Autumn is moving through its courses.
Leaves are falling. Christmas is just around the corner and Advent starts this Sunday. In two days it will be Thanksgiving Day.
And I find myself feeling pensive.
This year has brought about many changes in my life.
A realization that I have limitations and if I don’t pay attention to my body and take care of it then it won’t function properly.
A realization that ministry isn’t supposed to be overwhelming and stressful to the point of affecting my physical condition.
A realization that I have trauma and loss in my past that I have never taken the proper time to grieve. As a result, I am discovering that I have stuffed so much pain down deep inside of myself because my defenses and sense of self preservation needed to just keep moving forward and holding the shattered pieced together. I have lost the ability to be intune with my body and how it is feeling.
And so I have made changes.
I pay attention to what time I go to bed, I eat food that will nourish me but not leave me feeling deprived, sick, or unsatisfied, and I am finding ways to rest and recharge on my days off from work.
I have left the congregation that I was a part of for several years.
In some ways it feels like I went through a divorce from my church due to irreconcilable differences (it’s still there but we aren’t simpatico anymore). In others ways it feels like I am grieving the loss of a dear friend as I have parted ways with the community of that church (but I can never go back in the same capacity because the joy, encouragement, and spiritual growth I found there has ended). I mourn for those people and the good times that were shared there and the lessons that were learned there.
But there is also a sense of peace, that it was the right time and the right thing to do at this point in my journey for my overall health.
I am taking some time to decompress and assess where I am at spiritually and plan to start seeking a new church home soon. Along the way I have met up with some wonderful spiritual guides that have seemed uniquely qualified to minister to me during this transitional time. The presence of the hand of Providence continuing in my life is a deep comfort.
I am getting counseling and life coaching. Looking back to unpack the stuffed down pain and process and deal with it while at the same time finding hope and charting my future courses. And all the while accepting who I am and where I am at on my journey right now. Taking the time to enjoy life in all of its imperfections and embracing myself as I rediscover who I am and have been all along.
Boundaries are important.
Balance is vital.
This pensiveness and these reflections started today when I ran across Micah 6:8 in my readings today:
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
And now I am wondering, have I overcomplicated what God’s call on my life is by scurrying around trying to desperately find my purpose and answer my call in life?
These verses are few, but how very full and life giving they are! They are the blueprint for a life well lived. The blueprint Jesus himself used in his life that should be the example we seek to follow above all others.
Recently a dear cousin of mine pointed out to me that when he needed to, Jesus stepped away. He stepped away to rest, recharge, pray, and heal himself. She also pointed out that if it was okay for him to do this when he needed to, it is absolutely okay for us to do so when needed as well.
So if you ask me where I am at on my journey, I will tell you that I am currently resting and healing. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
If you stop by my house on Thanksgiving or any given weekend you will find me preparing homemade, nutritious meals for my family – comfort cooking at its finest that is helping me to restore my sanity. You will also find the tall stack of cozy mystery stories I have rediscovered that are helping me find rest.
Eventually I will find a new church home to be in community with. We aren’t meant to always walk this journey alone. In the meantime, I will follow Micah’s instructions and do justly, love mercy, and continue to always walk with God.
Will I ever have the opportunity to teach or preach again? I don’t know…but I hope so.
I am, and always will be, a faithful seeker and disciple of Jesus. Right now I am faithfully following him and his example to rest.
Trusting that in his own good timing, God and his loving kindness will lead me where I am meant to be next.
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
Whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
Sending out roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
And its leaves shall stay green;
In the year of drought it is not anxious,
And it does not cease to bear fruit.