As I sit in my chair on this Thanksgiving morning and reflect on the last year, there is so much to be thankful for.
True miracles if I’m being 100% real about it.
God grabbed my pain and past and hurt and carried it to a new place. One where I could observe it and see how He was there the whole time.
I had an opportunity to sit with a Spiritual Director this past week. In the words of Thomas Merton:
“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the facade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what Christians call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely supernatural thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”
In one hour’s time, I had some of the deepest revelations that I have had in my life. I won’t go into all of the detail here (maybe another time) – but I can tell you that one thing she said to me has been stirring in my heart, sitting in the forefront of my mind, and lingering into my days since I first heard her say it.
At the end of our session, she shared with me that she once had the privilege of sitting with 3 very prominent spiritual directors. At the end of their talk, someone asked them what one takeaway they would leave for their audience. After a few minutes of converging, they said this:
RUTHLESSLY ERADICATE HURRY
When she told me, I sort of froze for a minute. I felt all the tingles – the good ones (and yes, I feel bad ones, too, but not there. Not that day). I felt that this message aligned so beautifully in truth with what God has been saying to me over the last few weeks of my life.
I hear Him often say “Be still.” My response to this is not always obedience. Sometimes, I roll my eyes and carry on with my “to-dos”. But other times, I obey. I sit, in silence, and I close my eyes and I allow my “to-dos” to wait. I almost immediately feel a sense of peace overtake my body and I often begin to weep.
As the spiritual director said these words to me: ruthlessly eradicate hurry…I felt that same peace. Those same tears welled in my eyes.
Just one day before I sat in her cozy office, I found myself in a place I hadn’t been for a long time. I woke up that morning, heavy. Having literally 100 feelings all at once, and unsure which one to feel first. Which one to name first. Which ones to ignore and which ones to just sit in.
I was overwhelmed.
I have been in a season of feeling so much for so many others lately. Praying for so many. (To be clear, I am not complaining about this.) The Bible calls us to pray without ceasing, and to pray for others. I had been carrying the feelings of so many for so long that my own feelings had been silent in a way. And on this morning, it was as if God put a red siren into each of them and said, “Feel these, Candice. They are yours.”
I found myself caught between feelings of true joy and gratitude and thankfulness for all the ways I have been stretched and healed and grown over the past year. Grateful for the triumphs in my marriage and the revelations within my relationships.
But on the other side, I felt discontent that there wasn’t more. That God hadn’t done more in my life. I still felt like I was “too much” for some people. That my voice doesn’t matter. That I wasn’t enough.
Honestly, it felt like I was a quarter in that cylinder thingy at the Science Center. You know, the one you place a coin on, at the top, and the coin spins round and round, getting closer and closer to the narrow entry point at the bottom where it disappears forever.
I couldn’t keep up. All I could do was cry. I even took a picture of myself amidst my cry fest and texted it to my husband. In hindsight, I think I wanted to be understood. I wanted someone to step into the place I was in and to just be there. Not to fix me, or to say any words at all, but to just be there. (For the record, he did just that. Because that is what amazing husbands do. Thank you, Jesus, for this man.)
But, let’s get back to my three words from that day.
RUTHLESSLY ERADICATE HURRY.
Because within them, there is so much truth packed inside. A true correlation to how I got myself all entangled in those feelings that morning. It had been a week of rushing. Of hurrying. Of so many places to be. So many hats to wear. So many people to please. So many jobs to do. So many “yeses” to fulfill. My pace had been fast. I had been in whole lot of “doing” but not much “being”.
I came home and looked up the definitions. I knew I had heard them. Used them. But I wanted to really get them in this context…
“Ruthlessly” – in a way that shows no thought or worry about pain caused to others; without pity or compassion
I struggled with this one at first glace. No thought about pain caused to others? That doesn’t seem very noble. But let’s keep going.
“Eradicate” – to put an end to; to destroy completely; to do away with as it pulling up from the roots
So, to put an end to something without worrying about what pain it might cause others? Ok, ok. Like, boundaries. And anyone who has worked through boundaries at all can tell you that the people you set boundaries up with are often the ones who protest the most. It’s ok. The boundaries weren’t for them, they were for you.
And we all know what hurry means, but just for fun:
“Hurry” – to move or do things more quickly; to rush
We have permission to not rush through our life at the expense of our sanity.
We have permission to take care of ourselves, while still making sure our kids get to school on time.
We have permission to take a beat, and just chill out for a minute and regain perspective around what we are doing in the first place.
Who are we trying to win over?
Who are we trying to please?
Did we say yes for acceptance?
What would it look like if we didn’t go through life in a hurry all of the time?
I can tell you, friends, what that would feel like, for me at least..
It would feel like peace. Like calm. Like realness. Like warmth. Like honey.
I don’t believe we can hear God speak in our lives if we are moving too fast. He is in the stillness. In the calm. In the waiting. In the silence.
Sure, he is in the busy, too. It’s just that we probably can’t hear him with all that background noise and whirling around us.
So this holiday season, which seems to be the time of year with just.so.much…let’s just be. Let hurry wait. And unapologetically, at that.
Be present. Notice what changes within you and around you.
We cannot give what we do not have, my friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May God remind you of every blessing that surrounds you.