New seasons mean new perspective and changes with new environments, relationships, and growth. Recently, when I am not with high school students or creating content for the church I work at, my nights have looked like time spent on the balcony of my apartment sitting on the ground because I have yet to buy outdoor furniture. As I sit with my bare feet pressed against the wood posts, I am taken back to the times I spent as a child on my grandparents property in Colorado in 56-degree weather. I could never have imagined that I would be led to the duties that have now met me here in Dallas. When I look out at my new Dallas view in December to a shades-of-brown-and-green with cars screeching, music buzzing, and faint murmurs, I am picturing a blue lake with crisp air, swaying aspens and the quiet noise in Colorado.
The seasons are shifting and changing, beyond the weather. My time this fall has been full. Friends have gotten engaged, I have had crazy work hours, I have made job decisions and had creative accomplishments all in a couple of months. I have been reminded by walking through an advent study that these things are filled with love and joy and peace and hope. With Christmas festivities and the holiday season, I am greeted by old and new friends, I love getting to hear about where their lives have taken them. In early December, I was talking to a friend of mine. We were sitting upstairs on the balcony, watching cars zoom by and friends take an evening stroll. My friend and I partook in a conversation that will forever itch an image inside of my head. This friend is a person who can paint a picture when she talks. We often chat about how we are kindred spirits, while we are very similar; she is one of those people that when you spend time with her, you leave feeling so uplifted and encouraged. She begins to tell me this story of how she has been feeling this holiday season that could not have put better words to how I feel as well.
“Imagine back to your 5th birthday. Your parents place a practically perfect chocolate cake in front of you. You begin to indulge in the sugary goodness. You grab as much as you can and put as much as you can fit in your mouth. So much savory goodness in each bite. Every piece was taken, making you full. But did you even savor the goodness of the cake? Did you take notice of the flavor and sprinkles? Madi, this is what I have felt like.”
Guilty. I have been running – sprinting even, indulging but not savoring. My intentions are pure, and I bet I do a better job than I give myself credit for. I really do try to breathe a little deeper to allow my heart to slow and my eyes to capture what is in front of me. But on my worst day, I tend to forget to savor. On my worst day, I am on my own control running around with different tasks at hand. Apple Watch friends, on these kind of days, when your watch notifies you to breathe, does it actually make you more stressed rather than relaxed? …Maybe that’s just me…
This summer after graduating from college, I never took a moment to slow down and rest. I wish I would have taken the time to escape to the beauty of my grandparent’s house in Colorado. Instead, I became consumed by transitioning to corporate America. I focused on making sure I was “ready” for the passage to adulthood (what does that even mean?? In hindsight, I realize you can never be ready for this). I was always traveling, moving, and taking. Then June came, and I was hit with the reality of working a full-time job. A couple of months into my new found career, I rediscovered a hiking trail behind my parent’s house that I used to run when I was in high school. This trail is full of memories for me, I made the decision to go to Texas A&M on this trail, I worked through the struggles I had with my faith on this trail, and now I worked through the frustrations I had with myself, coworkers, and relationships I have post-grad.
I turned my gaze from the buzz of my phone and to the motion of the trees and direction of the trail. For the first time in what felt like years, I was able, to be honest with myself. I allowed myself to rest. I allowed myself to dream. To dream of writing, creating, and capturing. I dreamt of pursuing my love for photography again. The scariest dream I let myself dig into is the dream of crafting, designing, and writing a children’s book. It was on this trail, I knew I would shortly quit my corporate job and allow myself to move past the heartbreak and anxiety that I had fallen into. I felt so full. I felt encouraged. I have always felt close to locations. I always have associated feelings with places, and this trail is one that the Lord uses consistently.
I slowed my pace and walked my trail one summer night with soft music playing in my ears, my face felt the warmth of the August wind. Six months later my trail and I met again with a newly discovered playlist and this time my face felt the cold of the December weather. Here, several months later, I am experiencing the same God and same Sabbath even in this crazy season of navigating adulthood. I think, being full is not about the pace.
Is it possible to be full in the slowest or most busy seasons of life?
Resting in the Lord will allow me to serve and love others better. I want to remember this season, even the hard parts and remember the harvest that has been cultivated. In 2019, I want to harvest a desire to slow down, I hope to dig deeper into my friendships and family, I hope to continue dreaming. I want to reap time with people and allow my breath to inhale deeper and exhale slowly. That is what this season will be. I dare you try to do the same.
What else am I up to? I am so excited about January 2019. Earlier this year, I became the Director of a high school ministry in Flower Mound called Be Lifted. Now, I get to help run the coolest benefit concert to help raise money for the ministry. One of my favorite artists, Chris Renzema is playing – Click here to buy tickets. I get to travel to Michigan to visit one of my dearest friends. I also am thrilled to announce a five-part series. In January, I will have 5 guest writers on the blog. I can’t wait for you to get to read how the Lord is using them. Happy day!