I’m panting, the steady rhythm of my feet hitting the trail causes squirrels and wandering dogs to scatter as I approach. I feel as though I am flying just for a moment…and then the moment passes just in time to see my destination in sight. Soon the quiet my soul craves, the secret place I rest in will be over. My life-giving and life-consuming family is waiting on me. I know that I will have to climb out of the shell I was retreating in and force myself to speak and react physically and not just in my head. I leave my comfort with assurance that the silence God has called me to these last 9 weeks isn’t over, it’s just going to look different and I have the choice to accept it and be thankful for what I can get or I’m going to be battling the most stubborn contender out there…my inner self…
Isn’t it interesting that the moment you decide to give something up it all of a sudden is the most appealing thing? Or when you decide to “clean” out the clutter, just to realize that the thing you threw away so quickly without any remorse, actually has great meaning? So…the latter describes my reliance on social media. As I was approaching my time away from ministry a few weeks before having Ya’el, it was impressed upon my heart that if I was to truly rest I was going to have to give up a huge idol in my life. At first I defended myself to God, telling him in a nonchalant way that facebook was not an issue for me. Yeah, it was within minutes after I felt the need to defend myself, that I realized, if I was so worked up to justify it THEN it must be an issue. Honestly, I judged those of you who would randomly make posts about taking “time off” from FB…really, I would sometimes laugh or worse think to myself “thank goodness I have a little self control”. Well…little did I know that self control was the very thing I lacked when it comes to social media.
My intentions and goals for my rest period away from ministry was to ask and wait for God to tell me what I am suppose to be doing in this new season of life. To make sure my steps are ordained by him and not my own desires. IF I truly wanted to hear him it meant that I had to accept THE silence. A silence different then the fake silence I use to think was my soul’s greatest need. Some of you might be saying, wait?!? I thought I saw some blog posts and pics. Well you are right, I did posts those either because my husband asked me to or because I only inteded on sharing them but not checking them. I would respond to messages or posts only after my husband let me know I had them.
At first I was M.I.S.E.R.A.B.L.E…NO joke. I had “friends” announcing the gender of their babies, friends having babies, family members taking vacations, and other fun events of people’s lives that I love to read about and get utterly wrapped up in. It hit me by day 3 that I was an addict. I would grab my phone when I first woke up, before my shower, during a bathroom break, after serving breakfast, after cleaning the house, well, you get where I am going with this. I literally was attached to the little object that I deemed at some point in my life as a life-giving thing. I found myself restless, disconnected, and frustrated. The last thing I wanted to do was seek God, the very thing I was suppose to be striving for.
I was blessed by a friend who took a sabbatical from ministry. I was sent emails that encouraged me to not be afraid of this new silence I found myself in. To accept the push and pull and trust God. The new silence was scary and left to my own devices, I fought it, many times leaving me more empty then I was before.
Then after unconsciously wrapping my hands tight around my ears and heart, the grip started to fade. Soon I heard the still gentle voice calling, calling me.
During this time I was faced with accepting the fact that I was allowing not just social media to be an idol, but so much more. I was filling myself with things that were temporary and fleeting, that gave immediate gratification, hello “like” button on FB, to give me a sense of self worth. Ouch.
When I let go I realized that the root of it all came down to pride I new that the pruning was beginning.
Pride is defined as: a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or qualities or possessions that are widely admired
I never thought of myself as a prideful person. Really. I always give credit were credit is due and many times don’t find myself qualified to do things.
But pride, deeply rooted down within my soul was impacting my marriage, my greatest treasures that rely on me daily to be their mom and my ministry.
I allowed my pride to set a standard for how my house was suppose to look daily. Never-mind if it cost me moments I could have been playing with my kids or spending time in my husband’s arms. Pride drove me to have unrealistic measures that told my family that my worth wasn’t wrapped up in their unconditional love for me, but instead wrapped up in an ideal from others.
I once read that the root of pride comes from comparison. If you stop and think about that, isn’t it really true?!?
Comparison caused me to think I wasn’t the best house wife it my home didn’t resemble pottery barn or all of the new Pinterest DIY home improvements. Comparison drove me to think that if I didn’t bounce back to pre-baby weight like others that I was worthless. Comparison told me that if I didn’t research and plan an elaborate craft with my kids, like other moms, that I should give up. Comparison told me that I was never enough.
When the wool was pulled from my eyes I repented, I thanked God for the pruning he promises to do in John 15:1 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” and I found a heart change to be the exact solution to my deception.
I am not going to sit here and judge ANY of you anymore. I am going to triple “like” a status if you decide to be transparent and share with the world that you are giving up an idol, whatever it may be. Everyone’s idols look different. Some are apparent to everyone around you, others are hidden so deep that you don’t even know until you go into silence.
I sure as heck am not going to say that I am “fixed” that I won’t have this struggle anymore. But the wonderful thing about the truth is that once it is revealed, you can no longer say “I didn’t know any better”. Just as John says, “apart from him, I can do NOTHING”. I desire to bear fruit in my life.
My house hasn’t been fully swept in 3 days (only in the kitchen since those pesky ants won’t go away). I put aside, my neat freak self and watched my 4 yr old make lunch for herself and her little sis.
I found my big girl pants and mustered up the courage to take all my babies to the beach ON MY OWN when other things I would have normally deem more important then an adventure were screaming at me.
Today we went to the library even though my house was not cleaned, the girls room had spilled bubbles and stickers ALL over the hard wood floor, thanks to my 15 minutes nursing session before trying to leave, and you know what? I was hugged, kissed and told I was their FAVORITE. After walking to the mall for some icecream with my girls recently I realized all my girls wanted was a mommy who would drop everything for them, a mommy who heard their own searching hearts.
Best of all I had the courage to tell my husband, my best friend, after my first run at Ward lake, that I know without a doubt I am suppose to take a semester off from school. Pride, stupid pride, was/is forcing me to put things before the 4 little lives God has entrusted me with and at times before the hand picked mate he has given me.
Without the silence that I found myself in I wouldn’t have had the strength to dig deep and evaluate the heavy plate I carry. Without the silence I wouldn’t have heard God tell me the things in my heart that don’t reflect his grace and love. Without the silence I wouldn’t have seen that at the end of the day, each day is a gift. How much I need to be rooted in him if I want to “bear much fruit”. How better to see fruit then to watch my family grow closer and be secure thanks to the unconditional pouring out we do for one another, while unattached to the many distractions of life.
My prayer is that I can give myself away, but only in a way that reflects Christ. Not in a way that stretches me thin, that leaves me stressed and overwhelmed reaching for a goal that I “think” matters.
I am excited my rest period is over, I return to ministry this coming sunday. I won’t consider school until the spring semester. But most of all I will be striving to be the wife and mother I have been called to me.
I will be catching up with your lives slowly as I “stalk”…haha…your pages during moments that don’t steal me from my family and see what you guys have been up to these last 2 months 🙂 It will take me some time since I have gotten in the habit of putting my phone down and walking away from it for hours, heaven forbid, because I have been caught up in living life with my family. Thankful I can rely on God to be my filter and tell me when I open the door for pride to find its’ way in.
The only purpose of sharing this with you all was to explain why I retreated. But also to share what I learned. I learn from other’s honesty and felt compelled to do the same 🙂