As I seek to process this last semester, it has been such a whirlwind of events. A relentless sequence of 12-15 hour days each day of the week with weekends spent catching up and then it all began again. I barely breathed, rested, processed, or thought. I just went kept on going and stuck to the calendar and did the next thing. On and on I went and went.
Yet, I had no complaints in what I was doing. I thoroughly loved every single thing that I was doing and I felt God was blessing me so richly in having the opportunities to go to school, intern, serve in Epic, take part in other orgs, etc. There is no way I can complain about any of those things, all of which are incredible blessings that my heart grew in thankfulness for. What privilege and blessing that I did not deserve to take part in.
Being on the other side of all of this though, I see that all of this goodness was all too much. I never stopped. I just kept on going, slowly finding satisfaction and victory in how busy I was and in how much I was doing. Nobody else’s lives seemed to be quite as busy or full as mine, and my eyes were clouded and heart were so consumed in myself that I could not see the struggles that my friends around me were facing. I ignored them, neglected them…and “being so busy” seemed to be good enough of an excuse to keep on going with my own life, half-heartedly pausing to hear about others lives…but never really stopping at all.
My heart took a hit, too. I love to process the things the Lord does in my life. I love thinking about my feelings and pondering all that I’m learning. I love to journal and reflect, I love sitting and soaking in all that I’m experiencing and dreaming for what God could do next. I love laying on the ground in my room just waiting on the Lord to speak to me and to fill my heart up, each day. Sitting, being still, breathing, waiting, being silent – these things fill me up. These things also take time. Time that couldn’t really be set apart on my google calendar and “time that I didn’t have.” Yet, I so desperately need this time for my heart to be full. For my eyes to see beyond what life seems to be. For perspective to be eternal. I need that time – my heart and soul and depths of my being so desperately need that time.
I’m reminded of my friend Martha whenever Jesus comes to her house and the way her sister Mary sat at His feet while she kept on going and going to get everything ready. There’s probably way more to the story than we really know…but I know that Jesus is sending me the same message that He was giving to Martha. Meagan, you are worried and anxious about many things, but I want you to choose what is better…I want you to choose me because what I have to give to you can never be taken from you.
My answer, too often, is yes. Yes, I will stay longer…Yes, I can do that…Yes, I will be here…Yes, I’ll volunteer…you want me to go above and beyond? Yes, I’m all for that! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I will suck it up and do it and I will even smile while I do it too. My heart may have started out cheerfully serving, but as time goes on and the yes’s pile upon each other…my heart’s cheerfulness fades away as I drain all of my energies and never take the time to be filled up by the only One who can fill me up. I wish it wasn’t this way, but as long as I am human I know that there are limits on what I can do and can’t do. My yes does not make up for all of the other no’s that other people have said…and when I try to counteract other’s “no’s” by saying yes…it does not fix anything.
I’ve reached a point in my life I have had practice saying no. I used to say yes to everything. Now, I just say yes to the things that I actually want to do. But, what happens when there are tons of things that my heart longs to do? What happens when I’ve filled my life with things that I love, yet it is all too much? What happens when all of the things that I’m doing truly are blessings that I don’t deserve to begin with? How do I walk away from any of it at all?
It is so much harder than I’d ever imagined. Nobody is telling me to walk away. Nobody is telling me that I have to stop doing so much.
But, my heart knows so deeply that the Lord is calling me to walk away. The Lord longs for my heart to be back with Him. I know that I need time to just sit. To rest. To breathe. To process. And to soak in all that the Lord is speaking to me. Life cannot go on without that and I have to fight for that time. Even if it means that I have to give up something that is so dear and precious to my heart.
On the outside, everything about this seems so hard and so difficult and so wrong. Yet, at the core of my being, I know that the Lord is calling my heart back to His and it starts with making time to rest and to breathe. I can’t expect everyone to understand me and understand why I have to make this decision. Yet, what matters most is my relationship with the Lord – and that is where my priority is. Not with any group of kids or people or things. My priority is in the Lord. So, maybe it’s not that I need to say “no” to what this world offers, but maybe I need to say “yes” to the Lord – no matter what that looks like or seems to be for other people.