resting. Yeah, that's prideful. I shouldn't be doing things for the sake of creating a certain appearance for the approval of others.
3. Not to place blame, but our culture values "doing" over "being". There is a lot of societal pressure to get stuff done; that's what we have to show for ourselves.
4. We think that "just being" is awfully boring. So what does it even mean to "just be" or "dwell"? I just sit here and do nothing? I don't get to talk to anyone else? My most deeply fulfilling and reviving moments are ones spent with a pen and journal and Bible, in a beautiful/comfortable place, having conversations with God. Mind you, not DOING something for God, but just BEING with Him and talking.
I told a friend recently about some potential future plans and she asked if I'd had a blunt conversation with God about what He wanted me to do yet. That afternoon I wrote in my journal: "This is my blunt conversation with God..." and I asked Him all kinds of questions. Talk about a shift in perspective. Sometimes I find myself grumbling things like: "I have nobody to process my day or talk about decisions with." (aka, self-pity) BEING with God, is so much more filling than talking things out with someone else... or even trying to find the time to connect with other people. People are important and God created us for relationship, no doubt about it. But I think we can so easily lose sight of the pure joy and indescribable peace found in just BEING with God and having a conversation with HIM.
5. On the other hand, major life transition definitely brings about reflection, questions, and a lot of change in general. So, partially, this is just normal. :) It's good to acknowledge that, too!
So yesterday afternoon in my usual frenzy of "I should be DOING something right now!!!" I grabbed my chacos, camelbak backpack, sunglasses, Bible and journal, and headed up to Table Rock. I just needed a place to go BE out of the house. I was starting to get antsy. I sat down on that little hill in the photo above, and my Bible flipped open to Hosea 2: "Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her" (vs. 14). I'm just saying... I was on a hill in the desert, and I desperately wanted to hear God speak to my heart.
And I believe He did.
It wasn't necessarily this profound word for everyone, but it was a series of words for ME, for just that time. It was a whole string of truth that humbled, challenged, and encouraged me. I'm so thankful that our Heavenly Father knows our hearts intimately and chooses to interact with us personally.
I just started writing... and I realized that for me, they were a bunch of words from Jesus.
"You don't have to create some kind of acceptable identity or work to be approved of, Kailene. You are accepted and loved just as you are. You don't have to prove yourself. And for heaven's sake [yes, I did write that], stop comparing your life to everyone else's. It will create one of two things: pride - in thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, or self-pity - in considering yourself to be of lesser value than those around you. Neither is beneficial or healthy. Comparison, in that sense, will lead to destruction.
Right now, you are exactly where God wants you to be - so enjoy it! ..."
My response: "Jesus, I love that I can just be here with You and not have to worry or figure things out."
I do want to enjoy this season of life. It's so unique & fun! Satan will work diligently to steal that joy, but my God is bigger AND victorious. So I have nothing to worry about.