I don’t do random.
If I start something new, it almost always has a purpose. Sometimes the roads I travel start with a purpose but only lead to a dead end, or they get so rocky and dangerous that I turn around.
But I never just carelessly walk down random paths. I’m far too predictable, to safe, to orderly for risky adventures. However, I have to admit that I always seem to find myself on these precarious streets…
Like the time I chose to keep my baby at the age of seventeen. Or when I chose to get married before I graduated. A few months later, I chose to pack up a bag and live at the hospital while my baby boy suffered for almost a year, before witnessing God’s amazing healing hand.
I chose to finish my high school diploma with 3 kids under 3, even though my body begged for extra rest and I had no desire to do homework when they were finally sleeping at night.
Later, I chose the lonely road of homeschooling, though I’m not a great teacher and I feel unqualified.
I chose to leave a church full of friends and family that I had attended since my childhood to help start a church that ended up being the most painful and wounding experience of my life so far. I also chose to walk in forgiveness and healing, believing the best of people.
We left a job my husband loved, to buy into a company and build it into something, which has been painfully difficult.
And my newest path is the choice to send my five beloved children to public school next year.
I wish I could see the future but I can’t, so I try to walk as close as I can beside the only one I know who does: my Heavenly Father. He’s known by so many to be a rock. A shelter in the storm. The hiding place. He’s a foundation. He is a strong tower. Our refuge in times of trouble.
That is my God.
The choices above may seem difficult, but no matter how those around me viewed them, they all brought a sense of peace and although there has been hardships and inner turmoil around me almost constantly, I rarely have felt that sense of chaos within me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have felt inner turmoil. In the past I felt a lot of it while dealing with depression and anxiety. In fact this month I’ve been feeling a lot of it.
I can tell almost immediately when I’m in “overwhelm” because I become unable to slow down and just be. My downtime moments are filled with distractions.
This is why I feel like having a daily time of devotions and reflection is so important. Other than connecting with God, if I wasn’t used to quieting myself nothing would seem wrong! I would feel anxious and upset, but I wouldn’t realize it until panic attacks and anxiety would start kicking in.
However now I can tell things are wrong just by assessing my quiet times. I just want to distract myself! Turn on the Netflix. Get out the iPhone. Scroll through the news articles!
There’s no desire to reflect or think about my own personal life and the “whys” or the reasons for my behaviours.
This is overwhelm: Avoiding reality. Avoiding the hard questions. Avoiding true connections. This leads to small talk, which leads to shallow and unfulfilling relationships.
It’s a constant disconnected feeling and general discontentment in life.
Sound familiar? This constant state of busyness and distraction are common place in our world, but should not be common place in the Christian life. It feels weird when I get like this because I’m not used to it. It’s like running in a random direction just for the sake of running.
Busyness is often like that, isn’t it?
We sign up for this and commit to that, not having a reason for it but simply because that’s the way the rest of the crowd is headed. It feels wrong to turn off onto a more lonely (albeit simpler) road. But in my experience that’s the path that usually brings the most meaning and peace.
Not that important lessons aren’t learned on the main roads…but with high traffic comes stress, chaos and accidents.
This is where quieting ourselves and learning to ask the hard questions becomes so important. Without reflection, life becomes too difficult to navigate so we instead turn to distracting ourselves from the busyness which leaves us disconnected with our own emotional state. Cue the sleeping drugs, anti anxiety and depression meds that studies say about 1 in 6 Americans are now dependent on.
1 in 6!! Let that sink in for a moment!
No I’m not saying that there’s never a reason to take medicine for mental health issues. Not at all! There are many legitimate imbalances in the human brain that require medical intervention. But do we really believe that 1 in 6 people need to be on meds? Or is there something else going on that we’re not willing to face?
These are uncomfortable questions and thoughts, I know. Necessary ones though.
Are we willing to face them?