Finding rest and ruin

I write this from a remote cabin with a small group of girlfriends. We are taking time to slow down. To nourish and replenish those parts of ourselves we rarely make time for, our spirits. Our bags full of books, journals, food, yoga mats and wine. Free schedules to learn, explore, be in the quiet alone, and when we are ready, to be with each other in fellowship. It is as uncomfortable as it is relaxing.

In the quiet I face all those things I’ve been avoiding by keeping busy. I have felt myself unraveling in a beautiful and tragic way. The full spectrum of joy and pain. Facing fears, bringing to light realities that have been hiding in the dark corners. Working through those fears and wrestling with them head on. For every moment of rest and relaxation there are equal moments of restlessness and ruin.

I heard a quote this week from Glennon Doyle that said “Life is hardest for those doing it right.” Those who are willing to courageously face their fears, mistakes, regrets, and shame. Courage is the willingness to dive deep within ourselves and explore. It takes even more courage to share those things with the world. To operate from a place of pure authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability.

She explained how we are trained early on to continue to try on different personas as we get older. Athlete, achiever, mother, manager, daughter…all these different roles that define us. Society tells us who we should be, how we should act, what we should do, how much we should have. Like Russian nesting dolls, we end up piling on all these layers until we are left with this outer shell that is completely disconnected from the inner, immobile, and vulnerable being we were born into this world to be.

I was a doer, fighter, looker, and achiever. Most of my life has been defined by accomplishments, awards, and material things. I’ve found myself staring at a wall full of trophies with an empty heart. I’ve said yes to so many people and made so many commitments that I end up sick and tired unable to get out of bed on the weekend. I’ve been too embarrassed to go out in public without makeup and overly obsessed with the gym because I put way too much stock in my personal appearance. I’ve spent all this time at the expense of understanding what truly makes me happy and understanding the person God wants me to be. I’ve missed out on developing deep, meaningful, real, and lasting relationships with people around me because I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with this outer shell of who I think I should be.

I’ve started to strip away all those layers through reflection, learning, counseling, coaching, and writing. I’m hungry recognize and understand that person I am deep within. The being that God brought me into this world to be. Until I strip away all those layers I will continue to be restless, confused, frustrated, and lost. Always wanting more and unable to appreciate what I’m going through right now, even when it’s hard. I look for ways to pacify those feelings from the outside world instead of looking inside and realizing that no material thing and no outward circumstance can calm the restlessness.

So I will embrace the joy and pain of this long weekend in the quiet. Wrestling with questions like:

  • Why do I feel this shame and guilt?
  • What can I do about the pain and suffering around me?
  • God, what is Your plan for my life?
  • What really makes me happy?

This time is ordinary magic. It’s available to everyone, at any moment. Break away.

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