starting the conversation

Most of the time I write a blog, I know I have thoughts to wrestle through and to solidify in my heart and my brain.  The writing is more about that process than anything.  I feel things bubbling up in me–longing to come to the surface.  Our world does not lend itself to wrestling time.  In fact, we have learned to run from it, to find the first thing to numb ourselves, to create white noise to cover the drone of need, to deaden the bubbling and the longing because we are afraid of what they will uncover.

The world’s pace and culture and our Creator are at odds.  See, He created us to think, to wrestle, to pray, to dream, to see our need for Him, to doubt, to grow, to be in the desert place, to question the hard stuff, to dig for Hope, to bury the expectations we had to awaken to a different hope, to face silence in life, to be face to face with impossibility and to see death be turned to life.  When we push down those uncertainties and try to cover them, try to hide, we mirror Adam and Eve after the fall.  Originally, they were naked and unashamed in relationship with Him, and then, complexities and consequences arose from their rebellion and distrust of Him.  Each way we try to hide and to avoid causes another layer of consequences and problems and another way we don’t want to face the Truth that will literally set us free.    When we do not take time to interact with who He is (we find that in His word and through His Spirit), we have this feeling that He is unsafe, that He is not good, that He is uncaring, or that He is completely inconsequential.  Why?  Because we are wrapped up in our own wisdom and fears.

You may be saying “yeah, yeah, I ain’t got time for that!”  And, I understand your conundrum.  I have said it for far too long.  What I have found is that we were made to MAKE time for that, and if we don’t, we are slowly dying and cut off from who we are created to be.  The slow death might accelerate depending on the ways we are trying to cope and how our bodies are reacting.  The Lord has shown me in blaring ways in the past year that I need to reevaluate.  Announcement:  I do not have this figured out.  However, I have figured that the way it was going was NOT GOOD.  I was operating by “momma has to keep this ship going despite chronic illness and sensory processing disorder and young kids and business and church responsibilities and I don’t have time to reflect or to study or to do anything but keep the hamster wheel turning.”  I did not even see I was choosing this.  I thought it was chosen for me–my lot.  And, there are things that are my circumstantial lot, however, I was playing the victim of no choices instead of making space to see choices.  I was band-aiding things that desperately needed figurative surgery along with rest and reset.  Any of this sound familiar?  I was not attending to my heart in the midst–I was not connecting to the Vine as Jesus had told me to.  He said that I couldn’t do it alone, but I tried harder to do it alone.

I was not attending to my heart in the midst or listening to the Lord and communing with Him. “Takes too much time,” I said.  And then, like a hurricane that literally uproots and floods and destroys all the things we have called home, the Lord sent a figurative storm and saved me from myself.  He took me to the depths to have me ask the deepest of questions when all my “property” was gone.  He turned me upside down in the best of ways that were the scariest.  My mind and heart are more alert to the real Enemy more than ever.  The Enemy who longs to steal, to kill and to destroy–  the Enemy who wants us to never face the doubts, the hurts, the questions in the Light of the Creator’s love and Truth.  “Push it down. It all this rests on you. You are sucking at this.  You are forgotten.  You are a failure at keeping everything together.  This is the way it is–fine life, huh? There’s no time for you to be real–keep going,” says the Enemy.

I had no choice but to stop, to ask the Lord for help in the deepest of ways, to receive grace (unmerited favor) from others and from Him.  I, very clumsily, began to build in times for self-care because it was not something I could avoid.  Then, over time, the Lord began to show me where I had chosen to silence my voice because I was not connected to Him.  He reminded me of the beauty of walking in His Truth, in prayer, in remembrance of Who He is in character, of leaning on His Body.  He began restoring some joy, and my circumstances had not changed, but my Hope and focus had.

In this process, my business has grown–only by the grace of God.  And, as I am looking at my life, I see that the Lord has provided graciously that I might begin to “be with” people again.  As I am coming out of an intense season and looking to my schedule, I am looking with different eyes.  Usually, I fill it to the brim, and now I feel Him calling me to create margin.  In a business training I was in in the Spring, I really got to nail down why I am doing everything that I am doing in life.  I drilled down to the statement “helping others come alive.”  If the purpose in the things I chose was not that, then it needed to be scrapped.  One thing that I realize in myself is that there has to be space for me to have a heart that is sensitive to the Spirit and, in turn, my family’s needs, my business partners, my friends’ needs.  Helping Others Come Alive is not giving someone an “attagirl” and telling them 5 ways to improve their week.  It involves “seeing” people.  The reality is, I can only be present and “see” so many people.

I have been turning down very good opportunities and things to create space in which to have an impromptu face to face meeting or to be able to pause with someone I pass in the rush to listen.  I like it and see great worth in life spaced like this.  It is old-fashioned.  It is meaningful.  And, the only reason I can do it is because of the blessing of my business.  Getting to see how my sweet son is learning and thriving at school while I still get to be home and have flexibility with my younger son is a gift I do NOT take lightly.  I work hard and invest purposefully in my team to help them grow, and I am so so thankful.  I thought this was a vain pursuit–skincare, good grief.  A direct sales model–good grief.  I am a people-helper and this is business, good grief.  And, that is just what I am–a people helper helping others come alive, “seeing” others, talking to others about business but at the core sharing life on life and sharing my TRUE HOPE in Jesus.

So, a year ago, my world crashed, but I am so thankful for the ways the Lord has shown me there must be time to wrestle, to seek Him, to “see” people, to prioritize what is important.  He truly continues to create beauty from ashes.

One Comment

  1. Jen – you are such an honest, seeking, God-loving woman and mama and I respect you so much. We are different in many ways, but also so much the same. I wish you blessings and insight along your journey – many hugs and fist-bumps of solidarity from “way over here”. c

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