how to slowly emerge from the fog

Friday, May 30, 2014

DSCF3572Tonight, on my walk to escape the terrors of the end-of-school-year, adjustment-to-summertime life with the littles, I was thinking over and over about shalom and the Kingdom of God here on earth – how we live in the chaos, just longing for the peace that passes all understanding. Eager to really and truly walk in the unforced rhythms of grace because let’s be honest, virtually all of my life feels forced right now. Maybe for you too?

While I am thankful beyond measure to have answers for my health issues, the medicines have not been magically effective so far. I still struggle through virtually every day. I am behind on all of my regular duties like cleaning and laundry and parenting and all of the things. I feel like a failure every single day that I have to lie down in the afternoon to take a nap. I haven’t even been able to train the baby to sleep in her own crib for naptime yet. I force myself to do almost everything that I would normally have no trouble accomplishing. It’s better, sure, but nowhere near the level of functioning that I feel like I need to be at to maintain a household of 5 children in a very small space. Forced.

The children are, like most of America’s kids I assume, in crazy mode right now as we transition into summer. My parenting skills have been, well, less than stellar. Everything about it feels forced. My marriage skills have too often for my comfort been suffering from the same malaise. I attempt to force myself to be kind and nice and patient, and when that fails, my attitude is anything but easygoing and restful. Forced. Forced.

In other areas of our lives, we are dealing with some difficult, complicated, and painful conversations. Just thinking about them tends to sap the joy and freedom that I feel in those situations. It weighs on me way more than I’d like it to. Forced. Forced. Forced.

But Jesus’ promise to me is not one of force. It’s one of rest. He’s promised to not lay anything on me that is ill-fitting. When I think about how much in my life feels ill-fitting right now, it brings me straight to my knees. That stuff is not of my Savior. I don’t have to remain tired, worn out, burnt out on religion. Jesus has promised rest, real rest, the kind that overwhelms with peace. When I walk through my daily life, it’s not trudging through and plodding along – it’s walking in the unforced rhythms of grace. That’s the promise I cling to. My only requirement: come to Him. Learn from Him. Stop taking my cues from this busy, chaotic world around me. Breathe deep. He is all I need.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Here are some things helping me to breathe deep and walk in the unforced rhythms of grace right now:

Joyce Meyer. I know that she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes you just need a woman of God to speak God’s promises over you. To encourage you to think positively, to change your life, to do the things that make for health. I love her.

Friends. The friends who call because they remembered that you told them a month ago when your doctor appointment was, and they wanted to see how it went. The friends who sit with you every Wednesday morning and talk about Jesus and challenge you to live your life following Him everyday. The friends who pray for you and your babies and walk the same roads you walk. The friends who continually call you into a deeper walk with your Savior and who challenge you to live fearlessly.

Poetry. I never considered myself a lover of poetry until fairly recently, but there is no better way for me to breathe deep than to read really good poetry. Some favorites: Mary Oliver, Langston Hughes, Wendell Berry, and of course I do love me some Yeats and e.e. cummings.

Reading. Just taking in a book gives me fresh air. I’ve turned into the sort of person that’s reading several books at a time, which is the kind of person, if I’m honest, I never thought I’d be. I just find such freedom and refreshment in reading other people’s words that I never want to limit myself.

I’ve shared a few of mine – so what are some things saving your life right now? Share below!


[image: death to the stock photo]

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