I was sick to my stomach. Barely holding it together as I walked into the bakery, my two-year old in tow, holding my shaking hand. I was sure of my decision, just wildly nervous about the ripple effects. Before I could even sip my coffee, I spilled out to my business partner that I was done. That it had been a wild ride for five years, but the reality was I couldn’t split myself in half any longer. The way my family worked and lived, it was time to make the hard choice, so I gave up one part of my life, part of me, to save the other.
We all have spaces in our life where we are compelled, by one force or another, to work with, play with, live with others. Some of us are built solid to withstand all sorts of this social stimuli; personalities, conversations, dramas, outside of our box thinking: just as naturally as breathing. They have skin that deflects all but the most meaningful messages. Transitions can be easily absorbed, completed fairly effortlessly. All impressive traits, more like a gift of temperament. They are, in a word, unflappable.
On the far side of the spectrum, there are those of us who are molded like sponges. When we walk into a room, we can immediately take in the atmosphere, the mood, the social structure, the personalities, all in one deep breath. Navigating groups of one to millions can be beautiful one day, soul draining another. These qualities are complex, to be gifted in such a sensing way makes for strongly emotional people, more likely to go through the entire range of human emotions in a day than their uniquely focused counterparts. Whether you know it or not, and probably being an extreme of one of the above groups means that you do know, every time you interact with another, these dynamics are set in motion. I’m no physicist, but this applies to people too: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Much of the time in our worlds, we spend our hours bouncing off of each other like a crazy game of, like, bouncing balls off each other. Maybe I’m thinking of dodgeball, which interestingly, is a hot button issue and is banned in some school districts, while alternately being offered as an adult excercise class in many cities. It is true that in all these human dodgeball games there are multitudes of distinctions and differences, bits and pieces of parts of spectrums in each and every designed DNA. The human body is vastly complex; I suspect there are functions that will still not be scientifically understood for millennial to come. There are scores of orphan diseases to cure, brain processes to decode, and then there are still those pesky “miracles” that haven’t been scientifically proven and published in JAMA. Wef truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Regardless of how you are constructed, inevitably, there will be a time for you to move on. I knew it then, that spring that I had to leave my business. That otherworldly pulling, the thoughts that kept coming back, the peace of knowing the path to take, that was all there. Being of a complex disposition means that for me, transitions of any kind are less than smooth. For a girl who craves movement, change, new, excitement, etc., I am continually taken by surprise at how catastrophic a switch can be for me. When I made the choice to cut the rope that held me to the “outside” world, I lost much. At first, it was a relief to be able to wholly focus on my kids, my marriage, my home. What I had not anticipated was how much I would miss the connections with people.
You grow close to people who you’ve walked through storm and beauty with. I had learned so much about the capacity of human heart from many of the people I had been blessed to come to know, and who had gifted me with true friendship. Their words and the good (and hard) memories stored away from that time of my life still come back to me, just when I need them. Nonetheless, tearing myself away from the fabric of hard-fought work left me wondering who I was, what defined me, and at my shaken core, what was my worth?
That season of change, it was clear that I had to prune back some area of my life, stat, to allow other areas to grow. Now I’m facing a reversal of that; I’m feeling the familiar tugging of needing to do-something. There is something more missing. God has been so good in the ways He has redeemed the desert years for my family, and for me. He has brought healing in ways I could never have imagined, restored relationships, and has given me sweet time and broad spaces to carefully remove the tourniquet I’d tied over the gaping wound of my heart. I know He is always at work in me and through me. This, though? This is a different, larger campaign.
I believe our Creator gives us times of refreshing, maybe not when we would have chosen to take a break, sabbatical from what we think we are supposed to be doing, using detours to redirect our motion toward discovering the unique way He created me, and you, and all of the billions of us inhabiting His world, to work as pieces of a whole. When we do find a place and community and work for our hands, because this is a broken world, people are deeply imperfect, and relationships are messy, the results may often not look like much at all to the naked eye.
But here’s the deal, God has good reason to not be surprised at our imperfect efforts. He already knows us, we cannot hide from Him. There is no need to build an impressive resume, to be ‘successful’ in the way the world defines, or to fashion a glossy magazine worthy spread of home and family. He has always looked at the heart. Our hearts, beating with his freeing blood.
This time around I may have no idea “what I am supposed to be doing”. I may never. If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that whatever our temperament, whoever we work side by side with, wherever the situation may be; He views us with a massive love, seeing us not as we see with human eyes, but through the lens of grace, and love; in a word, Jesus.