"To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right." ~David Whyte
Recently, several people who have read blog posts from the archives, indicated that the words found here were a source of encouragement to them. This always reminds me that the purpose of this blog is to share how God is working and moving in my life. I can say with the apostle Peter, who declared to Jesus, "Lord, to whom would we go? Only you have the words of eternal life!"
So, my words, as such, are really not important. What is important is the story of God in our lives, which we can only express through our words. I believe when we share our stories, each of us gains a broader and deeper understanding of who God is and how those who diligently seek to know God will be rewarded.
I recently shared part of my story for Hope150, in conjunction with Canada's 150th Birthday celebrations. It involved revisiting a time when I had lost hope, then found it again in Christ. I found shame rising, even though I had dealt with all those emotions in counseling and in a peer-support recovery group. I had also dealt with the questions surrounding the poor choices I'd made and how that impacted those close to me.
I again realize these are questions that cannot be answered and cannot be changed. I have to leave each one at the foot of the cross and again asking God's covering of grace over the past and the strength of the Holy Spirit to move forward in obedience to the tasks in front of me today. It's a regular battle to let the past stay in the past, to be reminded that I cannot change anything that happened, that I can and must move forward in God's grace.
I expressed my feelings about this to my husband, and he gently suggested that "perhaps it's time to start telling a new story;" to tell the current story of God's work in my life and heart. It was a timely and appropriate challenge.
There's no other human being who is a witness to my life more closely than this man. He sees the ups and downs and he's a big reason why my paradigm has shifted significantly regarding my co-dependent tendencies, aka: my need to be needed and my compulsion to fix other people or situations. I'm grateful to know, as he lovingly reminds me, and as David Whyte affirms, that the world will go on even if I am not there to fix it.
My husband's influence has brought much healing, love and rest into my life. We are now both retired, and though that was initially disorienting, it is still good. We enjoy the freedom of working at our own pace on projects of interest to us, individually and together. We enjoy waking up slow over a cup of coffee and having meaningful (or goofy) conversations about all sorts of topics. We enjoy traveling, primarily by car; reading silently alone or out loud together; napping when the urge hits, in the recliner or the hammock (weather permitting); going to the gym and running errands in the middle of the day instead of on Saturday when everyone else is out and about.
So, the regular stress of working full time is gone.
Lest you envy us, please remember that we have paid our dues, so to speak, both having "worked" with our families from our youngest years and up until the time we entered our lengthy, demanding, full-time careers. We are grateful for the decline in pressure as our bodies begin to decline in physical capacity.
And lest you think life is all unicorns and rainbows, the other day, when I was still reeling from the adrenaline rush and emotional roller coaster of being interviewed, I was abruptly snapped back to reality by a very unpleasant encounter with an angry person. This is not something I want to relive or repeat.
Finally, we are not immune to disease. I am receiving regular updates regarding a brother who has now been in ICU for two weeks since a sudden acute illness required major surgery. We've been walking alongside a dear friend whose daughter has cancer and another friend who just lost his mother. I'm not yet pain free from knee surgery in May. This is the reality of life.
So, even in retirement, the challenge to live in the power of the Holy Spirit continues, and the clash seems to be escalating with the world, the flesh and the devil making an all out attack on my desire to follow the call to obedience and holiness. But there is no need to be afraid.
Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world."
Then he adds, and I close with this for you to meditate upon: "Lo, I am with you always." We can rest in that, even in the middle of any storm.