As I sat on my couch last week I felt myself going stir crazy.
It happens from time to time, the hair on my skin stands up, my heart races, and I feel like I’m getting boxed in.
My workout was finished, I had house cleaning I could do but didn’t feel like it, I had blog stuff I could work on but had no motivation and I had hours upon hours to kill. This was one of those situations where the few friends I’ve made here were busy or their husbands were home (and we all know how important that time is) so I was faced with either just binge watching something on netflix or just going to explore.
There is a place up here that has the most beautiful sunflower fields once a year, Buttonwood Farms, and I had not had the chance to go see the flowers. At the end of the season they let the cows roam through the fields eating up each flower to their hearts content, so my window was closing. As I walked through the towering rows of yellow I found myself incredibly overwhelmed with emotions. I was this mixture of thankfulness and sadness; a ball of joy and a bundle of numbness. It was a weird feeling. You see, I was surrounded by these beautiful flowers – people drive hundreds of miles to come see these fields – and I was able to drive a short distance to catch a glimpse. I was alone, missing my husband and missing my friends; I was missing the connection of experiencing that joy with another person. It was jarring because I have been independent for so long that this feeling of dependency is taking some getting used to. I’ve told Eddie a few times that it’s still so new for me, this whole connection the two of us have, to where even though I love doing things by myself – I now have this deep yearning to experience them with him.
I started to realize that this season I’m in, where I’m forced to be alone a lot, is a season that the Lord has obviously put me in.
I truly, truly believe it’s a growing season. I’ve seen so many things stripped from my life before I got married and definitely since I’ve moved that I’m kind of left with just small basics. I’ve had to re-learn how to make friends, how to go out and explore, to put myself out there, to have deep conversations with new people, to share the love of Jesus in practical ways, to love someone selflessly, and to actually want to grow in a relationship with my Lord.
“Here is the thing. The enemy promises water, but every time we go to the wells, they are empty. He gives us a sip of water, enough that we keep believing him. We have believed the lie that our cravings will be satisfied if we are enough and if we have enough. So we chase image, answers, things, people – and we wonder all the while, Why am I still thirsty?“
– Nothing To Prove, By: Jennie Allen
But the truth is…I’m not really growing in my relationship with Christ.
It’s been hard, and it’s been something I’ve been avoiding. Thankfully I’m not running away from it anymore, like actively running away from the Lords promptings; but now I’m kind of like that student who is getting by simply by listening during class and not putting in the work outside of the classroom. I soak things in, I retain some information and I’m learning and making slow progress, but it isn’t near to the level I should be at. This is an incredibly hard pill for me to swallow for many reasons. Many of you probably don’t know but I was a youth pastor for a handful of years (I actually have my BA in Youth Ministry with a minor in psychology) and I have always been the type of person who loves to spend hours with my Bible, notebooks, and study aids (commentaries, theological studies, articles, etc) sprawled out and soaking in the information like a sponge. I haven’t had that type of passion in many, many, years and it has always chipped against my heart and rocked my soul. I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why I haven’t dug into the Word of God like I used to. I think it started when the church I was the youth pastor at went through a heart-breaking ending and it shattered something within; people hurt us and we often correlate that with the Lord hurting us – it’s not the same and it’s taken me many years to learn that.
Honestly friends, I didn’t think I would write all of this out.
I just sat down with a completely different thought process and here I am typing all of this and finding my palms a little sweaty thinking of hitting publish. Opening up about where you are in your spiritual journey is always vulnerable and leaves you feeling encouraged to push forward or left feeling less than. I’ve been feeling so less than lately that my heart has felt like a heavy stone being dragged through the mud. I talk super negatively to myself, I beat myself down, and I haven’t been believing the truths whispered to me by Jesus and repeated by my loving husband.
So as I walked through Hobby Lobby (that store is so dangerous by the way) and my eyes wandered to the book “Nothing To Prove” by Jennie Allen while waiting to check out I knew it was the Lord. The tagline of the book is “Why we can stop trying so hard”. I didn’t need to read anything more, I just bought it and went home that night and cried as I read the introduction. It was like a soothing balm to my injured heart; it breathed some hope back into my frustrated heart and left me feeling like a weight was lifted.
All of this rambling is simply to say: You’re not alone.
Your struggles, your pain, your joys, your hopes, your sorrows – we’re all meant to walk through this together.
So, thanks for listening to my ramblings; and if you’re looking for a new book, go pick up “Nothing To Prove” and you can thank me later.
Let’s not be thirsty anymore.