There’s been an electric fan whirring inside me most of my life.
Whir, whir…spin, spin. Faster, faster… hurry, hurry!
Hurry up and get into college, soak up every minute, and graduate.
Hurry up and meet someone and get married and start a career.
Whirrrr…move to a place where we don’t know a soul.. hurry… make friends… find a job doing what I love…make it home.
Spin, spin…when will we have kids? How long ’til they sleep through the night? When do they potty train? When will they stop whining and speak? When will they stop talking?
What is my purpose? What did you create me for, Lord? How can I serve? What shall I do? Whir, whir, whir!
I so easily get lost living for the next moment, the next who’s coming over for dinner?, the next trip. When? when? when?… whir, whir, whir! And it’s not always bad. My futuristic focus has enabled me to plan events, pull together last-minute dinner parties, put time into creating personal adventure days with my boys, plan surprise celebrations for family… The spinning pushes me to get ‘er done and as long as it aligns with honoring my Lord, and enhancing- not sacrificing- my family or my sanity, I’m thankful for the go-getter fan pushing me forward.
It’s when the whir, the hurry, the spinning of the fan, gets so loud that I can’t hear myself think and I realize I’ve lost focus. Or more so, I’ve thrown the hurry, hurry, hurry so far in the future, I can’t run fast enough to catch up with it!
As Mother Teresa said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
And then out of nowhere, the rock in our extended family, my dad- my hero and biggest cheerleader- dies!
Suddenly the fan comes to a screeching halt! My typically large margin shrinks in seconds. I find what before birthed energy – being with people and hostessing and opening our home – disintegrates. Instead, I’m now frozen with exhaustion, paralyzed by the sad reality that I have nothing to give. Anyone. Barely even my boys and hubby. And it’s the scariest feeling I’ve ever experienced!
It’s not just grieving my dad, it’s an unexpected humble layer that, for the first time, my identity is not found in anything I can do or give.
And I hate it.
I hate it for a million reasons. I hate that I walk into the kitchen to make the boys a sandwich and completely forget what I’m doing. I hate that crowds overwhelm and that it takes every ounce to be present for my family right now. I hate that I feel so delayed, and that it takes four times as long to process words, and that at some point in the day I can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be a puddle somewhere. I’m so thankful it won’t be like this forever. Dinner parties, preschool involvement, carpool and play-dates will resume, but for now, I’m taking time to let God fill me from the inside out.
And yet, I am so thankful. So, so thankful! I can’t ignore that God has been drawing me to still this inner fan, to silence the whirring and spinning. The last couple years, I’ve been convicted to live more intentionally, to pause and breathe deeply, and embrace His beauty all-around, yet, it’s been a fight, an inner tug-of-war. And now, there’s no energy for the fight and so I rest in the pivotal, humble, freeing fact that I desperately need my Savior’s Peace. I need it to survive. It’s one of those where -the-rubber-meets-the-road life lessons. My head knows my worth is not in what I do, but the tilt of my head, and open-mouthed really? questions it. Can God really love me wholly, even when I’m not bringing a lot to Him, to anyone, when I’m not offering the best of my gifts? The answer is yes! A resounding, grace-wrapped yes!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Freeing, humbling, peaceful… my truth words these days. I can honestly say, if I had to lose my dad in order for God to grab my attention and gently ask that I depend on Him for my next breath; to face my biggest fear that my identity comes in nothing short of “just being”, then so be it! A hard pill to swallow indeed.
Because really, when have I so desperately needed Jesus until now? Sure, we’ve had hard times; moves, new communities, job changes, quarter-life crisis’, short sales, marriage tangles, rejections and disappointments… for years I see how God has pulled me towards Him, calling me to let Him offer Peace when nothing else makes sense. Yet time and time again I’ve always managed to bring something to the table, even if it was my positive, we can do this spirit. And now… I can’t do it! I have nothing to bring or contribute or give or create. I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to live another moment relying on a morsel of my strength, I don’t want to breathe another breath without needing Him. I refuse to let the tomorrows and next weeks and the future cut off His life-giving Peace supply.
For the first time, the fan is quiet. My insides are still. I’m listening, really listening to what God is doing today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not when the boys are in school and I have time for me, but in the seconds that lead to minutes that usher in the hours of today. Today, God brings Peace, and I’m no longer thinking or dreaming or living in the what if’s, the when’s …. I’m resting in today, and today I whisper, thank you. Thank you Jesus for Your Peace in the midst of pain. Thank you for calming a whirring fan in this soul.
I look back at the road I’ve walked, the I-think-I’m-giving-God-my-everything, I-know-He-loves-me-unconditionally road, and I wish I could tell myself then, what I’m learning now. To the newlywed city girl meets small town Atascadero I’d say this: Continue planning and dreaming and asking questions and listening to God’s Spirit move, but don’t lose sight of the everyday journey leading to the future. To the wife and mom with a passion to share life with others, hear this: Listen to your inner fan, listen to the spinning, and when it’s deafening and you can no longer see God’s joy in the present, when you can’t hear His voice, or you can’t find contentment in what today holds, maybe, just maybe, you stopped completely depending on Him, and instead, you are depending on yourself. Perhaps your positive, likes-to-be-in- control and know-what’s-around-the-bend-plan leaves you feeling uncomfortable when thwarted because it is! And this is where God will meet you if you simply let go of your own expectations, when you stop worrying what others think or don’t think, when you find your comfort and identity in allowing God’s strength and timing to lead louder than any other voice, when you fully understand what it is to cling to Him day by day… starting now!
What about you? Does your inner fan bring contentment? Is it’s whir comfortable and un-forced and intentional? Or do you find yourself at times in the day wondering, “How did I get here? Why am I doing this? Where is the joy and peace… where is my identity and value? Where is God in all this? Is He at the end of my to-do list, or at the core of my needs?
My prayer is that all of us could untangle the string of should’s, when’s and what if’s that heavy us, and instead release them to our Heavenly Father. A Father that desires to give good gifts to His children, starting with Peace.
I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate. ~ Oswald Chambers