Entering the subtle warmth of one of many Spring nights, I’ve enjoyed another night of carefree fellowship and laughter with friends … an escape from the reality of what this last season has felt like: anything but carefree. I entered my car like any other night, ready to travel home, sleep, and wake up for either the gym or another day at a job I wasn't entirely sure I was happy about working for, but, #Adulting takes precedence so, here I go. In my 2016 Kia I attempt to press to start (nothing fancy in this day and age) and CLICK CLICK CLICK. That’s all I hear. I’m confused for .05 seconds until what I feared was confirmed: my car battery has DIED died. “UGH!! Why, God?!” is all I can exclaim. You see, this isn’t the first of what felt like a series of unfortunate events for the last couple of months. I literally JUST had help putting four new tires on my car … I wasn’t prepared to get a new battery. Again, I ask Him, “Why is it one thing after another?!”
My prayers lately have felt more like complaints; restless and desperate for something to rescue me. To show up and make everything better. And at this point I was feeling doubt creep in and convince me that, again, no one was going to rescue me. At least not the way I imagined …
You see, I’ve told my therapist multiple times that I felt like I was missing out on something: the comfort of a partner to confide in, share compassion, and feel covered by; like a partner was the missing piece to my peace as I journeyed through the current season of my life. I’ve watched my friends and family have the ability to call on their partners and seek counsel, seek collaboration, seeking stability, seek sustainability. I was resentful. I can honestly say I felt like without a partner, I was shorted on what my late-20s experiences should’ve played out to be. I mean, who else can say that the older they get, they’re excited to journey alone? To accomplish and fail, to explore and rest, to create and build, alone? Yeah, me either.
Very few times have I admitted to feeling alone in a room full of people. I’m known as the extroverted nurturer that will make you either sing or laugh with her until your day was brighter. I find purpose in loving people to joy, in showing up for others … but for the past year, it’s been more difficult to smile that it has been to cry.
I’m no recluse, but my alone time was both something I dreaded but also rarely tried to escape. It comforted and scared me all the same.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I spend hours/days with my #Framily, my GANG gang, my tribe so often that it’s challenging to see this part of me from the outside. I enjoy spending time with my parents, my small group, my YP folks, and my closest friends and cousins so deeply. But when you go through a season of life with a lens that filters the negative, the challenges, and the obstacles so frequently, being grateful for what’s surrounding you can be difficult and exhausting … until I chose to rest.
What I’ve failed to mention is that in trying to fight the negativity, I was doing what I felt I had to do in my power to change my season around — to turn dark skies blue and rainy days sunny. I know I’m not alone when I say that as a generation, we believe the grind, the hustle, will ultimately lead us to peace. But how often did the grind end up being a barrier to seeing God in the challenges? His divine moves to cover us in the storms?
When I reflect on the storms of the past year, I remember crying out to God to rescue me! To give me a way out of a storm. In reality, He was probably telling me to “look up, I’m sending you what you need to get through the storm”.
I had to take a step back from fighting to see that God was showing up to rescue me all along.
I have INCREDIBLE family and friends that show up for me in INDESCRIBABLE ways and I am so grateful for them (they know who they are). From a night of watching movies and sipping wine, to offering their literal homes and cars, to grand gestures that I’m still in shock I’ve received. God is funny the way He answers prayers with those that have prayed with me. I never imagined His provision like this … tears are one of the gifts of gratitude I offered both my tribe and my God when I took the filter off and embraced the vulnerability of letting God be my refuge, my rescue, my rock.
Once we release the urge to fight and scrape through obstacles, we leave room to breathe and rest in what God is doing. Alongside our faith, God needs our rest. We know that “faith without works is dead” but the works is not that done by our own might, but in BELIEVING that God will do what He’s promised. Carefully think back to what dream your heart beats for, the purpose you pursue with passion, the moments of life you receive when you walk in your calling … it’s these present and future promised moments that God wants us to abundantly live in, right? So why on earth can trials and obstacles convince us that what we’ve imagined for ourselves is no longer attainable? REST in His promises and provision. We are DESERVING.
So how do we do that? Take the time to breathe, to see, and to rest.
I’ve had to take literally deep breaths when obstacles of any kind come up. When we’re anxious or stressed or overwhelmed, our bodies respond by either fighting, freezing, or fleeing. Taking a couple deep breaths before making a decision can give your mind and heart the chance to align and challenge the stress with the Truth of God’s Word.
Open your eyes. Remove the filter. The same way that a filter on Instagram can slightly change the way we see a photo, our thoughts can do the same with the way we see life. Give yourself the opportunity to see what’s happening around you through a lens of gratitude. No, this will not always be easy and sometimes it’s not going to happen immediately. But please believe me when I say, life is not out to get us. And with gratitude, we can see what God is doing through the trials and what lessons we can take with us along the way.
I used to feel guilty for saying “no” but recently, with a renewed sense of peace, I rest so much easier. Rest may not always look like a night in watching Netflix on the couch cuddle with my dog and a glass of sangria, but it can look like doing what’s best for me. Saying “no” to overthinking can free my mind and body up for a great workout, a moment to walk around the park and listen to music, and the time to cook my favorite meal and enjoy time with friends. Resting is not stressing what we already know God will work out. Taking steps to collaborate with Him instead of fighting on our own or even worse, against His will. Rest … He’s got this. He’s got you.
Journey freed and beautiful through it all, love. I am a testimony that God will ALWAYS show up and come through. And although the story isn’t perfect, it’s nowhere near over. I’ll live and write mine if you promise to live yours. It’ll be more incredible than we can imagine.