Just before my junior year of high school my family took a trip on an Alaskan Cruise. My aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings were all there. It was my first trip on a cruise ship and I can remember how enormous it felt compared to the little blue boat I grew up waterskiing on. I remember how odd it was to be sitting out by the deck pool wearing my swimsuit on a warm, sunny day watching enormous glaciers and ice capped mountains go by. I loved the restaurants with the all-you-can-eat food and even enjoyed the lame entertainment that was obviously planned for people three times my age. I remember the stops at the quaint, lovely cities and the beautiful scenery I just didn’t appreciate enough as a high school kid.
One thing that also sticks out in my memory is the moments I would briefly forget we were on a boat instead of dry land…which led to some incredibly funny instances of re-learning how to walk. One minute the ground was level and steady and the next moment we were bumping into the sides of the hallway or grabbing at the railing on the stairs. I remember laughing hysterically as we tried to walk ever so carefully taking some steps super fast and others extremely slow so as not to lose our balance. It was like learning a new dance with an unpredictable partner.
Life right now is sort of like that. In a way I’m learning to walk all over again. Years ago, I heard it said that we experience fundamental change every seven years. Maybe that’s what I’m going through. Maybe it’s a cycle. Maybe it’s life circumstances of the past few years. Maybe it’s having 5 babies in 6 years time. Maybe it’s feeling like it’s never just raining and instead always “pouring.” Maybe it’s God trying to get a hold of my heart in a new way.
Regardless of the cause, I can tell you with all confidence that a change is taking place. Something is shifting, and has shifted, in my soul. Something is being stretched. Something is growing. For the past few months I’m learning for the first time ever to say no to some very lovely things in order to say yes to the most important things. I’m learning to prioritize. I’m learning to stop rushing. I’m learning to slow life down, to get rid of excess, to lay aside what hinders me. I’m beginning to close off my ears to the people who speak death and discouragement, including my own voice at times, and I’m learning to listen to the ever so soft voice of a loving Father who speaks nothing but Truth. I’m learning to make decisions for myself, like a grown adult should, and I’m learning to celebrate the beauty in that.
I’m in a season of wanting less, of throwing away more, of down sizing. A season of learning and simplifying. I’m on a journey of adjusting my life to the small whisper of what He is calling me to, rather than the loud obnoxious demands of what other people say it should be. I’m comparing my life less and celebrating it more. I’m becoming less and less concerned with competition, disillusioned with comparing and no longer interested in busying myself for the sake of being busy.
I truly desire more than ever a life of beauty, simplicity, and joy. The kind of joy that can only be found in full freedom within His calling and most of all in His presence. I desire to fully embrace who God has made me to be, not shrinking back and not muting it for the fear of what others might say. I desire a sound mind to navigate these new waters, but also presence of mind to not be distracted in the midst of it. I really want to nail down what it is He has created me to be about, not just thinking and day dreaming about it but actually living it. I desire to live a life of celebration (even in the hard things), marked by meaning, passionately enjoyed, with rich connection, care for others, and a rightly prioritized list of what matters most. And I want to crush the fears within me telling me lies along the way.
Deep down I know what is happening is not only a
good great thing but that it is entirely necessary and in some ways long overdue. My high school self is telling today’s self that I should also take in the beautiful scenery on this journey a bit more. But I have to confess…this process feels a lot like having wobbly, shaky sea legs.
What is it that entangles you? What is it you’re afraid to let go of? What is it that you are being called to, but are hesitant to embrace because of what people might say? What is it you’ve stuffed into your backpack that you need to take out and lay aside? Are you enjoying the scenery or are you wearing blinders that keep you from looking to the left or to the right? Are there dinners you want to plan? Or people you want to connect with? Are there things you need to cancel or big changes that need to happen? What is it you need to say no to? And what’s stopping you? What keeps you from making the adjustments you know you need?