Never has it been more clear to me that humans are intricately, intentionally connected beings – spirit, soul, mind, body – and each part relies on the others in order to thrive.
I’m being healed of adrenal fatigue thank you, Jesus. After many months, the longest, darkest, hardest season of my life is finally showing some outward signs of hope, and I’m responding with joy. Carrying the flame of hope is a struggle, a daily battle, a journey not for the faint of heart nor the apathetic. I moved to a farm deeper into the Willamette Valley, and I can’t articulate fully to you just how vital that move has been for my healing. At least, I think, it’s evident in my smile which is back in fullness.
Just about every day, I take a walk around the perimeter of the farm. I only take my phone along for pictures; otherwise, the walk is marked by steady steps in my muck boots, the two farm dogs that accompany me (one who is going blind and has completely stolen my heart) and my deep, deep breaths. Sometimes I talk out loud to them, or to God, and sometimes I sing. Most of the time, I’m just quiet. Breathing. Looking around. Taking in the glory of open space and skies. I can’t remember the last time I felt so overwhelmingly content with myself…even though I am still getting to know this version of me, who is totally other than who I was before.
Back to humans being connected – all parts of us. If one part suffers, eventually, all parts will suffer.
Here is what I articulated to my spiritual director last week: Looking back at my life after the Redding season, I observe that I “burnt out” four times in five years. The first three burn-outs were a matter of working fulltime + serving 10-15 hours a week at church + normal life stuff. The result was, I quit everything except my job, and then slowly but steadily added things back in until I was over-committed again…then burnt out…rinse, and repeat.
This last burn-out came after I thought I’d wised up: I scaled way, way back on weekly commitments so that I was only working fulltime + volunteering 2 hours in one area of ministry + adding a silence and solitude practice + honoring a weekly Sabbath + working on mindfulness.
It came even though my daily life included eating clean almost always; building physical and mental strength through workouts and running five miles a week; sleeping 8-9 hours a night; seeing my therapist once a week; attending my supportive and encouraging home group weekly; leading worship for women’s events at my church.
It came as a crash…this time, my body calling time out, and I had to quit that “life” as I knew it.
By all appearances, I was living in “healthy” and “balanced” ways – my body and my spirit were totally thriving. But my soul and my heart were suffering from the trauma of my parents’ divorce (two year process), rising tensions in some family relationships, trying to keep up the family home and land, and a stressful position at a job that I only loved because of the great team and the great money.
As I’ve crawled out of the hole of extended illness the last month – stripped of everything I relied on for health and security and solidarity – I began to say to the Lord, “You have to teach me a different way to do life. Obviously, what I thought worked still led to my ship wrecking.”
Now, in all honesty, my ship needed to wreck. In His glorious kindness that makes me teary when I talk about it, He saw past what I portrayed on the outside to the bondage that was rooted in the very depths of me, and wasn’t content to let me live another day not knowing freedom. The process with Him has been so beautiful and complicated; there is no way I could unpack everything even if I blogged every day for months on a different lesson He’s taught and is teaching me. Suffice it to say, this is the one thing I’m sorting out with Him every single day: teach me how to live whole.
Teach me to live as Jesus did: everything He did was from a place of knowing how loved He was; from a place of rest; from a place of compassion for those around him – not obligation or duty; from an unhurried, willingness-to-be-interrupted place.
So I’m learning. I’m learning as I sit daily in His presence and listen to His voice. I’m learning as I listen to my body, laying down when I need to, eating when I need to. I’m learning as I receive real-time Holy Spirit wisdom, like yesterday at the grocery store: “there’s no need for Us to rush.” So I slow. I breathe. I settle. I’m learning.