For the last couple of months, I’ve not been myself. I’ve felt out of sorts…a bit off-kilter. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way before…like something just isn’t quite right…nothing obvious…just some bit of…unrest. I thought it was because I wasn’t musing as much as I want…and that is certainly part of it…but there was more to it. “Build something.”
Being predictable me, my first instinct was to lean away from the discomfort of knowing something was off…so I got busy…really really busy: Looking back at the summer, I spent most of it driving kids here or there or running errands…I existed but wasn’t living. I functioned and participated but wasn’t really experiencing anything. I was here with my family but I wasn’t really present. I had thoughts but I wasn’t thinking. I slept but wasn’t resting. It was as if nothing was really wrong…but nothing was really right either. Don’t get me wrong, I had some meaningful conversations and was able to still do good and fun things…but the depth that I was operating at, the majority of the time, was closer to a puddle than an ocean. “Build something.”
The last couple of weeks, the unrest has intensified: I have been practically crawling out of my skin because I’ve been so uncomfortable with the lack of feeling at home in my life. (Again, don’t read this wrong…I’m not saying that I am discontent with my circumstances at all.) It was as if I had an incredible itch that I could not scratch and so all I could do was think about how itchy I was. Stan noticed it too. He told me that I seemed less happy and more distracted than he usually sees me. “Build something.”
You know how sometimes a thought enters your head and you think, “Whoa! What’s that all about?” Being ADHD, it can be hard at times to decipher between legitimate thoughts that I need to spend time on and…well…”squirrels” for lack of a better word. For the last couple of months, I’ve been hearing “Build something” but I’ve only really paid attention for the last week or so. Being a kinesthetic learner, I set to work. I demolished the window seats in my breakfast area and began the work of rebuilding them. And as it would go, I have already been reminded of a lot of things during the process:
1. Things like how much easier it is to tear something down than it is to build something up. It doesn’t take special skills to break things apart, shatter the pieces, and make a mess. Anyone can do this part.
2. Regardless of how much planning you do, you won’t know what is hidden behind the walls until you have opened them up and exposed what is there. (In the case of my window seats, I found tons of broken glass and lunch garbage…looks like that was where some of the builders hid things such as a broken window pane and tons of tamale-wrapper corn husks. When we gutted the bathroom a couple of years ago, I found hidden cigarette butts inside the empty space between our garden tub and the slab.)
3. Measure twice and cut once. Working more slowly and thoughtfully actually seems to be way more productive and efficient than working quickly because I’m not wasting time and materials having to re-do things.
4. It is funner (more fun?) to work with someone. Abigail has been with me a lot during this process. Like me, she likes to learn and she has been watching and helping and it has made the many hours of work fly by.
5. “Build Something” can mean more than just physically building these seats. I’ve not only been experiencing the privilege of being allowed to see the amazing person my niece has developed into (building a relationship)…I’ve also been allowed to work through what has been going on inside of myself and…what I’ve found? I love problem-solving, creating, encouraging, equipping…building…and I’ve been missing that lately as most things in my life had gotten to “maintenance mode.”
What’s the point? Well, all of the unrest that I have experienced the last couple of months has been because I was not fulfilling what I was created to do…I’m a builder…it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I will never feel fully alive and fully “me” unless I am being obedient to the calling on my life…the calling to create…to take something ugly or dysfunctional (or even just missing) and transform it into something beautiful and useful…to build.
So, how are you doing with this? Have you gone through periods of time where you felt like you weren’t really living your life? Are you going through that period now? How can you give yourself the time and space to determine what is missing? Do you know how God equipped you? Do you know what God gave you passion about? Are you using those gifts and passions now? How can you invest in your calling?
My prayer today is that we would pause and spend time listening to God so that we can hear him when he tells us the story of our calling. I’m praying that we would use, and continue to develop, the tools that he has given us so that we can answer his call well. And I’m praying that we would be blessed with full-to-overflowing lives when we use those gifts.
Much love friends,