The summer before I began High School my grandparents and Aunt took me on a whirlwind bus tour of Europe. We landed in London, took a ferry across the English Channel departing from the Cliffs of Dover and arriving upon the shores of Calais. We tracked mile after mile in a bus filled with strangers that became our traveling companions. In my family’s opinion it was the best way to become introduced to Europe. Since my professional aspiration at the time was to become a travel journalist I’d need to know my geography first-hand. The bus tour did the trick. The tour led us south-east from Paris to Switzerland and down to Tuscany. From Tuscany we descended deep into the heart of Italy. During the long trek I gazed out the bus windows to be greeted with the most welcoming view of the Italian countryside. Rows upon rows of sunflowers, my Papa’s favorite. It seemed no matter which direction we turned we were welcomed with more sunflowers. We no longer needed to look at our watches to keep time, the sunflowers did it for us. At morning the sunflowers would slowly lift their heavy heads as if to offer us a sleepy “good morning”. At mid-day the sunflowers would stand up straight, their blooms reaching up toward the heavens, soaking in every ounce of sunlight they could process, and as evening approached they’d reach toward the last rays of the setting sun before bidding us a weary buona notte.
It’s amazing to me that most of plant life—nature—is pre-programmed to seek out light. It will creep and crawl defying all odds to find sunlight. A plant subject to heliotropism, like my beloved Italian sunflower, literally turns its head to the light. The face of the flower looks up, reaches, stretches, seeks light. Every single day of it’s existence. Every.single.day.
All Good and Great Things
We get off track. It happens so easily. We fill up our days with good and great stuff. We attend all the practices and cart our kids from here to there. We clean or houses, prepare meals, work demanding jobs, tend to family and friends. All good and great things.
We put our heads down and get to work.
And then, one afternoon or morning we find ourselves in absolute fatigue. We feel like we’ve been hit by a freight-train. Our bodies hurt and our brains feel foggy. And suddenly it’s all just a bit overwhelming. Something has got to give. Or does it?
Seeking the Son
I was listening to the radio the other morning. I was in one of those “I’m just tired, overwhelmed, overcommitted” funks. To be really honest maybe my schedule is a little too jam packed. I struggle to say “no” when I should. Even though I’ve read multiple books and follow amazing women leaders that have taught on this very subject. Nonetheless it literally pains me to tell someone no, to not be the answer, to not be able to solve everything.
Really it’s not my job to solve it all. But I’m hard-wired with a “solve it all” personality. When my husband was in between jobs and the job hunt went on longer than expected it was my first instinct to go get myself a full-time job. I could be the solution. I could. No problem that I was nursing a newborn, had just had a c-section, and our little boy to take care of. I could figure it out. I would just have to give up a few things, like bonding with my brand new baby and healing my body to make it all work.
I started putting my resume out and making calls and re-connecting with my professional acquaintances. In my mind what needed to be done needed to be done. No matter that our family had taken us in and had already promised to help us through this legitimately scary season of our lives. Still, I had to solve it.
It took someone much wiser than I telling me that I wasn’t the solution this time for me to back down. It was hard. It was embarrassing. It required a lot of faith for me to sit and allow God to move on his own and within his own timing. Allowing God to move within His own perfect timing is one of the most difficult things we, as believers, have to do.
I still don’t really understand why it took a year of unemployment before we found our amazing mission in Utah. Why couldn’t it have taken days or weeks? Why months, why years? Why don’t we see solutions to issues within our lifetimes? Why God, why?
At the end of the day we have to let go of so much, releasing it to God’s perfect timing, allowing Him to be the ultimate solution.
On that afternoon when I felt so weary Lysa Terkhursts voice popped on the radio. She talked about starting our days off in the word. Allowing God to take dominion over our day, first and foremost. On the days that I do this I tend to see a marked change in the way the day plays out. When I give my day up, like an offering, things seem to feel a little less heavy. And maybe it’s because I’ve sought the Son first. I’ve given it all to him. I’ve turn my head to the light and said “I can’t carry this life without you.”
There is freedom in the surrender.
I desperately want freedom. I don’t want to be bound by my insecurities, my doubts, my inability to say no when I really should, my fear of disappointing anyone around me.
Rather than putting our heads down and getting to work, I wonder if possibly it makes more sense to lift our chins, to look up with expectancy, to go to the Son first. I wager that this act of lifting our heads with also allow us to realign our lives with His will. This alignment will help us with that burden of to-dos, yeses and no’s. I dare say this will make our burden light.
Our to-do’s may never change; we may have the same exact amount of responsibility tomorrow as we had today. Maybe it was never the to-do that made our souls feel heavy and our bodies fatigued.
Maybe we need to start our days with the Son, in surrender in order to have the strength, energy, and perseverance we need to grow.
Photocredit: Rowan Chestnut @chestnut