Thank the Lord we have finally hit sweater season. At least in the mornings. By afternoon I typically regret my clothing choice, but it’s worth it! I’m team autumn for life! I know this season is short and soon it will be a weird fight to keep my nose from being red everywhere I go. But this is life. God has created the very planet we live on to operate in seasons and phases. When I step into the waters at one of our beaches along the California coast, there is a roar as the wave crashes to shore, and then a rustle as it heads towards my feet, and a sizzle as it pulls back out to the sea only to start all over again.
I’ve experienced moments when I was caught in that period of retreat. This can come after a huge transition or a tragedy in your life. Getting back into the rhythm of crashing and moving and THEN resting is very difficult when your life is saying go, but your mind or heart is feeling stuck. How do we move on? How do we take steps forward when our feet feel like they are made of the very floor we stand on?
Recently, I have found myself in a very busy season. The start of school for my kids, along with music and sports practices and performances took our life into high gear. I found myself running around getting it all done every single day. This high pace is like the crash. You don’t stay there forever, but it always happens in certain seasons or situations.
Most of what makes people look the most successful, however, looks like the moment of crash and so we are tempted to stay there. This may come from a place of insecurity, needing to validate our existence or prove our worth through doing things. This may come from a place of comparison: everyone else seems really busy, so I must be doing it wrong if I’m not living at maxed out levels as well. Or maybe it comes from fear: if I stop doing one of these things, my world will fall apart, I’ll let someone down, or not be as happy. This push towards the everyday crash can come from many places, but it for sure doesn’t come from Jesus.
From the beginning of time, God revealed His plan for a season of rest to always be coupled with a season of work.
Watching a DVD with my kids the other night, there was a moment when the DVD got stuck and then paused on the poor character’s face, leaving him looking more than silly, and causing lots of laughter from my kids. For a second you just wait and hope it starts right back up and keeps playing the way it was designed to perform. But this time it didn’t. I had to press pause, back it up a bit, and then press play again. For whatever reason, this time, it just played through. Sometimes you have to skip ahead a scene or take the DVD out to clean it and begin again.
Sometimes we need a pause. Sometimes we need a restart. It’s ok to need some help in the process, but if you’re feeling stuck at one specific rhythm, whether stuck on retreat or on crash, you may need to pause, reset, and get back into a better flow of life. This may mean taking a day to rest and allowing some things on your list to go undone. This may mean saying, today I will go out and accomplish this one thing, facing the world for all it’s worth. This may mean taking serious stock of everything on your plate and reprioritizing and potentially eliminating. This may mean asking God for what to put back on your plate. Life is a challenge because our world is broken. But do not allow your choice of rhythm to steal your joy. God wants us to not just live, but to live well.