Making A Detour
Making a Detour
"We must make a detour - leave the hills and woods and go back to our studies, to church, to our bibles, to our knees." - C.S. Lewis
When I first read this I was a little offended. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors (if you haven't noticed yet.) And I know I keep promising funny stories and adventures but there's quite a bit on my mind these days so those stories are going to continue to wait. I read this quote right before I left Texas and drove to California with a close friend. Then I drove to Utah… and then flew to Hawaii. A lot of traveling. For some reason this one sentence has stuck with me for about half a month. Like I said, I was offended by what Lewis was saying because well, I live outside. It's where I work, play and connect with God, so when I read this I was taken back. I'm slowly starting to get why this has sat with me for so long…
I like to be comfortable. I like to be in control. I believe we all have a piece of us that really enjoys the unknown and the feeling of the unexpected but more often than not we also love to return to a place of familiarity. For me, I've found comfort in being outside and finding God in nature all around me; it's where I feel most connected to my senses, my surroundings and the Lord. It has become a part of me and definitely something I cannot just disregard. After a LONG season of decision making and plans changing I have found myself here in Hawaii working with a non-profit. I'd love to share that story on how I got here, why, what, blah blah blah and if you're super interested please feel free to ask but this blog isn't about that… it's about the thoughts in between.
In the last year I have learned a few things about myself: I hate transition and I am terrible at making decisions. Like, real bad. When it comes to big life decisions or even something as small as where to go out to dinner - I suck at it. It's actually kind of funny because I work seasonally; which means, I'm literally forced to make decisions every few months. Those decisions come with transitions. A time of me thinking some of the following thoughts: Where am I? What day is it? What is my life? Where am I going? What the HELL am I doing? I'm probably screwing this all up. And these thoughts are pretty frequent and they happen like a record stuck on repeat. I've learned that I love being present once I'm there and I love people. So when I'm expected to up and leave and start somewhere else, well… it's mega hard. Being intentional means you have to put an actual effort in or you won't see results. Trust me, I love what I do. I know the Lord has put passions on my heart that I can't simply ignore and get an office job. It's not me, or at least right now anyway. I've also learned something else, something that isn't so fun to really sit on. I like to put God in a box and tell Him that I've got it all figured out. I like to tell God where we're going and what we're doing. The thing is, sometimes your plans aren't going to happen, or they're going to be put off and then you’re left confused, lost or even offended.
This is extremely hard for me to put into words because control is such a tough topic for me to grasp. As a seasoned worker I've also felt like a seasoned Christian -- yeah I made that up and yeah, it sounds super lame. But it's how I feel. I almost have the, "been there, done that" mentality. So the last thing I feel like I NEED is to make a detour, to rediscover things and to challenge things… but I think that's what C.S. Lewis is asking in this sentence. What would it look like to step out of your comfort zone, give up a sense of control; whatever that looks like? To question things and to really dig deep into the meaning of life? Woah, I know -- shit just got real. I am in a place that use to be my comfort zone. Back in Christian community, church and Jesus talk but I've also noticed I've been "in the woods" for a long time. I feel jaded and a little defensive but I'm hopeful. This is getting personal and real but I feel like the only way we can grow and encourage one another is to admit weakness. I have a lot of fears, anxious thoughts and very recent feelings of discontentment but I also feel like that is part of life and seasons of change. Some of you may be in a completely different situation. You may be in your church bubble, in a place of comfort and contentment but I'd like to challenge you today -- what would it look like to seek more meaning and healthy change? Maybe that means going on a hike or talking to a stranger or even wondering what it is you believe. I sure as hell don't have all the answers but I will tell you that I'm battling and searching for reasons why God brought me here and what he is trying to teach me in this season. Countless times in the bible you see Jesus going against the grain of society and I feel like that's exactly what he's doing in my life. I still get to be outside a fare amount but I've also found myself in the classroom; really studying and really rediscovering my relationship with God. Trying to deal with a lot of the things I refuse to recognize. I'm not expecting you to agree with me or to believe the same things as me, we all come from different backgrounds or have different views of faith but I'm here to share my real life struggle and experiences. I encourage you to tap into that as well. A couple of months ago I wrote out a conversational analogy (is that a thing?) between the Lord and I. It might sound weird to you or it might ring true for you, but I feel like I need to share some of the most real thoughts I have or else… I'd feel fake. So here it is.
