I fought around the boxes and the misplaced decorations with the toddler on my hip. The blank walls and empty kitchen cupboards were beginning to taunt me.
Somewhere between the positive pregnancy test, selling our home, and purchasing a new home, life’s requirements began steering our hearts and our schedules.
In the rapid pace of life before our recent move, I did not pause to revel in the powerful moments and memories this home held. I did not take time to reflect on the cries, laughs, fights, love, and victories these walls witnessed. The busyness of life seemed to take control and require my time, energy and attention like never before.
After hours spent packing (with a toddler in tow), cleaning, preparing the home for sell, missing sleep to review finances, interviewing contractors, and attending doctors appointments, it was finally move day.
And not only were we moving, we were leaving for vacation just 48 hours after our move, requiring me to pack and prepare in a very unique and thoughtful manner.
Oh, and not only were we vacationing immediately after we moved, but we invited over 30 people to a house warming/gender reveal party set to occur the week after we returned from vacation.
There is no diagnosis for this sort of crazy. No meds to tame this sort of non-stop “go” mentality. There is simply a robotic version of yourself that you slip into when life begins to take on this sort of pace. A numbness that sets in that allows you to accomplish the task before you and meet the needs of any living creature for which you are responsible.
My eyes popped open with excitement and anticipation on this special day. Move day. The day we had been waiting for. The day we would bid farewell to every problem this home ever held and every activity required by the home buying and moving process. The day we would turn the page and begin a new chapter in a new home that we feel is God’s gift to us in this season.
The morning of our move, the dog needed water and food. Now, where were his water and food bowls? And his food? What did I do with poor Baylor’s food and toys? I rummaged through box after box with Summer whining for “wawa” and breakfast. We desperately needed to leave. The movers would be knocking at our door any minute. My goal was to have Baylor and Summer settled at our friends’ home and return promptly to help direct the movers.
“Aha!” I thought, as I found the items I needed. I quickly fed and watered the dog, and got everyone settled in the car. With the jitters of transition running through my veins, I quickly hollered a “goodbye,” to Ryan. I climbed into the car, threw it in reverse, and began our drive to our friends’ home.
I talked on and on to Baylor and Summer on the drive about the plans of the day. After 3-4 minutes, I realized the car felt awkwardly quiet. I glanced in the rear view mirror to see an empty car! In the haste and scurry of the morning, I had taken the wrong car!
I gasped, pulled a rapid U-turn, and returned as soon as possible to find Summer chatting and laughing at Baylor in the Subaru. Thank God it was Colorado morning so it was still cool and they had only been left for 4 minutes or so.
This should have been my sign. The sign that I needed to slow down. The signal my body was giving me to take a breath, and feel the life happening in and around me. But, in my robotic, busy state, I laughed off the incident and kept going.
And life continued in this way. Though I experienced great joy and overwhelming gratitude as Summer and I played in the new backyard and I began enjoying my new home, my body was in ongoing “go” mode.
Glimpses of my gratitude were captured in photos of Summer in our new yard and brief comments to my husband rather than face down before my King in worship.
Gratitude was captured in quick texts and snapchats to my family about the new home rather than listening and obeying Holy Spirit’s guidance in how I allocated my time.
My thankfulness was displayed in shopping for what I deemed immediate needs such as curtains and throw pillows instead of allowing the Father to knead patience into my soul in the midst of what I had allowed to become a very chaotic season.
I continued to turn busy into chaotic in light of life’s demands at every turn.
Unpack the boxes, pack the suitcases, navigate TSA, bounce the toddler on my lap for 4 hours on the flight eastward, enjoy family vacation, return flight challenges, unpack suitcases, neutralize the tantrum, continue unpacking boxes, shop and prepare for party, cook and dice foods, decorate house, oh yeah and feed my family and change diapers…all while growing an arm and an eye ball.
In the midst of this joyful chaos I told my husband that though I was tired, I was enjoying the busyness. I was enjoying turning my house into a home. I was enjoying adding charm to empty spaces and painting blank walls. And, I was.
Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps you enjoy the rapids of life and the adventures they bring. You may be someone who delights in the flow of constant activity and how it may draw forth your creative nature.
The truth is that sometimes, I enjoy busy! Particularly when I’m moving in a God-ordained, busy season or when I’m afforded the opportunity to operate in my realm of giftings.
If there’s one thing I have learned in this season, it’s that busy is not necessarily ungodly. But godly busy is not chaotic. In fact, a God-ordained, surrendered busy is peaceful and life giving!
Busy can be beautiful.
But an unsurrendered busy season is nothing more than a spiritual and physical vacuum.
