The number of days since I have written an original article for both Grow in Virtue, my blog, or for Catholic Exchange.
Not. A. Single. Word.
Have I been ill? Was my computer broken? Or perhaps I was doing something fun, like traveling the world?
Just completely… and utterly… uninspired.
You see, historically, I don’t deal well with life changes. In fact, change can be my nemesis. And during these unavoidable times of transition, I tend to hold my breath.
I’m more inclined to sit quietly and observe what is going on around me, versus actively taking part in it.
I certainly don’t need to get into the details of these changes. We all know what they are, having spent the last year and half living through them.
But in the end, it’s these changes, adjustments and unavoidable pivots that shape us, and define how we grow. And while it’s natural to drop anchor for a while, in a place that feels safe and comfortable, at some point, our hearts and our minds yearn to move. To adjust. To continue on in whatever shape that takes.
For me, I recently decided that continuing on meant taking a “time out”. Back in June, I hit a wall. I literally felt like I had nothing left to give. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.
Revisiting the past (something I’m not entirely good at), I realized that for the past 10 years I hadn’t stopped moving. I went from working a high-paced corporate job and taking care of my mother in her last years, to relocating to a new home, to starting my own business.
And then, adding into the mix the social and political climate, I was tired.
So, I hit the pause button. A sabbatical.
I handed over the reins of the business to my business partner, and I started a summer of mentally slowing down. I realized that although many people think movement and progress are the way to go, sometimes there is more strength in simply exercising the power to stand still.
Of course, as always, many of my friends and family members thought I was nuts. I tend to get this a lot.
But I knew I needed it—that God was calling me to it.
And often in life, we need a reminder that forward motion is rarely a straight line, but can also take the form of standing still, backing up, or even walking in circles while we wait for the path ahead to clear.
So, I decided to do something that I’m also not entirely good at: trusting in God.
To trust that He is going to guide me along the way. To truly believe this and do my best to allow all of my fears to fall by the wayside. If God is taking care of me, why should I fear? Or do I believe He is really taking care of me? Something to think about.
I read somewhere and I always find it interesting that the most repeated phrase in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid!” or “Have no fear!”
I would imagine that God sent us this message so frequently because fear is such a big part of human nature. Fear can alert us to dangers in our lives to keep us safe, but fear can also lead us astray, toward selfish responses or becoming obsessed over things that we should never obsess over.
It’s funny. I find it interesting how, as humans, we are often so easily fooled by appearances. Some people are only impressed (or satisfied) by what they can visibly see or touch.
But how is that trusting in God? Blessed are they who have believed and have not seen…
Is it not better to prove our sincerity and devotion by having a firm trust in God’s wisdom and assistance, no matter what happens in our daily lives?
This includes my pause-button fears:
- Will I be able to find work again after taking my sabbatical?
- Do I have enough money saved up to pay my bills during my time off?
- What will my friends and family think of my decision?
Well, I can say, now being over a month into my sabbatical… I’m doing ok. In fact, I’m doing more than ok. I’m doing great.
I really felt that God spoke to my heart, telling me that I needed this. And as a result, I’m now less anxious. I’m less stressed. I’m smiling and laughing more. Really—no joke. And my mind is slowly beginning to clear the mental clutter and noise of the past 10 years.
Yes, I now live with far less money and security. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing in a month, or even a year from now. And that can be a bit scary.
But it’s also very important to remember that God can never want anything for us, except that which is best for us. He created us for only one reason—to give us the all-satisfying happiness which our heart craves and desires. His very life—given freely to us.
Our mistake lies in seeing life with only a worldly outlook, and not realizing that the truly good things in life are not what we have spent days, months, or even years coveting and desiring.
For me I’m learning (and oh is it not always easy) to place my life in His hands and to leave it there. Even when it means standing still for a time and learning how not to be so overly anxious about “the unknowns”. And realizing (and believing) that God will always provide what is truly best for me. In this is my hope.
And who knows, perhaps my next article won’t be written in another 458 days… but hopefully a bit sooner.