I’m sitting here in my cute little office nook under the stairs. Space heater on my feet, Topo Chico bottle on a coaster, wrapped in my new Pendleton wool blanket shawl. Video baby monitor crackling on it’s last leg. Dang it Jude. Go to sleep, d-it.
And I’m tired. Beyond tired.
Bone weary. The kind that feels relentless. No end in sight, kind of weary.
The voice I hear says, this is just what this life is. This kind of tired.
The last few years have been exhausting. And sad. Joys in the form of new babies have come. But so has the weight. Pain in relationships and ministry. The burden of feeding, and changing, and cleaning, and friending, and working, and ministering, and caring, and disciplining and loving.
This is just what this life is.
At the beginning of the new year, a friend of mine asked if I would do some accountability with her. She wanted to do one of those Daily Bible things. The 365 to reading the whole Bible. I mentioned it among the things saving my life right now. I was hesitant, because honestly I have probably been judgey or arrogant in other seasons about that kind of thing.
But exhaustion has one benefit, arrogance usually gets choked.
So I half-heartedly said yes.
I ordered it and started reading. There is a little box you check at the end of the day’s reading. A few little thoughts are provided, but I don’t even always read those. Just the chapters.
And so on. About 10 days in, I realized, hmm. I’ve actually been learning new stuff. Embarrassing that “actually” was in my thoughts. But it was like God was breathing new life into His words. I’m not sure why I was so surprised. The simplicity of the process almost made me laugh.
So I’m reading my Bible and have been toying around with the whole, word of the year, thing. Apparently my arrogance catches it’s breath ever so often, because I have rebelled against that type of thing in the past. But I’m reading and I come across a story in Genesis where Isaac is forced to leave the place where he is at because he has become a perceived threat to the natives.
He moves and his servants start to dig wells for water. They find fresh water and some guys come along and claim it. Isaac names the well, “argument,” and moves on. Clever, right? This happens again and Isaac names the next one, “dispute.”
He abandons that attempt, moves on and digs another well. This is what it says the third time,
“Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” Gen 26:22
And whoosh. God breathed some life on these words for me. All the sudden, a picture of this season of exhaustion is laid out for me to see.
There is no Rehoboth. No open space.
And what’s interesting when I look at my life, it’s not that I have a hard time turning things down. It’s that I fill every nook and cranny with stuff. There is no OPEN SPACE.
What does this really mean?
- I am a tasker. A worker. So if there is a breath of a free moment, I feel like I could be doing something. Thus, I feel like my tasks are always so important.
- I waste those spaces on the computer. Ugh. Humbling, but true. I should know that Korean skincare won’t save my life, but I pursue information like it will. I am constantly looking into something on my laptop.
- I spend lots of my time on “errands”. I’m queen of errands. I think I can run 30 of them in an hour. And I try it. Often.
- I am feeling so heavy at the amount of “stuff” in our home. I feel shame and often like a failure at the clutter and excess. There are no open spaces in our home.
What are the results of these things?
- They fill the gaps where I should be engaging and playing with my boys. (Engage was my top word until this little revelation). I open my computer instead, or do the dishes.
- They fill my downtime instead of connecting with Bret. Especially in the evenings. I’m an introvert. I love to disengage, read or play on my computer. And I often do that instead of sitting with my husband. Also, cue the task thing too.
- They choke the ability to hear and engage with the Spirit. With my Father. When you have no space open, you can’t hear because it’s never quiet enough. This is about space in my soul.
- They leave no time for writing. Amazon is a time suck. Words don’t write themselves.
- They exhaust my brain. My.mind.never.stops. For reals. Ever. I have always thought this was a personality thing. I think it partially is. Which means my default will be to indulge or engage it, instead of work to fight it.
- They are killing my body. Dramatic a bit. But I have filled all the spaces and have left no time to take care of my physical body. Horrid habits, sleep, food (confessions of a fast-food breakfastaholic), no exercise, wine.
Ok. So I could see clearly my lack of open space in my life, what I fill it with, and the aftermath. But how the h-e-double hockey sticks, do I change it?
Well. Normally, I would make a million plans. Goals. Unrealistically detailed plans. Plans that I NEVER EVEN START to implement.
And most of the time, if I’m being honest, it doesn’t work. It’s not sticky.
But why is that?
For me, it’s because I try and tackle habits without addressing what’s behind them. And habits are freaking hard to just willpower my way out of, unless I have real motivation in my heart.
This was the key for me…
Who and what does this lack of space affect?
My family. My ministry. My hospitality. My health.
Also, I keep finding myself doing things like putting my keys in the microwave, so I was bit concerned that my exhaustion was, quite literally, making me lose my mind.
I know that is quite a bit of background. But this process of recognizing the lack of open space in my life, what I fill it with, and it’s affect on those people and things most valuable to me, was so eye-opening. And helpful.
While I know that this whole Rehoboth/open space word, is personal to me, I just have this nagging feeling it will resonate with YOU. So. I want to challenge you to just do some cursory thinking and praying.
Ask God to open your eyes to places in your life filled with the inconsequential that perhaps need to be opened back up to the most valuable.
Feel free to share…this is a safe place! And I’ll be back with part 2 to share my real-life-not-my-ideal-life plan.