Two posts ago, I wrote about being a recovering accomplisher, and how it felt okay to stop mid-project and say, effectively, "lesson learned...next?"
It's a great post. I just re-read it and I really agree with myself on it.
But it didn't stick. It never does.
I must have written it expecting there to be a "next thing" right around the corner. OK, coach, got it! Yessir! Thanks for that lesson! I'm ready to play!
But I haven't really been thrown in the game. Instead, for a few months, I've been feeling more like a ball girl...or sometimes even a fan without a ticket. One by one, the things that I've held onto, the contributions that I thought made me a valued team member - have been stripped away. Some through humbling physical trials, some through limitations brought on by this crazy life stage, some as gifts that just aren't working as well right now. They are all things that have me (or someone else) saying "not you, not right now."
I was whining to my pastor about it, and he called them idols, so now I'm looking for a new church.
Just kidding about that part. He was right. God's not done stripping me of me - even though some of these things are really good, healthy things. Fitness? Serving my church? Writing? The pattern seems to be that anything that provides me any kind of identity or self-worth is now a free agent.
I'd been a little teary and feeling a little sorry for myself, (okay, a lot sorry for myself), and my weepy, sorry self shared what was going on with our community group this week:
*Sniff* I'm just a mom and *sniff* I can't really do anything right now because my hip hurts and my kids are crazy *sniff, sniff* and I don't really know who I am because *sniff, sniff, sniff* everything that makes me, me is STRIPPED AWAY. WAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!.
And then they prayed for me, because that's what you do when someone starts crying at community group. But you wanna know what God said, right then and there, immediately? (I believe He said it clearly and quickly because God knows that my attention span is shorter than a three-year-old's right now and He'd better act quickly if He has something I need to hear). He said:
Enjoy your vacation.
In his boundless grace, God took the opportunity to remind me that rest is good, and that this season, in all of its seemingly aimless wandering, is a gift. Though there's not a lot of physical rest happening, I am being sheltered from dealing with the expectations - real or perceived - of myself and those around me. It's a time that I will probably look back on with sentiment and nostalgia as a time when I was being stripped, refined and prepared for my next position on the team. I think He was saying "Stop coming to practice while you're on vacation.You're doing enough.We're running pretty smoothly, but we'd still love to have you around. We're going to win whether you're on the court or not. So spend your days at the beach and your nights in the stands - that's where you belong right now. You will always be on the team."
So yesterday, I literally took myself to the beach. Right in the middle of the day. I set aside the to-do list that I save for my only two hours a week to myself, decided not to try to solve any problems or make any plans, and in the fullness of God's grace I sat there on the sand, alone. I didn't even bring a book. It was amazing. Not because I was at the beach, and not because I was alone, but because for the first time in forever, I felt like it was okay. It was okay to not try to accomplish anything. It was okay to not move forward. It was okay not to use the time to make myself smarter, or my house cleaner, or my life more efficient, or to contribute to the team. It was more than okay. It felt wild and crazy. Reckless. Kind of Thelma & Louisey. It was healing.
My friend, I hope that you are also finding freedom in God's grace. And I hope that you have a community of grace like mine, who will call out your idols, point you to the Gospel, and pack your beach bag for you.