Recently, I began feeling unfocused, frustrated and drained….again. Hmmmm, said I to myself, wasn’t that supposed to be over when I left my administrative assistant position? A quote by Eric Hoffer explains it well, “The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have not time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.” Even though I had quit my job over a year ago, taking a step off the metaphorical cliff into the unknown land of “developing other gifts”, and, because of that, technically not particularly “hurried”, here I was once more, filling up my time with important and good things but not doing the best thing…that which I was being called to do.
So, last week I withdrew from all but one of my involvements to make time to write a book. Ah, now I will have peace at last, I thought, and I will experience fulfillment and energy as I write about the healing work God has done and is doing in my life. Following a week of “writing focus”, I am beginning to realize how simplistic and unrealistic my expectations were. Writing a book is daunting, especially since the only other writing I have done is this blog. Opening up my heart for anyone to see, making myself vulnerable before the world is frightening….and as an introvert, it is a task from which I am somewhat repelled. Focus and inspiration comes and goes; writing, so far, has not come easily to me, and I often find myself wanting to do anything but putting words on the page.
There is also another aspect to this which was unexpected; an aspect that in the long run will contribute to the book, but in the short run has more to do with my personal walk with God. I have discovered that as I have laid aside most of my involvements, I am just left with me. No longer can I hide from myself in busyness; no longer am I able to gather bits of self-esteem from the things I used to do; no longer can I blame others for my aches and pains or try to change people and circumstances into someone or something that makes me feel good. My empty calendar has also cleared life’s stage of many of my props and crutches, and I am finding myself becoming acutely aware that “here I am.” As someone once said, “wherever you go, there you are”, and…well, that says it all.
My guess is that any victim of abuse will understand when I say I have spent much of my life running from pain, expending much effort and energy to avoid facing the searing facts and effects of what was done to me. My circumstances shaped and formed me and became an integral part of who I am, thus running from the effects of abuse becomes the same as running from myself. I became the horror; I became the pain. Thankfully all the healing God has done in me over the last 28 years has made me appear less appalling in my eyes than I used to be. There was a time when facing myself would have been like standing on the edge of a bottomless, black pit (think of the abyss into which Gandalf fell in the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring), and that pit was me; all-consuming fear and panic would force me to turn and run. I could not do it.
Now, I can rejoice that through God’s healing the pit is closing, and its rim is no longer the slippery, muddy morass it once was. Grass is growing there, and sun and warmth embrace me where darkness and bone chilling cold at one time lived. I am becoming at peace with who I am…the person who received much pain in her life but who also has received much mercy, grace and love.
So here I am with all my hopes and dreams, weaknesses and strengths, quirks and foibles, unanswered questions and unresolved issues, regrets and triumphs, a lingering, niggling fear of who I am and areas of hidden darkness that still need to be brought into the light of God’s love. In reality, it is not “just me” here, for which I am eternally grateful. My God is with me and is closer than the air I breathe, communing with me, loving me, laughing and crying with me and supplying all my needs “according to His riches in glory.” (Philippians 4:19) He and I are in this together, and I can know, no matter what happens with this book, no matter where this process takes me, no matter what healing needs to take place, I am safe within His arms, He carries me and He loves me.