Trading Incessant Doing for Restful Being
I recently encountered my first full-on wall of writer’s block in a long, long time. It’s not so much that the words weren’t there but more so that my belief in their weight started to escape me.
I started viewing them as something that had to teach, prove, strive, and do. I got away from the way the made me feel, how they described what was, what is, and what I hope they’d someday stand for.
It’s as if I’d been trying to live outside my current experience and describe something that wasn’t quite yet mine to share. Because it’s hard to write on a mere epiphany. A momentary revelation doesn’t paint the full picture and it certainly doesn’t leave the same footsteps as having trudged through the long, and often muddy path over time.
As a writer (or really, just as a human being), it’s easy to wonder whether my current experience and expression is good enough. Will it someday be good enough to stand against the greats? Will it assert enough authority, knowledge and wisdom? Will it show me to be capable and accomplished enough?
Ugh. It always has to come back to this idea of ‘enough’, doesn’t it?
The question of ‘enough’ is the evil temptress for my writer’s block. The more I work for the sake of doing enough versus operating from a state of being enough, the more my words feel dry, empty and void.
That is the most painful experience of them all. Because ironically, I no longer worry as much when I feel sensitive, when I cry, when my heart has been hurt or when it hurts for others.
It’s no longer the depth of emotion that I fear. It’s the absence of it.
I worry when there is numbness and confusion, apathy and disdain in my life. I worry when I feel too consumed and muted by the world’s flow of incessant ‘doing’ to notice the range of emotions and rhythms in front of me.
Ceaseless striving becomes the mask I wear, covering my doubts and insecurities in an attempt to take back control. Then my ability to become excruciatingly hard on myself always hits me like the wave set I didn’t see coming. Instead of waiting out its tumultuous undertow in peaceful stillness, I engage with the toss and turn of the currents, fighting a losing battle, but giving it a hell of a shot.
Because fighting, justifying, running, and doing has somehow become a whole lot easier than sitting under the pressure, being with it, experiencing its weight, and knowing full well – I’ll reemerge.
There are times we have to fight with everything in us to catch a breath of fresh air. There are also times when we’re the only ones preventing ourselves from being able to do so.
There are also seasons where some things just don’t grow as well as others, and we’re in need of unearthing what was planted in vain and vanity. Weeds can still grow in our attempts at a perfectly watered and planted garden.
We can add more plants, desperately desiring more blooms, only to become all the more possessed by control and consumption. We continually feed our dire need of knowing we’re still called, capable, responsible, and fully alive (in our own strength).
Yet, as we come up for air, stop our running, or look around at our flower beds, we see the waves and weeds still exist. The cycle continues and we find ourselves perpetually exhausted in the chase after our own agendas.
It is often only at our breaking point we encounter the harsh reality – we are not the givers or sustainers of life.
We are the receivers of it. We are here to steward it, not just to merely survive it, while ever-approaching burn out.
It’s in these moments of unearthing and undoing that I’m most convicted: I don’t want to live a life of my own watering. I don’t want to drown out my true nature, for the one I think I need to prove.
Because a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will always be something I crave, desire and hold with complete reverence. I’m obsessed with the Hebrew meaning of the word ‘yirah’, which describes the Godly kind of fear—or awe, that we experience in His presence.
Aside from sunsets and celebrations— you know what else stirs that feeling of ‘yirah’? Trials. Long seasons of struggle. Hot, ugly cry sessions. Heartache and misfortune. The conviction of our shortcomings. An awareness of our flawed human nature.
Followed by, an encounter with our holy, perfect, and ever-loving God who never fails to redeem, restore, & redefine the plan and purpose for our lives. And in that purpose, He calls us by name, saying, “Dear Child, Be still. Return to me. Do not be overwhelmed.”
Funny how we can have “His provision, His protection, His promises, and even His presence” and still allow ourselves to become so blinded by our ‘problems’ – real or self-created.
But I am still breathing, and if you’re reading this, you are, too. That also means, God is still working in our situations – and in our souls.
Even when I’ve forgotten the rhythm, He returns to me the sweetest of melodies with a chorus singing ‘come to me’ – “all you who are weary and burdened, come to me and I will give you rest”. [Matthew 11:28]
True rest, soul rest. An ever-quenched thirst from living water.
And with that, the walls come down and the words return. Emotions are still and hope is restored.
He’s always in the undoing. He’s in the waiting.
He lives in the in-between, the unfinished sentence…and He’s waiting with open arms.