We’ve been in Waynesville now for almost 4 months. It’s been quite the adjustment. I knew I would have to transition from having access to my family/friends. I knew that would be difficult. What I didn’t anticipate was adjusting to a slower pace of life, an empty social/work calendar and the dead of winter in the mountains where we knew no one.
Change and transition are two words that aren’t at the top of my “Favorite Words in the Whole Wide World” list. I like familiarity. I like security. I like routines. I like predictability. It makes me feel safe and content.
Even though this has been a tough transition, I’m learning so much — much about life, much about relationships, much about myself. Much. Much. Much. Here are a few things that really stand out to me.
1. It’s a great time to discover a deeper level of Father’s love :: Right?! When you have a lot of time on your hands suddenly, there’s really no excuse for not digging in to more prayer, reading the Bible and chatting it up with Jesus. I thought that since we were moving away from the environment where my issues were being continually brought to the service, I’d have a break getting up here. But no. Not a chance. If nothing else, any abandonment and/or rejection issues I have, are pinging at an all time high. Papa is relentless in His pursuit of us. I love it. Sometimes I hate it, but that’s only temporarily while I’m processing through the healing. Because of this down-time, we’ve even scheduled a week of intense inner healing ministry – as a couple – for late June (Can someone say Thorough Format for Couples from Restoring the Foundations?!). Why? Because we know it’s important to continually peel back those layers of hurts and wounds that we’ve experienced over the course of our lives that causes us to view Father and others through a skewed lens. And more importantly, there are always deeper levels of the Father’s love to experience. I want that. I crave it. We never arrive. Isn’t that awesome?
2. It’s okay to slow down and take a rest :: What?! My brain does not compute. What do you mean slow down? It’s okay? Won’t people think I’m lazy?! (See the need for Item 1) Yes. I’m learning (and actually starting to enjoy!) this slower pace of life for us right now. Apparently my brain and my body needed it. When I was very, very busy, it was nothing for me to run off of 6-7 hours of sleep each night. Now that we have slowed down, I find that there are many days my body needs 10-12 hours of sleep. WHAT?! Shut. The. Front. Door. It bothered me so much that I even sought some counsel/advice. Everyone was unanimous – “Sleep if you need to, while you can. Your body is catching up on rest.” Well, okay then. So, I sleep as much as I need to each day, then we get up and take walks, hang out in coffee shops, spend time reading and praying and meeting people very organically – no set schedules, no routines (except waking up to send Zoe off to school and picking her up). Just time and Papa and each other.
3. Emotions are good. Experience them. :: Y’all. I would say I cried quite a bit those first few weeks we were here. I felt sad. I felt excited. I felt depressed. I felt elated. I felt melancholy. I felt adventurous. ALL OF IT. If I know one thing that has kept me from having a heart attack over the years is that I need to express my emotions. God gave them to me. It’s healthy to cry, to laugh, to be angry, to be sad. As long as we don’t linger too long in the depths, we should allow ourselves to experience emotions. Emotions are a physical release for us and are necessary to a healthy life. So go grab those tissues and sob like it’s nobody’s business!
4. It’s not about the doing but the being. :: Well, this one is a tough one for me. How does a “doer” learn to be a “be-er?” One of the things I’m learning is that it’s okay to just go through my day being, not doing. It feels very foreign to me, but I’ve really been trying to embrace it. How? Playing my piano, singing to Jesus, reading a really good book while enjoying a really good cup of coffee, sitting back on the couch with my hubby laughing and talking and just enjoying the moment.
5. Create your new normal. :: This has been weird and fun all at the same time. It’s been important for me not to dwell on our “normal” when we lived in Summerville and both worked full time jobs, homeschooled, did ministry appointments, family time, trips, etc. When I dwell on how it used to be, I try to recreate it to feel comfortable again and that can hinder me from experiencing all the new stuff God has for me right here in Waynesville. Instead, we are learning to create a new normal. We take weekend trips to explore a bit further out than town. We spend afternoons in the coffee shop. We spend mornings walking, praying, reading and journaling. We spend evenings with Zoe doing fun family things. We have become braver in talking to strangers about us, about our church, about life. Crazy. Just 4 months ago I wouldn’t have dared walked up to a complete stranger and introduced myself. REJECTION ISSUES. But now, it’s becoming my new normal and I actually love it!
Now listen. I haven’t mastered any of these items just yet. I’m such a work in progress. But I am embracing them – at least from a side hug position – instead of just shaking hands with them. I’m sure there’ll be many more changes and many more transitions as we move from phase to phase in this church plant.
This first little bit is just giving me lots of opportunity to practice.