It’s been a weird season as this whole year has been full of changes, and I hadn’t known what to do with it until now. I’ve been uprooted in all sorts of ways, and I found myself fighting with the season rather than submitting to it.
What in my life WASN’T changing this year? I’ve been processing serving at a new campus and saying goodbye to Southwestern. I’ve been traveling so much that I consider myself lucky if I am in San Diego for 2.5 out of 4 weeks of a month. I started going to counseling which is shifting my entire understanding of myself and my family dynamics. I just moved to a new house, away from our community of friends. One of my best friends is getting married and moving to Chico and I’m trying to figure out how to say bye to him. Not to mention…now being married. Seriously, what isn’t changing?
The season the Lord has me in is one that has me uprooted, but I’ve been fighting it because I keep trying to act like I can do everything and spend lots of energy feeling guilty when I can’t. Somehow I’ve grown up thinking that if I just tried hard enough, I could do anything. You know…like Asian parents make you think you can get all A’s if you just try hard enough, and if you didn’t get an A it’s because you didn’t try enough. There were many things I wanted to do during my last year at Southwestern that didn’t happen. There are things in my fund development that I want to happen that aren’t happening. Things with friends, church, my relationship with God…the list goes on. And when these things don’t happen I just spend my time feeling guilty thinking that I just need to try harder.
My counselor keeps telling me that I’m way too hard on myself. She reminds me often that Jesus let himself rest. There were always more and more people to heal, but he didn’t heal them all; he rested. He just put a stop to it all and let himself move to the rhythms of God’s grace.
When I look at the list of all the things in my life that have changed or are changing, I don’t know how I ever expected myself to feel rooted. If I’m gone for more than 2 weeks out of almost every month, there are many things I cannot do. Add that to all the other changes that are going on and there’s little to be rooted in. My counselor is right—I AM too hard on myself, and the unrealistic expectations I put on myself are causing me to feel guilty and run myself into the ground to get nowhere.
Here at our staff Spiritual Formation retreat, the theme is “Transition & Transformation.” In every transition some things die as one season ends and new things begin. So my long list of changes are the things that are dying in my life that I need to mourn.
After we identify the things that are dying, we are supposed to ask the question, “What is the Lord asking you to let go of?” This was the interesting question for me. I expected my answer to be something on the list of changes that I didn’t want to ever change. But actually, when I asked the Lord what he wanted me to let go of I heard him say, “I want you to let go of the pressure of trying to feel connected and rooted in all those things. You tried your best. Stop trying to do more. There’s only so much you could do with the time you had. I saw you trying, and I’m pleased…but my daughter, I just want to give you rest.”
I started crying when the Lord said that to me. It’s like I was trying to be superhuman and push through a brick wall while having weights chained to my legs also, and God saw me and gently put his hand on my wrist and took my hand off the wall. “My daughter, I just want to give you rest.”
I don’t know how to give myself rest, but I hope that as I move in the rhythms of God’s grace that I will let him teach me how to rest. For me, resting calls for a greater trust in the Lord in the sense that even if there’s a long list of things that need to get done I need to trust that the Lord will fill those holes instead of them being filled by me running myself into the ground. I have to let God be the sovereign one.