Though I enjoyed the process of decorating and bringing certain visions within my home to life, I could have enjoyed it even more had I been surrendered to God along the way.
While this home-making, creative process was feeding part of my soul, it was wearing out my body. Though part of me was coming alive, the other parts of me were running on empty. Those who paid the price were unfortunately those I love most: my family.
My fatigue leaked out in short temperedness and a lack of affection.
The moment I realized I had reached my limits was a morning I’ll never forget.
After tossing and turning throughout the night mulling over party preparation to-do’s, I slugged out of bed and into the nursery. I changed the baby, put on her play clothes, and quickly packed the diaper bag. I couldn’t wait to get to the store and purchase all the items I needed to get ready for this celebration. I ran downstairs and let Baylor outside. I grabbed my keys, my diaper bag, and Summer, and headed for the door.
But, something felt off. I encountered that strange feeling when you know you’re forgetting something important, but simply cannot detect what it is.
I went through my checklist while standing at the door and glanced down to realize, I was not wearing any pants!
This was my sign. The sign at which I chose to stop and meet with the Lord. The place I realized my soul and body were thirsting for God. That I was running on empty.
I wish I had paused and been filled up before I found myself pants-less at the door…I wish I would have paused the moment I took the wrong car and left Summer and Baylor in our old driveway. Or perhaps when I fell asleep at the table signing our home-purchasing agreement. Or maybe when I started having contractions 20 weeks early at Lowe’s Home Improvement store (not to worry they stopped after some water and rest), or maybe when I fell asleep at a stoplight.
But, it took this extreme, silly situation for me to realize just how desperately I needed God. How desperately I needed the rest He offers. And, most importantly, how I needed to slow down and surrender in the midst of this inevitable busy season.
It took this ridiculous moment for me to realize how deeply I thirsted for God and how that thirst permeated my entire being: body, mind, and spirit. How doing life apart from Him, unsurrendered, affects me and those around me.
In this moment, standing pants-less at my door, I understood the importance of knowing my meter like never before. I was reminded of the importance of sitting with my feelings and recognizing when I need to sacrifice pretty for sanity and health. The value of tell by myself “no” and choosing the empty spaces.
My venture to decorate my home could have been more restful and more worshipful had I met with the Lord along the way and co-labored with Him in each creative process.
I could have invited Him into those little projects. Instead, I put my head down and worked. I became task oriented.
Love for people no longer was my focus, love for my new home had become my drive.
I put crayons and movies and playdough and baby dolls in front of Summer, dog toys in front of Baylor, and set about to make my home pretty and comfortable.
And it is pretty. And is becoming more comfortable. But at the expense of potential intimacy with God…
As I stood pants-less at the door, I paused with Summer on my hip and I repented out loud:
“God, how can I be moving so fast that I forgot to even put on pants? More important than pants, how could I be moving so fast and become so distracted that I forgot to invite you into this moment and to pledge my allegiance and love to You before this home and this party!? I have not even sat still to meet with You and worship You since before the move! Forgive me, Father!”
Since then, not much decorating has happened.
I am grateful this revelation occurred early on in our settling-in process. There is still ample opportunity for me and Jesus to enjoy decorating together!
As I began to sit still after this pants-less incident, I was reminded that life can happen on robot mode, as it does for many people. But, oh, how much more abundant life is with Him!!
How much more fun and adventurous the menial tasks and to-do’s of life become when He is the central focus of our heart. When we do life with Him instead of simply for Him.
We all have a meter that helps us detect our level of thirst for God. It reminds us to surrender to Him in the midst of busy. It points to our need to pause and be filled up.
We all have a meter that points us toward rest and worship and away from chaos.
Like a gas light, we all have moments and signs that point out our need to stop and encounter Jesus. To allow His Spirit to fill us, and to sit with a Kingdom mindset regarding the crazy going on around us.
Perhaps your meter is forgetting to eat (I’ll never understand that one!), or forgetting to brush your teeth, or oversleeping your alarm clock, or forgetting to meet with a friend, or overlooking an e-mail or text. Or perhaps it’s when you lash out at your children or spouse, or when you check-out and stare at your phone for hours.
Hopefully it’s not forgetting to wear pants.
Let us not wait until we are empty-tanked on the side of the road, hitchhiking our way home.
I pray I never again wait until I’m standing pants-less at my door to recognize my gas light is on.
I pray I’ll continually be aware of my need for Jesus and my tendency to try to do life without Him!
Lord, I pray you’ll continue to teach me to surrender and love, even and especially in the midst of busy seasons.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate you in the watches of the night. For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.