Busy is not even close to describing the season I have just come out of. In the last 18 months, I have…
- Said goodbye to my grandmother
- Walked with a friend through the traumatic loss of her son
- Started ministry school
- Travelled out-of-state A LOT
- Graduated our son from High School
- Moved our son to college
- Moved our daughter to Alabama for an internship
- Graduated daughter from college
- Helped plan our daughter’s wedding
- Married off our daughter
- Watched as my husband finished and graduated with his doctoral degree
- Developed a ministry
- And more…
Honestly, it’s exhausting trying to remember it all so I just stopped writing! Ha!
Needless to say, I have been tired- mentally, emotionally, and physically. I believe it is safe to say I have never had a season like this and it makes my eyes twitch to read the above list!
Being an introspective person, it is natural for me to frequently reflect, journal, and process life. I enjoy sitting with the Lord and letting Him unpack things with me. Weird, I know. Because of the intense season I have been in, I have not had the opportunities to sit and reflect as often as I would like. And to take it one step further, because of the busyness and the exhaustion that accompanied it, I didn’t even WANT to reflect. If you think me ENJOYING the reflection process is weird, me NOT WANTING to reflect is even weirder.
Why would I avoid this? I know the immense benefits- spiritually, emotionally, and mentally! It makes no sense why I would have avoided time to “purge” and be refilled by Holy Spirit. Emptying the contents of my heart is always healing for me and looking back, it baffles me why I would have deprived myself of it, even if the occurrence was infrequent.
Outwardly, the times I sat with the Lord still looked the same: I gathered my journal, my bible, and pens, and curled up on my gray chair. I would start to journal something or I would read scripture. Some days would prove beneficial, but more days proved to simply be me passing the time. There were invitations from God to reflect, but often, I didn’t accept the invite. I was tired, worn out, and simply too busy to put forth the effort. I became detached.
The longer this went on, the worse it got. Detached from my emotions, detached from God, detached from what was going on in my heart. The voice of busyness became louder and louder and the voice of God grew dim. I longed for His voice but couldn’t quite grasp it. The major life events kept rolling in- like endless waves in a sea of storms. Instead of stopping and prioritizing time to reflect and truly BE with the Lord, I pressed on. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful reality to persevere through the busyness, finding the Lord, as you are able, in the midst of it. On the other hand, it’s a sad reality to persevere through the busyness, allowing the wind of the Spirit to slip through your hands. Busy seasons will come, but we don’t have to lose the sweetness we have with The One who breathes His life on us, giving us the energy for the very things that are sweeping us away from our Savior.
My reflection time became a time to tell myself Truth. Instead of conversing with my God, talking to and listening for His Voice, I [only] read Truth. I love God’s Word and His Truth is life-giving. I am thankful that I have developed the habit of being in His Word regularly. It is an anchor in all of life and especially in difficult seasons. However, I was reminded of something during this time. Piling God’s Word ON TOP of a full heart does not do much to transform. Piling His Truth ON TOP of lies, does not take away the lies. Piling God’s Word ON TOP of hurts does not take away the hurts. God’s Word can only transform when we come to Him humbly and openly, FIRST emptying our hearts so that He can REPLACE what was there with His Truth.
Oftentimes, we want to simply will ourselves to believing God’s Word. We tell ourselves, “if I just repeat this verse enough, I’ll believe it and I’ll change.” While telling ourselves the Truth is a great thing, I believe God has a much grander way to truly transform us. Telling ourselves Truth doesn’t require vulnerability. It doesn’t require much humility or reflection of our hearts, hurts, sins, and circumstances. It is quick, quite painless, and doesn’t take much thought on our part. Don’t get me wrong- I believe in quoting scripture, memorizing the Word, and reminding ourselves what God says! However, there’s so much more and it is so deeply transformative.
Instead of closing our hearts to God, shaming ourselves for struggling and keeping it inside, what if we slowed down- even in the busyness- and poured our hearts out before the Lord? What if we allowed Him to hear it all- every last detail of our ornate hearts? What then? Perhaps He would then have space to pour Himself into us, replacing all of the sadness, hurt, difficulties, shame, and whatever else may be swimming around. Maybe then the Truth we tell ourselves would stick to the roots of our hearts. It could sink deep into the base of our souls and we would truly be transformed: one emptying of our heart at a time.
An overwhelmed heart is a heart with an invitation. He holds His hands out to you, inviting you to pour the muddy water of your heart onto Him. He desires to hold your thoughts and emotions in the palm of His hand. An emptied heart is a ripe heart. As He holds your thoughts and emotions, He mixes them with His Love and He stirs your soul. We sit with Him, waiting as He stirs, mixes, and makes a wine perfectly crafted for you. Finally, He pours out what you have given Him as a New Wine in your soul. It is a beautiful exchange- a true miracle. Every time we pour ourselves out on the Savior, humbling ourselves, becoming honest, and listening, a beautiful exchange occurs. It is transformative. THIS is God’s miraculous walk into transformation.
Eventually, my heart did pour out- whether I was busy or not, it wouldn’t wait any longer. And my Savior was there to hold it, love it, and transform it.
Do you have an overwhelmed heart? May I challenge you to come as a child to The One who can hold and handle your heart with gentleness and Truth? Busyness will always be vying for our attention. And God will be waiting, hands ready to receive you- overwhelmed heart and all.