I notice you when I am able to sit down and think. When I make time or reflect. But you're wanting more… waiting for me. I don't deserve you. I always seek you when I feel lost or need something. When I realize I can't do life on my own. But when I feel fine or feel comfortable I ignore you -- put you on the back burner. I'm like a student driver. I feel confident when everything is good and right, but immediately when I get panicked, anxious, or lose control I automatically feel overwhelmed and helpless. You're sitting there -- waiting for me to ask for help. Waiting for me to surrender control and understand this is a vehicle I am not designed to drive. I'm not even able to know exactly where we're going. I close my eyes and white-knuckle the steering wheel -- hoping it'll all stop. Feeling like I'm moving a million miles an hour with no rest stop in sight. It's dark and I feel completely vulnerable. Driving with no headlights. Right when I feel like life is about to crash and burn, when I feel most weak -- I hear you. Not audibly but in my conscious. A faint promise being whispered.
I am still here.
Can you hear me?
I am still here.
Do you remember who I am?
Tears stream down my face -- blurry vision and a runny nose. My heart pounding but my pulse beginning to slow… one eye slowly becomes unclenched. I feel you and I hear you. The sense of comfort and warmness settles as you continue to whisper. My mind is paused. The breaks are put on and slowly my hands release the death-gripped steering wheel.
I am still here.
Can you hear me?
I am still here.
Do you remember me?
Yes I do.
But I'm angry. I feel lost and numb.
It's ok, I'm not going anywhere. Let me in, let me help. I can drive in these conditions. Cast it all onto me; I care so much for you.
The control is not my own. I let my hand off as you replace it gently. Then the other. I can finally rest. I can finally trust. We drive for a while, feeling good and connecting -- talking. Sometimes, often, when I feel comfortable I tell you to move over.
Don't worry, I can drive… I've got this.
You try and remind me it’s scary, that I might get lost, I might freak out -- but I assure you that this time it'll be different. I know what I'm doing and I don't really need you right now. Only when I want to go there and deal with stuff, but right now I'm fine. I can drive. This makes you so sad… we were doing so well. Communication was clear and it was healthy. But, I am a human -- designed by you for such greatness but I, I am selfish. So without even realizing it I tell you to buckle up and chill out.
Soon, very soon… it happens all over again.
Woof. There it is. Weakness in it's raw form. This cycle is constant. But I've noticed that each time I can recognize it more and more. This is not from the bible, this is not pulled from a theological book, it is my personal relationship with my Creator. I'm fighting myself not to be so damn self-centered. Always being the one to call the shots and to stick with my selfish desires. When I allow the Lord to drive it gives me such a unique point of view… I can see the things I normally wouldn't see if I wasn't so caught up in driving all the time. The all encompassing beauty that surrounds me. It's like Jesus is affirming me and all the love he has for humanity by singing through the mountains and the oceans. Whenever I allow him to drive I can see people. I can sit and hear them and not be so focused on my destination.
I'm kind of all over the place in this little rant but it's really all I can do to process and I'll be honest, this process brings negative and positive emotions. I don't have all the wise words and the biblical teachings to tell you how to live your life or where your faith should be; all I can do is share my life experiences. And trust me, I really suck at living this all out but I'm definitely trying. I hope this gives something to you as well. You may not be traveling, you could be sitting at home reading this or at work. It really doesn't matter where we are though… I believe that God can meet us where we are because he is outside of time, outside of our agenda and outside of the box we constantly put him in. You may have completely different view points and I want you to know I respect that and I am always willing to discuss where you come from and hear your story. I'd like to offer up a few questions for you: What would it look like to give up a sense of control in your life and hold your plans with your hands open? What would it look like to step out of your comfort zone and be truly real with someone? How can you make a detour in your everyday and take time to make a big or small change; to really ask yourself some tough questions? As for me, I hope to make a slight detour… back to a sacred place of contentment and rest, even if that means it'll look completely different that what I'm expecting. One last thing, I've been listening to a song on repeat called "In Over My Head" by Bethel. You should check it out and really listen to the lyrics; just going to throw that out there. Thanks for hanging in there with these messy thoughts.
Peace 'n Blessings.