"God is either in everything, or He is in nothing."
- Richard RohrHere I am trying to be still, but feeling incredibly twitchy. It's pretty automatic - this urge to keep moving. To start to race down the track in front of me. To look away from the pain. To take action in an effort to move forward. It's the way I have lived for 39 years.
Here is my takeaway ... AWARENESS. If I am still long enough to listen, to gaze, to feel, then I can emerge with a bit of awareness.
-I am becoming aware of patterns in my life. Patterns of over-responsibility, people-pleasing, and performance. Patterns I loathe. Patterns I want to break.
-I am becoming aware of feelings that go much deeper than this last hard season. Feeling unseen and that I only matter when I am doing something valuable. Like I am only as good as my performance. Feeling afraid of the shoe that is about to drop and bracing for that destruction. Like a skittish puppy. Breathing shallow, ready for fight or flight. Feeling aware of the erosion that scarcity brings to life ... physical, emotional, financial, spiritual scarcity that is equal parts the cards that were dealt, and part the result of a life being lived stretched far too thin.
In the spirit of being a person who is compelled to take action, the most healthy step forward right now feels like me intentionally inviting God into these places of emerging awareness.
Inviting Him to speak into these patterns. To shed more light and gently nudge me as I inch towards those automatic responses that feel so deeply ingrained in me. It is like arriving in your driveway without thinking, unaware of the route you took to get there. I don't want to slip into auto-pilot with these patterns any longer. My muscle memory is strong. I need the Holy Spirit to be stronger, and He is. But, it is a partnership and my awareness is the key.
It means noticing the clenched hands and opening them with a prayer of surrender. Recognizing that it is not up to me to fix anything in this season. I don't have to take control/fix/will/muscle/resume right now.
It means saying no more than yes and fighting the urge to change my mind or apologize for disappointing whomever is asking. I have been a "yes girl" my whole life. This is a season for pausing and waiting and only saying yes to the things that should be a yes. Resisting the urge to prove I am valuable and to keep everyone happy by showing up and saying yes.
It means taking each thought captive. That can be such a cliched line. But, when I picture those thoughts as literal bombs being dropped on my shalom, then taking them captive is a necessary part of the battle for peace. Grab them, examine them, look them up and down and determine their intent. Make them show I.D. at the door. Then decide if they are allowed to stay.
It means inviting God into the feelings and hurts and fears and grief. Maybe even going back to these moments and asking Him to show me where He was when the crap was hitting the fan. Asking the hard questions and waiting for Him to answer. Channeling my inner psalmist and pouring it all out ... anger, grief, questions, sorrow, fears, and being brave enough to let hope mingle there. I am daring myself to dream again, even in the midst of examining the rubble of dreams dashed and broken. Because, just as Richard Rohr has said, He is either in everything, or He is in nothing.
It means sitting in brokenness with my God, who is the only one that can heal in such a way that we come out on the other side more whole than before. I believe this. One of the colors of "shalom" is WHOLENESS. I don't see wholeness as the starting place like a brand new pair of shoes that haven't gotten scuffed up. I believe that in God's kingdom an old soul on their deathbed is more whole than a brand new baby in their mama's arms. This old soul has experienced bumps and bruises and "scuff marks" galore. It has shaped them. They are who they are because of the story. I am inviting Him to heal and restore the broken places in my story so that I am more whole.
When we think of being still with God, no doubt we think of the very well known verse from Psalm 46:10 (heck, we may have grown up with it embroidered on a pillow):
“ , and know that I am God; I will exalted among the nations, I will exalted in the earth.”
But, here is the thing - this verse is actually a command. There is no hemming and hawing here. No "maybe you should consider being more still for a season" kind of language. It is pretty clear. Sit your booty down.
Connect your thoughts to truth and see who you are in the light of who I am (KNOW THAT I AM GOD). This is powerful language of superiority.
And, I guess this leads me to one of the best places of awareness I am settling into ... humility.
How do I humble myself and declare not just with my lips but with my life that I am not in control?
How do I humble myself and declare that I believe I am loved and my identity as His daughter is more important than my identity perceived by anyone else around me?
How do I humble myself and resist the zings of affirmation that come from performance and doing?
How do I humble myself and admit that I have failed to keep it all together, even amidst a whole lot of trying? Because the other side of that moment of confession is acceptance and dare I say the sweet gift of serenity. Because it was never mine to control or try and keep together.