“Do-er”

Time to be real.

The last few months have been difficult. But not in the way that I would say I have a bad life or nothing goes my way. In fact, everything is going amazing. School has been great, work has been great, I’ve had more time to be at home, my health has been better, and God has been blessing me in every way.

My “problem” with this season is a heart problem. It’s me not being open to change. Actually, it’s me not being open to rest. At the beginning of the semester I had prepared to take on a very heavy work load for school. I was going to take five courses at Blue Ridge over the semester plus one class at home. The first week of school, I dropped two of those classes because I was overwhelmed.

Saying “no” to something like that is not something I typically do. I’ve always been the person to push through the stress and anxiety, push through the exhaustion, and push through the chaos because it will make the break at the end feel so much better, right?

Except, what happens when I don’t have a break on the other end?

Last semester, I had a friend gently remind me that it’s okay to take a day to myself and just not DO anything. Those days were the most refreshing and peaceful days I had all semester because I was able to escape the craziness and breathe. This semester, I have so much more time to breathe, but instead I find myself trying to fill that time with whatever I can, whether it be productive or just something mind-numbing.

I am addicted to “doing”.

As odd as that sounds, as I go through this semester of “withdrawal”, I can’t help craving the chaos I was so used to for years. I find myself wishing I could go back to the way I was last year and be that driven and be doing that much.

What I have struggled to realize is resting is doing something, too. Although it’s different, resting is just as important, if not more than doing everything. In Matthew 11: 28-29 it says:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment in me.”

Matthew 11: 28-29 (TPT)

Something that has also changed over the last semester is I am pursuing my relationship with God more than I have in a long time. And breaking down this verse, you can see that as we join our lives with him, we have to learn his ways. As we draw closer to God, we find refreshment. That’s not optional.

Another part of that verse is seeing that as we discover more of who he is, we also learn that he is easy to please. This is something I forget often and I think a lot of my trouble with resting stems from it. When I am not doing something, I feel like I am letting people down, even if “people” is God or myself. When I’m not doing something, I feel like I become useless. I have placed so much of my identity in the things I do, I forget that the one my identity is secured in doesn’t care. That B on my midterm I beat myself up about last week? God doesn’t love me any less because of it. In fact, he doesn’t even see it. What he does see is me hurting myself because instead of focusing on his incredible love for me I have chosen only to see my minuscule, unimportant “failure”.

God cares about us. He loves us so much. He wants us to be full, refreshed, and rested. As we align ourselves with him, part of our walk will have to change to allow more time to let him refresh and fill us. There is still a time to work and get things done, but he teaches us we can’t do that alone and we shouldn’t ever be doing it to try and please him. And, he teaches us the power of saying “no”.

“No” is a negative word in nature, but God teaches us it can actually be a positive. Because when we say no to something, we say yes to something else. When I say no to eating lunch, chances are I will be very hungry in a few hours and result to eating half a bag of chocolates that are sitting in my room. But, if I realize what I would be saying yes to later before I decide not to eat lunch, I probably would make a better decision. (Not that chocolate is a bad decision, of course. I love chocolate.)

When I learn what my “yes’s” are in this season, it makes it much easier and healthier to say “no” to things that don’t align with them. Saying no still sucks, but I have a good reason for doing it.

This season, as hard as it may be, I am having to learn how to say “no” to the chaos, because instead, I am saying “yes” to God. I am saying “yes” to resting. I am saying “yes” to taking care of myself. I may not be doing as much or doing what I want, but in reality, I am doing something that will impact me much more in life than an A on a test in one of my classes.

Father, thank you for not holding me to my standards. Thank you for loving me so much and showing me how to rest and be refreshed by you. Help me to grow in that and learn to truly appreciate this season of rest. Thank you for everything in advance.

Two

“You know I’ll take my heart clean apart

If it helps yours beat”

~ “Atlas: Two” by Sleeping at Last

This morning, I came downstairs to hear my mom listening to Sleeping at Last. I love him, but was curious why my mom had chosen to listen to him because it was not her usual music choice. She mentioned that she was attempting to figure out her Enneagram type and had found out Sleeping at Last had written a song for each of the types (apparently with the exception of eight and nine for now).

The Enneagram is a model of the human psyche. It is made up of nine interconnecting personality types. (If you haven’t taken the Enneagram test, I HIGHLY recommend doing so.) Supposedly, it is one of the most accurate and in-depth personality tests that exists. About a month ago, I tested and was typed as a Two, or the Helper. I kind of skimmed through the description, not seeing anything mind-blowing and wondering if I had been typed correctly.

This morning, after hearing about the songs, I was curious and looked up the song for my type. (If you want to find the song for yours, just look up “Atlas:” followed by your number typed out. For example, mine was “Atlas: Two”.) As soon as I heard the first few lines in the song, I had chills. A little further into the song, I was in tears. Every. word. was so accurate.

I listened to the song on repeat for the next thirty minutes. God really used the song to speak to me. He showed me some new things about myself and the way I function – my deepest fears and greatest desires, his love for me, and how these new pieces fit together in the puzzle of my life.

Later, I sat down and read through the description of my type again. This time, I was able to understand and I could see how perfectly the type fit with the way I operate. I received clarity about parts of myself from my biggest struggles to my eating habits (I know it sounds weird, but it’s true).

As I listened to the song again this afternoon, I heard God say “darling, you have my heart”.

One of the most noticeable things about a Two is the way they love people. We love with everything we have. This can sometimes end up being destructive, though, because we also have a tendency to ignore our own needs because we are so focused on other people.

In addition, one of our deepest desires is to be loved.

When the Father spoke to me today and told me that I have his heart, this was significant to me in two different ways. The first was in understanding that he built me and designed me to love others the way that he has. He has given me a heart that was created to love others – everyone – unconditionally.

As I read through some of the other types I noticed the way he has designed each type to reflect a different part of him. Each of us has been created to reflect him, and each of us has been given a specific gifting that helps us reflect a certain part of him. When we join together as the church, or the body of Christ, we bring these vital pieces with us. Together, we create something magnificent. His design is so perfect.

The second thing that I understood from what he told me is that he loves me so beyond what I understand. In an even greater way than I give my heart to others, he has given his to me. My deepest desire it to be fully loved, and my deepest desire has been met.

I am fully loved.

I think for years I have known that the Father loves me. His word declares it to no end. But even still, despite knowing this and even experiencing his love in the past, I have continued searching for love in other places. Today, I got a chance to understand that the love I want is available and waiting for me. There is more.

Now, I get to discover it.

Cover art for “Atlas: Two” by Sleeping at Last