I was sitting in my kitchen trying to drum up something post-worthy for Facebook after weeks of zero inspiration. I started typing and realized that for the first time in almost two years, I had the desire to write more than 2 paragraphs. Here’s the kicker- this desire to blog comes at a season of life with a whole lot of frustration and very disrupted sleep. Everything is coming to an end, and so naturally, there is so much work to be done.
I have packages to take to the post office, graduation cards to mail, bags to pack for a summer trip, ALL the school papers to wade through, and a kindergarten graduation to attend in the morning. I have a three year-old with the determination and willpower of Thanos, a skin lesion on my chin that should look great in family photos tomorrow, and a 37 year-old body that is refusing to respond to the summer calendar approaching.
I went running with my good friend Kacie this morning. We run almost every Wednesday morning year round. I need Kacie to not only hold me accountable to the exercise, but to movement and growth in every area of my life. She’s the friend that presses in with the questions I don’t always want to answer; about my marriage, my parenting, ministry, hospitality, thought life – you name it. But today she didn’t even ask before I spilled it all. I told her how this month has left me empty. It’s been full of so many good things: so many tasks to accomplish, so many activities to attend, so many fantastic celebrations. And yet, I feel so far removed from actual emotion, spiritual depth, and relational connection. I can go through the motions of sympathy, compassion, and even joy – but the reality is that I’m just not feeling it. So I go to the pantry to try and fix it. I stand and eat straight from the bag, or I go and pick up a kettlebell to work out the emptiness, or I pull up Amazon to shop it out, or I place a hold on another book at the library. I do all of these things in hopes that I can finally feel the way I want to feel. I can fix what’s broken.
Somewhere, in the deepest part of me, I truly believe that if I can just get it all done, or if I could just fit into my jeans, or if I could just parent without shouting, or if I could be a better friend to you, or if I could volunteer more, or just love in ways that matter… THEN I could really make a go of this life.
I confessed my struggle to my husband this weekend and he said something I don’t want to soon forget: “If I could just…” is a dead end road. “If only I…” is not the answer. It’s never the answer for what really aches.
I’m back to the same lie. The lie that promises peace apart from the presence of God. The lie that promises water from empty wells. The lie that wants me to prove my worth, existence and meaning. The lie that has been existence since the very beginning. “What you need lies just outside of God’s rule and God’s reign.”
My friend and pastor, Tyson, blessed us with a benediction this Sunday that’s been rolling around in my emptiness. I can’t get it out of my head.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
When joy feels out of reach, when I don’t know what’s next or how to feel about transitions and changes, I need to get to Him. Like my kids who seek me out when they are hurt or sad or frustrated and just want me to help make it better- God invites that tender care even when I am rough, spent, and rude. If I have any hope at healing, it won’t come from accomplishing more. Joy and eternal pleasures are found when I am near Him. If there’s anything I want this summer, it’s to be holding His right hand.
This is a rambling mess of a post. 5 years ago I would have labored for another hour before posting. It’s 9:45 and I am ready to be still. I’m signing off to wash my face and make the coffee. I don’t feel any more emotionally present than two hours ago, but I do feel hopeful, and that’s something. I know where the joy is found. Meet me there Lord.