Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Being human can be hard, being fish is harder

It's been twelve days since I returned from my sabbatical. Twelve days of transitioning back to a routine, wearing a watch, and wearing more than just a swimsuit 24/7.  I wish I could say it's been easy.

As I shared in my last post, I experienced a lot of humbling moments this past summer. Particularly in June. My three month sabbatical started in the first month of summer. For the past fourteen summers, those three months have the most amazing and busiest times of my life. The reason? Because the church that I get to serve with has a life changing internship for young adults, lots of great programs, and a pool. Which means lots of great activity with lots more great people around. So, to have some rest from all that, for the first time in fourteen years, is truly a gift. But the first few weeks of my "rest," were not restful at all. It was the opposite. I was restless. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was totally removed from my weekly regimen, cut myself off from email and facebook, and was on a week-long road trip with three kids five and under. MERCY! I felt like a fish out of water, a bit like I had to find who I was again. How do I be me without doing all the things I love to do, in which I also make my living?

 I had many obvious moments in June were God fathered me. He spoke to me to let go of my expectations. These three months, each and every day of summer, belonged to Him. He had plans for me that I couldn't even fathom. I kept getting the image of opening my hands as I prayed and processed my feelings. God wanted me to let go of my expectations. Unbeknownst to me, I had brewed a list of (selfish) expectations of what I thought my sabbatical should entail. He spoke very clearly to me about this one night through my wife. She just repeated back to me things I had said to a few people, when I was asked  how things were going on sabbatical so far. (Keep in mind this was two weeks in to June). When I heard her words, I was so convicted. That person sounded so entitled, so unhappy. That's not who I am, or who I wanted to be. I knew I  needed to change ASAP. I needed to renew my mind. Everywhere I read in the Bible during that time, God affirmed my identity as his Son, his loved one. That's where the devotional, "Jesus Calling", was so amazing. I read it daily and found myself so quickly! (This will always be the case when we live God's word). The beautiful thing about this devotional book is that it uses God's word to create a first person type reading (from Jesus). Through it, I remembered instantly who I was. I am God's, his son, and I can trust him to lead and provide everything I need (beyond my expectations). He showed me my sabbatical, was not just for me, but for my whole family. So I am so happy to look back in awe (especially of July and August), when our family really hit a great stride, I was relaxed, and at a beach or pool daily. We had so many amazing trips and times together, with no agenda other than to be together. It was unforgettable on so many levels.

So, now I'm I have no issues and every thing is perfect. Not quite. The crazy thing is, it almost feels like September may be another, "finding myself again," month. I came back so excited, refreshed, energized, and defined in my passions. And guess what came along for the ride? Expectations. How did that happen? I thought I was done with humility? Gone are the days of open schedules and long walks on the beach. And I guess I had plans for what I thought September would look like, and God simply says, "Keep your hands open." Once again, I'm a fish. Not so much out of water, but in new water, different water. Or maybe it's the same water, but the fish is different? I'm not trying to be all poetic here, but I do know that transition is upon me, again. And so I get to re-learn, or remember what I learned just a few months back. What a great adventure. As followers of Christ, we share his identity and to truly live into that, we must keep our mind in God's truth. Tonight, I had one of those "collapse in the arms of Jesus" moments. It was beautiful. I was reading the Bible with my kids in their bed, and then we prayed together. God used their words like a healing salve to my soul. I realized that I allowed restlessness to creep back into my heart. Silly things like worry, I easily allow access into my life. Why? How quickly I forget the truth. God always provides financially for us, he brings peace to crazy schedules, and will let nothing prevent his will from being done. God loves his children to have faith. And God satisfies us. Jesus said, He gives peace like no one and nothing else (John 14:27).  Through the words of children, my children, I was brought back to the simple pleasure of being God's child, with nothing to worry about, safe in his care. I was holding back the tears as I laid with my kids in their bed. After all was said and done I tip-toed out of their room to leave them to fall asleep, and just fell to my knees in gratefulness and adoration. God is so good, so true, and everything we need. Regardless of what kind of fish I am, or what kind of water I swim in, I rest in the truth that I am created by God, and for God, and that's enough.

Next time, I'll blog about other learning moments from the summer, share some video highlights. and more on transitions.

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