A realization came to me the other day, how many times in my life have I not done something simply because I told myself I couldn’t? A friend had given me a suggestion of a new endeavor to try and my immediate and overwhelming response was, “I can’t do that! “ I hadn’t even given myself the chance to consider it at first. Was it something I’d like to try? If so, what were the ways I could make it happen? Nope, none of those questions crossed my mind, just a big, fat, NO!
The next day, I was feeling the effects of my emotional response and I began to consider other possibilities. I wondered how many other opportunities in life I missed out on because I had the same response. How many times do I tell myself, no or stop and how many times do I say, yes and try? The first category far outweighed the second I’m sad to say.
My writing for instance, though a very new endeavor to me, is something I have been thinking about doing for years now. Eight years ago I began a new career of staying at home when my first son was born. With a shift in my time schedule I was subconsciously looking for new ways to use my time. I was just discovering what “a blog” was and a thought whispered in my heart, you could do that. My immediate response, no way! When would I have the time? What would I write about? No one would want to read what I have to say anyway.
I thought I had dismissed the thought but whispers kept coming up. My husband suggested,” You keep reading blogs all the time, why don’t you just start one of your own. “ I shared the thought with a trusted friend and she jumped on it right away, “I would love to read anything you wrote Kelly.” What were they thinking? Didn’t they already notice all the reasons (excuses) I had to not being able to do this? Nope, that creative expression got put into a box and up on shelf and I fell back into old patterns of using my time, not always bad patterns, but ones that were familiar and safe and let me stay just where I was in life. And I thought that I was content.
More kids came into my life and I kept chipping away at life in the ways that I already knew how to. Morning routines, getting everyone fed and clothed, ministry ventures through the church, kids activities. Life had become autopilot and I didn’t even realize it. Still a longing in my heart ached for something new, something that would transform and take on new shape and give life.
I’ve learned over the years that God takes us through seasons in order to mold and shape us into the people he created us to become. Yes, there are the seasons of singleness, young kids, empty nesters that we’re so familiar with but this type of season are seasons of your faith. A wise mentor I had the privilege of working with likened it to the seasons of an actual year, our springs, summers, falls and winters working in a cycle to bring transformation in us, or spiritual formation. Often we move through our seasons, unaware of what’s really going on and I had fallen into this trap.
I had started those eight years ago in a fall, harvesting the fruit of my life and enjoying its beauty but I was also slipping into winter. I was holding on, using the harvest of fall to sustain me through winter, the patterns and thoughts I was used to, but winter is not fall and old ways must die, at least on the surface while new life is created deep inside and underground.
So I’m finally ready to engage this new life getting ready for spring to emerge in my life. I’ve been reading a lot, something I’ve always wanted to do but said no to, and God likened an image from one of my favorite fiction books I had read, “The Secret Garden.” In it, little Mary Lennox starts out as a sickly, selfish little girl who has never really been loved in her life. Through a course of events she comes to live with her uncle she’s never met in his estate in England. She arrives in winter and discovers that a secret garden, once exquisite but left unattended and fallow for years exists on the property and she sets out to discover it and make it her own special place. I don’t think I’m spoiling the story too much for you to say that she finds it and when she does new life begins in the garden and in her. She sees little tiny bulb shoots springing up still and instinctively goes to work ripping up the overgrown grass and weeds that are chocking them out. Little by little each day with the help of some friends, she transforms that garden and in turn her life.
God spoke to me one day on a mountainside and said this was what he was doing in my heart, if I only found the lost key to my heart and opened it up for him to come. He was taking my garden, my heart, and pruning it and ripping up all the lies and weeds that had overgrown and chocked up the life that already exists there and was looking for a way to emerge. The shoots of creativity needed fresh air and good soil and light, everything only he knew how to give me, because he created me, if only I would just begin to say yes, and I’ll try.
So thus, eight years later, here is my blog. I’ve taken stock of other things I’ve always wanted to do, new patterns I’ve wanted to start and am I’m saying yes. And new life is starting, and it feels like my soul has been awakened.